The Burden of Memory: Theory, Texts, Politics
This course explores the growing field of memory studies and various modes of memory-forgetting in the post-Soviet society and culture. The 'memory boom' in post-1991 Russia has significantly altered the way the post-Soviet subjects remember, forget, or imagine their Soviet legacy. The course proposes a critical appraisal of memory studies as an opportunity for engaging in a genuine interdisciplinary endeavor. It starts by defining the field of research at the intersection of history, anthropology, sociology, and cultural theory and examines the emergence of 'memory' as an object of study within these disciplines. In the second part of the course, we will study literary representation of memory and forgetting through the concepts of post-memory, second-generation memory, memory of eye-witnesses and perpetrators, memory of the displaced persons, and amnesia and memory loss fiction. And finally, we will engage in comparing the social practices of selective remembering and forgetting of the memory of the WWII and Soviet legacy in present-day Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.