In Praise of Forgetting

Historical Memory and Its Ironies

Author: David Rieff

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300186665

Category: Philosophy

Page: 160

View: 4121

The conventional wisdom about historical memory is summed up in George Santayana’s celebrated phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Today, the consensus that it is moral to remember, immoral to forget, is nearly absolute. And yet is this right? David Rieff, an independent writer who has reported on bloody conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, and Central Asia, insists that things are not so simple. He poses hard questions about whether remembrance ever truly has, or indeed ever could, “inoculate” the present against repeating the crimes of the past. He argues that rubbing raw historical wounds—whether self-inflicted or imposed by outside forces—neither remedies injustice nor confers reconciliation. If he is right, then historical memory is not a moral imperative but rather a moral option—sometimes called for, sometimes not. Collective remembrance can be toxic. Sometimes, Rieff concludes, it may be more moral to forget. Ranging widely across some of the defining conflicts of modern times—the Irish Troubles and the Easter Uprising of 1916, the white settlement of Australia, the American Civil War, the Balkan wars, the Holocaust, and 9/11—Rieff presents a pellucid examination of the uses and abuses of historical memory. His contentious, brilliant, and elegant essay is an indispensable work of moral philosophy.

In Praise of Forgetting

Historical Memory and Its Ironies

Author: David Rieff

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300182791

Category:

Page: 160

View: 6584

A leading contrarian thinker explores the ethical paradox at the heart of history's wounds

In Praise of Forgetting

Historical Memory and Its Ironies

Author: David Rieff

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780300227109

Category: Philosophy

Page: 160

View: 4339

Against Remembrance

Author: David Rieff

Publisher: Melbourne Univ. Publishing

ISBN: 0522860249

Category: Social Science

Page: 192

View: 1910

In Against Remembrance, David Rieff provocatively argues that the business of remembrance, particularly of the great tragedies of the past, are policitised events of highly selective memory. Rather than ending injustices, as we expect it to, collective memory in so many cases dooms us to an endless cycle of vengeance. Humanity, he says, simply cannot cope with the true ambivalence of historical events. And if we remember only partially, how can our memories serve us, or our society, as well as we hope?

Swimming in a Sea of Death

A Son's Memoir

Author: David Rieff

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1416554289

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 364

View: 1571

Both a memoir and an investigation, Swimming in a Sea of Death is David Rieff's loving tribute to his mother, the writer Susan Sontag, and her final battle with cancer. Rieff's brave, passionate, and unsparing witness of the last nine months of her life, from her initial diagnosis to her death, is both an intensely personal portrait of the relationship between a mother and a son, and a reflection on what it is like to try to help someone gravely ill in her fight to go on living and, when the time comes, to die with dignity. Rieff offers no easy answers. Instead, his intensely personal book is a meditation on what it means to confront death in our culture. In his most profound work, this brilliant writer confronts the blunt feelings of the survivor -- the guilt, the self-questioning, the sense of not having done enough. And he tries to understand what it means to desire so desperately, as his mother did to the end of her life, to try almost anything in order to go on living. Drawing on his mother's heroic struggle, paying tribute to her doctors' ingenuity and faithfulness, and determined to tell what happened to them all, Swimming in a Sea of Death subtly draws wider lessons that will be of value to others when they find themselves in the same situation.

Slaughterhouse

Bosnia and the Failure of the West

Author: David Rieff

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1476737886

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 5502

In a shocking and deeply disturbing tour de force, David Rieff, reporting from the Bosnia war zone and from Western capitals and United Nations headquarters, indicts the West and the United Nations for standing by and doing nothing to stop the genocide of the Bosnian Muslims. Slaughterhouse is the definitive explanation of a war that will be remembered as the greatest failure of Western diplomacy since the 1930s. Bosnia was more than a human tragedy. It was the emblem of the international community's failure and confusion in the post-Cold War era. In Bosnia, genocide and ethnic fascism reappeared in Europe for the first time in fifty years. But there was no will to confront them, either on the part of the United States, Western Europe, or the United Nations, for which the Bosnian experience was as catastrophic and demoralizing as Vietnam was for the United States. It is the failure and its implications that Rieff anatomizes in this unforgiving account of a war that might have been prevented and could have been stopped.

