Museums, Memory and Politics: Educating about “Difficult Knowledge”
date: February 19, 2018
location: Villa Sassetti
 
Program
 

6:00 pm Introduction. ´Politics and Memory: Staging a Public History of the Civil Rights Movement: The Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, Georgia´. Joyce Apsel, Professor, Liberal Studies, New York University.

6.05 Museums, Memory and Politics: Educating about “Difficult Knowledge”

´Dialoguing with the Site of Oppression, From Practices of Mourning to the Politics of Reconciliation: The Twinning of Prato and Ebensee and the Museum of Deportation´Davide Lombardo, NYU Florence

´Memory Politics in the National September 11 Memorial Museum´Amy Sodaro, Associate Professor of Sociology, Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York

´Memorial to the 1968 My Lai Massacre in Vietnam: A Paradigm for Bearing Witness to the Inhuman´. Roy Tamashiro, Professor, Multidisciplinary Studies Department, Webster University (USA)

7:00 Q&A


Politics and Memory: Staging a Public History of the Civil Rights Movement: The Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, Georgia

Joyce Apsel introduces the concept of politics of memory in the context of the last decades’ museum memory boom and its link to the politics of education. Her presentation focuses on how the U.S. civil rights movement is remembered in the Civil and Human Rights Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. Through interactive displays and staging, the Centre attempts to balance depiction of the sacrifice, struggle and martyrdom against segregation, lynching and other forms of racism with a message to inspire activism and hope today.

Dialoguing with the Site of Oppression, From Practices of Mourning to the Politics of Reconciliation: The Twinning of Prato and Ebensee and the Museum of Deportation

Davide Lombardo looks at the unexpected story of the twinning of the Italian city of Prato and the city of Ebensee in Austria and the result: the Museum of Deportation in Figline di Prato near the site of an execution of partisans. Italy is a country where there is a long history of the practice of top-down politics of memory, from the celebration of Risorgimento for Nation building purposes, to the Fascist appropriation of the First World War, The museum in Figline di Prato is Recon an example of recent politics of memory founded on grass root activism on the part of ex deportees at Mauthausen, Their early vision of the need of a politics of reconciliation resulted in 1987 in the twinning of the city of Prato with the town of Ebensee in Austria.

Memory Politics in the National September 11 Memorial Museum

Amy Sodaro, author of the recently published Exhibiting Atrocity: Memorial Museums and the Politics of Past Violence, provides a comparative global analysis of how politics influence the depiction of past violence. Her presentation discusses the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City situating the site within the broader “memorial landscape.”

Memorial to the 1968 My Lai Massacre in Vietnam: A Paradigm for Bearing Witness to the Inhuman

Dr. Roy Tamashiro explores how the Sơn Mỹ Memorial and Museum in Vietnam memorializes the 1968 Mỹ Lai Massacre. He describes how the museum provides space for reflection and bearing witness to the profound suffering in the Massacre. Facing the inhuman at the museum then provides the opportunity for transformative learning, for personal and societal healing, and for reclamation of human dignity.