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Crisis producing processes, initiated in the 19th century but pervading to our time, are usually described in the narratives of: the lost community (and alienation), anomie or moral chaos, extreme instrumental rationality, decaying mass culture, ecological destruction and industrialization of war, mass violence and genocide. These processes profoundly shaped the 20th century as the period of violence and trauma.
The main goal of this course is to explore and understand the thorny issue of post-traumatic national self-perception, as well as to create a platform for intercultural knowledge exchange.
Course lectures and discussions will be organized around the five main issues:
Historical continuities and discontinuities after cultural trauma – with the purpose to provide a baseline of historic evidence for the comparative analysis of national systems, protagonists and the impact of cultural traumas on the development of nationalism and national identity after disruptions to sovereignty.
Culture, Society, Memory and its institutions – with the aim to explore the genesis and emphasis of cultural preservation of traumatic events (as represented by memory institutions such as museums, libraries and archives and commemorative practice generally).
Narratives and Discourses of the Nation – the focus is on the manner in which both high and low culture literary and media production, discursive popular tropes and memes represent the core national identity and its constitutive traumas.
Fractured unities: the national and the global, the diasporic, and the individual – the focus is on the tension between local traditions and culture and national or supernational identity choices driven by market and social forces from outside of a culture.
Writing and performing the Nation – the aim is to investigate the impact of disruptions in identity after cultural trauma to the production of the creative arts, performative, visual and literary.