The Reproach of Hunger

Food, Justice, and Money in the Twenty-First Century

Author: David Rieff

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1439148597

Category: Political Science

Page: 432

View: 7144

Hailed as “invaluable…a substantial work of political thought,” (New Statesman) in a groundbreaking report, based on years of reporting, David Rieff assesses whether ending extreme poverty and widespread hunger is truly within our reach, as is increasingly promised. Can we provide enough food for nine billion people in 2050, especially the bottom poorest in the Global South? Some of the most brilliant scientists, world politicians, and aid and development experts forecast an end to the crisis of massive malnutrition in the next decades. The World Bank, IMF, and Western governments look to public-private partnerships to solve the problems of access and the cost of food. “Philanthrocapitalists” Bill Gates and Warren Buffett spend billions to solve the problem, relying on technology. And the international development “Establishment” gets publicity from stars Bob Geldorf, George Clooney, and Bono. “Hunger, [David Rieff] writes, is a political problem, and fighting it means rejecting the fashionable consensus that only the private sector can act efficiently” (The New Yorker). Rieff, who has been studying and reporting on humanitarian aid and development for thirty years, takes a careful look. He cites climate change, unstable governments that receive aid, the cozy relationship between the philanthropic sector and giants like Monsanto, that are often glossed over in the race to solve the crisis. “This is a stellar addition to the canon of development policy literature” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). The Reproach of Hunger is the most complete and informed description of the world’s most fundamental question: Can we feed the world’s population? Rieff answers a careful “Yes” and charts the path by showing how it will take seizing all opportunities; technological, cultural, and political to wipe out famine and malnutrition.

Death Makes the News

How the Media Censor and Display the Dead

Author: Jessica M. Fishman

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 0814724361

Category: Social Science

Page: 336

View: 3995

A behind-the-scenes account of how death is presented in the media Death is considered one of the most newsworthy events, but words do not tell the whole story. Pictures are also at the epicenter of journalism, and when photographers and editors illustrate fatalities, it often raises questions about how they distinguish between a “fit” and “unfit” image of death. Death Makes the News is the story of this controversial news practice: picturing the dead. Jessica Fishman uncovers the surprising editorial and political forces that structure how the news and media cover death. The patterns are striking, overturning long-held assumptions about which deaths are newsworthy and raising fundamental questions about the role that news images play in our society. In a look behind the curtain of newsrooms, Fishman observes editors and photojournalists from different types of organizations as they deliberate over which images of death make the cut, and why. She also investigates over 30 years of photojournalism in the tabloid and patrician press to establish when the dead are shown and whose dead body is most newsworthy, illustrating her findings with high-profile news events, including recent plane crashes, earthquakes, hurricanes, homicides, political unrest, and war-time attacks. Death Makes the News reveals that much of what we think we know about the news is wrong: while the patrician press claims that they do not show dead bodies, they are actually more likely than the tabloid press to show them—even though the tabloids actually claim to have no qualms showing these bodies. Dead foreigners are more likely to be shown than American bodies. At the same time, there are other unexpected but vivid patterns that offer insight into persistent editorial forces that routinely structure news coverage of death. An original view on the depiction of dead bodies in the media, Death Makes the News opens up new ways of thinking about how death is portrayed.

Memory, History, Forgetting

Author: Paul Ricoeur

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226713466

Category: Philosophy

Page: 624

View: 8403

Why do major historical events such as the Holocaust occupy the forefront of the collective consciousness, while profound moments such as the Armenian genocide, the McCarthy era, and France's role in North Africa stand distantly behind? Is it possible that history "overly remembers" some events at the expense of others? A landmark work in philosophy, Paul Ricoeur's Memory, History, Forgetting examines this reciprocal relationship between remembering and forgetting, showing how it affects both the perception of historical experience and the production of historical narrative. Memory, History, Forgetting, like its title, is divided into three major sections. Ricoeur first takes a phenomenological approach to memory and mnemonical devices. The underlying question here is how a memory of present can be of something absent, the past. The second section addresses recent work by historians by reopening the question of the nature and truth of historical knowledge. Ricoeur explores whether historians, who can write a history of memory, can truly break with all dependence on memory, including memories that resist representation. The third and final section is a profound meditation on the necessity of forgetting as a condition for the possibility of remembering, and whether there can be something like happy forgetting in parallel to happy memory. Throughout the book there are careful and close readings of the texts of Aristotle and Plato, of Descartes and Kant, and of Halbwachs and Pierre Nora. A momentous achievement in the career of one of the most significant philosophers of our age, Memory, History, Forgetting provides the crucial link between Ricoeur's Time and Narrative and Oneself as Another and his recent reflections on ethics and the problems of responsibility and representation. “His success in revealing the internal relations between recalling and forgetting, and how this dynamic becomes problematic in light of events once present but now past, will inspire academic dialogue and response but also holds great appeal to educated general readers in search of both method for and insight from considering the ethical ramifications of modern events. . . . It is indeed a master work, not only in Ricoeur’s own vita but also in contemporary European philosophy.”—Library Journal “Ricoeur writes the best kind of philosophy—critical, economical, and clear.”— New York Times Book Review

Remembering Katyn

Author: Alexander Etkind,Rory Finnin,Uilleam Blacker,Julie Fedor,Simon Lewis,Maria Mälksoo,Matilda Mroz

