Multidirectional Memory and Beyond

01. März 2017 10:00 Uhr - 12:00 Uhr

Forschungsseminar der Forschungsgruppe "Erfahrungen der Globalisierung".

Thema: "Multidirectional Memory and Beyond”

Der Vortrag wird von Prof. Michael Rothberg (Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies and Professor of
English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles) auf englisch gehalten.
The term “multidirectional memory” was coined as a way of conceptualizing what happens when different histories of extreme violence confront each other in the public sphere. While acknowledging the struggles and contestations that accompany public articulations of memory, the theory of multidirectional memory seeks an explanation of the dynamics of remembrance that does not simply reproduce the terms of partisan groups involved in those struggles. Michael Rothberg (UCLA) have developed this theory at greatest length in his book Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (2009), which focuses on exemplary sites of tension involving remembrance of the Nazi genocide of European Jews in relation to slavery, colonialism, and decolonization.
In Multidirectional Memory, he offers a new framework for thinking about memory contestation via three core arguments. He argues against what he calls “competitive memory,” an understanding that is based on the logic of the zero-sum game and has dominated many popular and scholarly approaches to public remembrance. In contrast, he suggests, memory works productively through negotiation, cross-referencing, and borrowing; the result of memory conflict is not less memory, but more – even of subordinated memory traditions.
Rothberg argues that collective memories of seemingly distinct histories are not easily separable from each other, but emerge dialogically. For example, not only has memory of the Holocaust served as a vehicle through which other histories of suffering have been articulated, but the emergence of Holocaust memory itself was from the start inflected by histories of slavery, colonialism, and decolonization that at first glance might seem to have little to do with it.


Groupe de recherche Expériences de la Globalisation


Petra Beck

Georg-Simmel Saal
Friedrichstraße 191