Performing European Memories: Trauma, Ethics, Politics by Milija Gluhovic

By Milija Gluhovic

Asking even if a really shared ecu reminiscence is feasible whereas addressing the hazards of a unmarried, homogenized eu reminiscence, Gluhovic examines the contradictions, specificities, continuities and discontinuities within the ecu shared and unshared pasts as represented within the works of Pinter, Tadeusz Kantor, Heiner Muller and Artur Zmijewski.

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Marianne Hirsch, a US-based literary critic, has named this phenomenon “postmemory”: “identification with the victim or witness of trauma, modulated by an admission of an unbridgeable distance separating the participant from the one born after” (1999: 8). Postmemory also entails reaching across lines of difference to the experience of others to whom one is not related by blood, a kind of connective memory work that could engender “transnational interconnections and intersections in a global space of remembrance” (Hirsch, 2012: 247).

Disavowal is a statement of recognition, argues Fischer, and the silencing of the Haitian Revolution is a testament to its importance. I will return to the centrality of Haitian revolution for the formation and understanding of Western modernity later in this chapter. The late twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century, however, have seen increasing popular and academic attention given to Atlantic slavery, abolition, and resistance, as activists and writers have increasingly sought to reconstruct and revive this past as part of an effort to challenge and transform understandings of the geographies and histories of modernity.

Engelking writes: It would seem that the [Anglo-Saxon] researchers take a position similar to that of wartime witnesses to the Holocaust: in discerning only the medical, pathological consequences of these experiences, they place the experiences themselves beyond the bounds of the understandable, interpretable world. They close them up in a great cupboard with a notice reading “Dysfunction” or “Psychopathology,” which provides an alibi for not taking part in other people’s suffering . . Researches into wartime experiences therefore join, willy nilly, the “conspiracy of silence” [that] .

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