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 074566296X

Category: History

Page: 200

View: 679

Katyn– the Soviet massacre of over 21,000 Polish prisoners in 1940 – has come to be remembered as Stalin’s emblematic mass murder, an event obscured by one of the most extensive cover-ups in history. Yet paradoxically, a majority of its victims perished far from the forest in western Russia that gives the tragedy its name. Their remains lie buried in killing fields throughout Russia, Ukraine and, most likely, Belarus. Today their ghosts haunt the cultural landscape of Eastern Europe. This book traces the legacy of Katyn through the interconnected memory cultures of seven countries: Belarus, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltic States. It explores the meaning of Katyn as site and symbol, event and idea, fact and crypt. It shows how Katyn both incites nationalist sentiments in Eastern Europe and fosters an emerging cosmopolitan memory of Soviet terror. It also examines the strange impact of the 2010 plane crash that claimed the lives of Poland’s leaders en route to Katyn. Drawing on novels and films, debates and controversies, this book makes the case for a transnational study of cultural memory and navigates a contested past in a region that will define Europe’s future.

The Ethics of Memory

Author: Avishai MARGALIT

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674040597

Category: Philosophy

Page: 240

View: 4422

Much of the intense current interest in collective memory concerns the politics of memory. In a book that asks, "Is there an ethics of memory?" Avishai Margalit addresses a separate, perhaps more pressing, set of concerns. The idea he pursues is that the past, connecting people to each other, makes possible the kinds of "thick" relations we can call truly ethical. Thick relations, he argues, are those that we have with family and friends, lovers and neighbors, our tribe and our nation--and they are all dependent on shared memories. But we also have "thin" relations with total strangers, people with whom we have nothing in common except our common humanity. A central idea of the ethics of memory is that when radical evil attacks our shared humanity, we ought as human beings to remember the victims. Margalit's work offers a philosophy for our time, when, in the wake of overwhelming atrocities, memory can seem more crippling than liberating, a force more for revenge than for reconciliation. Morally powerful, deeply learned, and elegantly written, "The Ethics of Memory" draws on the resources of millennia of Western philosophy and religion to provide us with healing ideas that will engage all of us who care about the nature of our relations to others.

At the Point of a Gun

Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention

Author: David Rieff

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1476737487

Category: Political Science

Page: 288

View: 9671

Veteran journalist David Rieff’s essays draw a searing portrait of what happens when the grandiose schemes of policymakers and human rights activists go horribly wrong in the field. Writing for publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal to The Nation to France’s Le Monde, David Rieff witnessed firsthand most of the armed interventions since the Cold War waged by the West or the United Nations in the name of human rights and democratization. In this timely collection of his most illuminating articles, Rieff, one of our leading experts on the subject, reassesses some of his own judgments about the use of military might to solve the world’s most pressing humanitarian problems. At the Point of a Gun raises critical questions we cannot ignore in this era of gunboat democracy. When, if ever, is it appropriate to intervene militarily in the domestic affairs of other nations? Are human rights and humanitarian concerns legitimate reasons for intervening, or is the assault on sovereignty a flag of convenience for the recolonization of part of the world? And, above all, can democracy be imposed through the barrel of an M16? This is not an optimistic report, but the questions Rieff raises are of the essence as the United States grapples with the harsh consequences of what it has wrought on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Transnational Memory

Circulation, Articulation, Scales

Author: Chiara De Cesari,Ann Rigney

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG

ISBN: 3110386739

Category: Social Science

Page: 384

View: 1565

How do memories circulate transnationally and to what effect? How can we understand the enduring role of national memories and their simultaneous reconfiguration under globalization? This book charts the rich production of memory across and beyond national borders, thus giving new insight into the role of memory in the contemporary world.

The Subject of Holocaust Fiction

Author: Emily Miller Budick

Publisher: Indiana University Press

ISBN: 0253016320

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 264

View: 3110

Fictional representations of horrific events run the risk of undercutting efforts to verify historical knowledge and may heighten our ability to respond intellectually and ethically to human experiences of devastation. In this captivating study of the epistemological, psychological, and ethical issues underlying Holocaust fiction, Emily Miller Budick examines the subjective experiences of fantasy, projection, and repression manifested in Holocaust fiction and in the reader’s encounter with it. Considering works by Cynthia Ozick, Art Spiegelman, Aharon Appelfeld, Michael Chabon, and others, Budick investigates how the reading subject makes sense of these fictionalized presentations of memory and trauma, victims and victimizers.

