Citizens of Memory: Citizenship Between Holocaust Remembrance and Transnational Migration

Citizens of Memory: Citizenship Between Holocaust Remembrance and Transnational Migration
Organized by the Memory and Migration Research Cluster Group
Co-sponsored by the Politics Department, the Zolberg Center on Global Migration and Global Studies

Thursday, May 1st, 2014
6:00 – 8:00PM (followed by a reception)
Wolff Conference Room (D1103)
6 East 16th Street, New York, NY

Introduction by: William Hirst (The New School)
Featured Speakers: Yasemin Yildiz (University of Illinois), Michael Rothberg (University of Illinois)

citizens of memory May 1, 2014In establishing itself as the successor to National Socialism, West Germany faced a paradigmatic dilemma of political transition: how to situate itself in relation to the state-sponsored crimes of the immediate past. Over the course of several decades, and in the face of conflict and controversy, a public embrace of responsibility for the Holocaust came to play a key role in the definition of German national identity, even as private discourses continued to focus more on the fate of non-Jewish Germans than on the Shoah. Although it has only recently been remarked, the period in which this public consensus about the Nazi genocide evolved corresponds exactly to the years in which transnational labor migration transformed national demographics.

In our lecture we pursue the entanglement of post-National Socialist and post-migrant histories in the Federal Republic and attempt to think through its significance for the politics of memory and citizenship. Building on our concept of “memory citizenship,” we make visible forms of exclusion and discipline as well as counter-hegemonic interventions at the intersection of memory and migration. We argue that transcultural migrant memories of genocide can help remake the German model of working through the past and move German, Turkish, and European memory cultures in a more radically democratic direction.


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