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Memory, History and the Care for the Dead


Brett Ashley Kaplan

This event is hosted by the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign on the commemoration of the November Pogram (Kristallnacht). Brett Ashley Kaplan, Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor for 2023-24, will be visiting Duke University and Carolina and will host this event from the UNC campus. Kaplan's first public talk with take place at Duke University, at the Nasher Museum of Art on November 8, 2023. Memory, History and the Care for the Dead with Hans Ruin, Södertörn University (Stockholm) The talk takes its point of departure in the book Being with the Dead. Burial, Ancestral Politics, and the Roots of Historical Consciousness (Standford UP, 2019). It reconnects to Michel de Certeau's famous argument that historiography constitutes a cesura regarding the dead, as compared to older cultures of memory that preserve a living relation to the dead. The argument is that this definitive distinction between the work of memory and historiography disregards the deeper liaison between them, and the ways in which historiography can also be interpreted as a kind of sublimated mortuary culture. Hans Ruin is professor of philosophy, with a PhD from Stockholm university and the co-founder of the philosophy department at Södertörn university. His work spans phenomenology and hermeneutics (Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer), deconstruction (translator of several books by Derrida), Nietzsche (co-director for Nietzsche's collected works in Swedish). For six years, he organized the largest memory-studies research program in Sweden and is currently also a Swedish representative on the board of the Mnemonics Network. His book, on which he will speak, was awarded the INTH prize for best book in the theory of history in 2022. Brett Ashley Kaplan received her Ph.D. from the rhetoric department at the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and is now a professor and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the Program in Comparative and World Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her publications include, Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation (2007), Landscapes of Holocaust Postmemory (2011), Jewish Anxiety in the Novels of Philip Roth (2015), Rare Stuff (2022) and Critical Memory Studies: New Approaches (2023).