Collective Memory and the Historical Past

Author: Jeffrey Andrew Barash

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022639929X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 280

View: 5341

There is one critical way we honor great tragedies: by never forgetting. Collective remembrance is as old as human society itself, serving as an important source of social cohesion, yet as Jeffrey Andrew Barash shows in this book, it has served novel roles in a modern era otherwise characterized by discontinuity and dislocation. Drawing on recent theoretical explorations of collective memory, he elaborates an important new philosophical basis for it, one that unveils important limitations to its scope in relation to the historical past. Crucial to Barash’s analysis is a look at the radical transformations that the symbolic configurations of collective memory have undergone with the rise of new technologies of mass communication. He provocatively demonstrates how such technologies’ capacity to simulate direct experience—especially via the image—actually makes more palpable collective memory’s limitations and the opacity of the historical past, which always lies beyond the reach of living memory. Thwarting skepticism, however, he eventually looks to literature—specifically writers such as Marcel Proust, Walter Scott, and W. G. Sebald—to uncover subtle nuances of temporality that might offer inconspicuous emblems of a past historical reality.

Memorial Museums

The Global Rush to Commemorate Atrocities

Author: Paul Williams

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

ISBN: 9781845204891

Category: Art

Page: 224

View: 4987

The past 25 years has seen an extraordinary boom in a new kind of cultural complex: the memorial museum. These seek to research, represent, commemorate, and teach on the subject of dreadful, violent histories. With World War and Holocaust memorials as precursors, the kinds of events now recognized include genocide in Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and the Balkans, state repression in Eastern Europe, apartheid in South Africa, terrorism in the US, political 'disappearances' in Chile and Argentina, massacres in China and Taiwan, and more. This book is the first of its kind to 'map' these new institutions and cultural spaces, which, although varying widely in size, style, and political situation, are nonetheless united in their desire to promote peace, tolerance, and the avoidance of future violence. Moving across nations and contexts, Memorial Museums critically analyzes the tactics of these institutions and gauges their wider public significance.

Fugitive Pieces

Author: Anne Michaels

Publisher: Emblem Editions

ISBN: 1551993910

Category: Fiction

Page: 312

View: 1238

Anne Michaels’ spellbinding début novel has quickly become one of the most beloved and talked-about books of the decade. As a young boy during the Second World War, Jakob Beer is rescued from the mud in Poland by an unlikely saviour, the scientist Athos Roussos, and he is taken to Greece, then, at war’s end, to Toronto. It is here that his loss gradually surfaces, as does the haunting question of his sister’s fate. Later in life, as a translator and a poet, and now with the glorious Michaela, Jakob meets Ben, a young professor whose own legacies of the war kindle within him a fascination with the older man and his writing. Fugitive Pieces is a work of rare vision that is at once lyrical, sensual, profound. With its vivid evocation of landscape and character, its unique excavation of memory and time, it is a wholly unforgettable novel that draws us into the lives of its characters with compassion and recognition. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Collective Memory Reader

Author: Jeffrey K. Olick,Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi,Daniel Levy

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 9780195337419

Category: Social Science

Page: 497

View: 3172

There are few terms or concepts that have, in the last twenty or so years, rivaled "collective memory" for attention in the humanities and social sciences. Indeed, use of the term has extended far beyond scholarship to the realm of politics and journalism, where it has appeared in speeches atthe centers of power and on the front pages of the world's leading newspapers. The current efflorescence of interest in memory, however, is no mere passing fad: it is a hallmark characteristic of our age and a crucial site for understanding our present social, political, and cultural conditions.Scholars and others in numerous fields have thus employed the concept of collective memory, sociological in origin, to guide their inquiries into diverse, though allegedly connected, phenomena. Nevertheless, there remains a great deal of confusion about the meaning, origin, and implication of theterm and the field of inquiry it underwrites.The Collective Memory Reader presents, organizes, and evaluates past work and contemporary contributions on the questions raised under the rubric of collective memory. Combining seminal texts, hard-to-find classics, previously untranslated references, and contemporary landmarks, it will serve as anessential resource for teaching and research in the field. In addition, in both its selections as well as in its editorial materials, it suggests a novel life-story for the field, one that appreciates recent innovations but only against the background of a long history.In addition to its major editorial introduction, which outlines a useful past for contemporary memory studies, The Collective Memory Reader includes five sections - Precursors and Classics; History, Memory, and Identity; Power, Politics, and Contestation; Media and Modes of Transmission; Memory,Justice, and the Contemporary Epoch - comprising ninety-one texts. In addition to the essay introducing the entire volume, a brief editorial essay introduces each of the sections, while brief capsules frame each of the 91 texts.

Forgetfulness

Making the Modern Culture of Amnesia

Author: Francis O'Gorman

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1501324691

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 185

View: 8555

Examines the history and the consequences of living in the contemporary culture of forgetfulness.

The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa

Legitimizing the Post-Apartheid State

Author: Richard Wilson

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521001946

Category: Law

Page: 271

View: 9815

Based on extended anthropological fieldwork, this book illustrates the impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in urban African communities in Johannesburg. The study deepens our understanding of post-apartheid South Africa and the use of human rights discourse.