Are Memorials Vehicles of Forgetting?

A workshop/discussion with Brigitte Sion (New York University)

Tuesday, February 16 2010, 10:30am-12pm, Room LB-1014

While memorials are associated with remembrance and long-term testimony, empirical research and scholarship assert the opposite: Pierre Nora argues that memorials relieve man from the burden of remembrance and favor forgetting; Martha Norkunas looks at the missing monuments in Lowell (Mass.) — those praising women, immigrants, and other minorities do not exist in public memory. Speaking more favorably, anthropologist Marc Augé considers oblivion “the life force of memory and remembrance is its product;” James Young, an expert on Holocaust memorials, advocates that the process of building a memorial is more effective than its completion.

Brigitte Sion is Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in New York University’s Religious Program and Department of Journalism. She earned her Ph.D. in performance studies from the same institution. Her dissertation focused on conflicting performance of memory at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin and the Memorial to the Victims of State Terrorism in Buenos Aires (Parque de la Memoria). She is the author of four published books, most recently “Max Ehrlich, Le Théâtre contre la Barbarie,” about theatrical productions in the Nazi camp Westerbork. She is the author of academic and journalism articles on memory, commemorative practices, death tourism and memorialization in Germany, Argentina, Cambodia, and France.

Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence