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Between Dreams and Traces

Memory, Temporality, and the Production of Sainthood in Lesbos

Séverine Rey

-state and the search for a new nationalist narrative were of mutual concern to the island’s refugees and natives. The Search for Local Saints and Commemorations The discovery of these saints happened in a context underscoring the reconstruction of the past

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Belfast St Patrick's Day Celebrations and the Act of Forgetting

Trying to Create Cross-community Identities

John Nagle

St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast city centre since 1998 have been imagined as providing a common symbol and space to imagine cross-community identities. Celebrations represent an attempt to constitute a social act of forgetting, to abandon a past where public commemorations perpetuated sectarian division. This article charts how the celebrations were contentious as competing groups claimed ownership over its performance. The contested status of the celebrations were largely the outgrowth of political legislation which, rather than facilitating cross-community alliances and identities, preserves the outright difference and absolute cultures enshrined in the notion of 'nationalist' and 'unionist' identities. Moreover, if the performance of memory has helped maintain discrete unionist and nationalist identities, and an abandoning of a past blighted by sectarian conflict is required to create a new, harmonious society, this legislation rendered the role of memory and forgetting ambiguous by stressing both as contributors to reconciliation.

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Danny Kaplan and Niza Yanay

Based on a case study of Israeli men's friendships, this article examines the inter-relations between the experience of male relationships in everyday life and established representations of fraternal friendship. We delineate a script for male bonding that echoes ancient epics of heroism. This script holds a mythic structure for making sense of friendship in everyday life and places male relatedness under the spectral ideal of death. Whereas various male-to-male arenas present diverse and often displaced expressions of male affection, we contend that sites of commemoration present a unique instance in which desire between men is publicly declared and legitimized. The collective rituals for the dead hero-friends serve as a mask that transforms a repudiated personal sentiment into a national genre of relatedness. We interpret fraternal friendship as a form of private/public identification/desire whereby the citizen brother becomes, via collective rituals of commemoration, the desired brother.

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The South Side of Heaven

A Journey along the Iranian Collective Memory in Iran-Iraq War Memorial Sites

Younes Saramifar

I portray mnemonic practices of Iranians who engaged with the past and keep the memories of martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) alive within frames and words. Through pictures taken during the annual commemoration of martyrs in southern Iran, I show how religiosity, politics and generational guilt are entangled in post-war Iran. I move against the grains of memory studies and visual anthropology by maintaining the silences and what is left unsaid instead of rendering war memories, acts of remembering and ways of seeing epistemologically coherent. I argue remembering is a practice locally shaped according to the politics of everyday life and not by imagined presupposition of memory scholars. Therefore, I draw an ontological approach towards memories in Iran by ways of seeing and religious worldview of those implicated in the Iranian memory machine.

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Alexandra Kaiser

The article sketches the ruptures in today's German memory culture, concentrating on the Volkstrauertag (People's Day of Mourning) and the Gedenktag für die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (Remembrance Day for the Victims of National Socialism) on 27 January. It starts with an overview of the history of the Volkstrauertag with its (outward) transformation from a commemoration day for dead German soldiers into one for “all victims of war and violence.” The inclusive model of commemoration that was typical for the Bonn Republic is disintegrating today. In united Germany, the Volkstrauertag and 27 January reflect antagonistic memory strands, that is a memory focussed on the war dead and German suffering or on the Holocaust and German guilt. In light of discussions about commemorating Bundeswehr dead, the article ends by describing a re-heroicizing of the Volkstrauertag and, in a more general way, tries to outline the shifting construction of German national identity.

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Dearly Departed

Communicating with the Dead in the Digital Age

Jennifer Huberman

the love of his daughters Kimberly—11 years old (she picked the song) and Rose—8 years old (she did the quote above) and wife, Sarah (everything else).” 3 From Commemoration to Communication The postings on George’s memorial site resonate very closely

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Commemoration and Creativity

Remembering the Holocaust in Today’s Yiddish Song

Abigail Wood

The Holocaust was undoubtedly the single event that most influenced the course of Yiddish song during the twentieth century. Its effects on Yiddish culture were incalculable. Despite the increasing difficulty of Jewish life in central and Eastern Europe during the 1930s, this was also a period of flowering of Yiddish cultural life. Many believed that the strong network of Yiddish publications, education, cultural events and political organisations offered the promise of a secure and thriving Jewish life despite the restrictions being laid upon the Jews.

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Christhard Hoffmann

A few weeks after the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany

in May 1949, American High Commissioner John McCloy addressed

an assembly of representatives from the West German Jewish community.

In a much-discussed speech, he emphasized the central

importance of public recollection of the crimes of the Third Reich for

the political culture of the young republic. In particular, said McCloy,

the relationship of West Germany towards the Jews would be “one of

the real touchstones and the test of Germany’s progress toward the

light. The moment that Germany has forgotten the Buchenwalds and

Auschwitzes, that was the point at which everyone could begin to

despair of any progress in Germany.”

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Katherine Scheil

In late nineteenth- and twentieth-century America, hundreds of Shakespeare clubs met regularly to read, study, and perform Shakespeare's works. Their motives ranged from personal improvement to community betterment, and they were frequently involved in initiatives designed to memorialize Shakespeare and celebrate their own intellectual achievements. Dozens of public gardens, libraries, and other civic projects are a result of the efforts of clubwomen, in small towns and large cities. Privately, club members also memorized Shakespeare by incorporating a variety of domestic practices into their Shakespeare-centered labors, which preserved Shakespeare as a prominent part of American cultural life.

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Ritual and commemoration in contemporary Russia

State-church relationships and the vernacularization of the politics of memory

Tobias Köllner

Since state atheism was abandoned in the 1990s, the Russian Federation entered what can be called a postsecular phase. Religion, formerly limited to the private sphere, reappeared in the public and underwent an astonishing religious revival. During the time of my fieldwork in 2006/2007, a tendency to favor the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and to facilitate its return to the public reached its climax. In this article I draw attention to how the political, the secular, and the religious are interconnected and allow for new vernacular forms of legitimating power and authority. One example is the introduction of new public holidays and public rituals. They connect local and national narratives and relate to ideas about the communality of the Russian people. They create new forms of a divine kinship, which draw heavily on religious and national symbols and merge the sacred and the profane.