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Memory, Violence and Global Citizenship (Englisch)

(15 321)

TypeAdvanced Seminar
InstructorIhab Saloul
RoomGarystr. 55 Hs A

Freitag 14:00 - 16:00

"The colonized man finds his freedom in and through violence."
Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth

The decisive role that Fanon attributes to material violence in the colonial context had an inexorable afterlife in the postcolonial world. According to Fanon, violence functions like a language in the colonial system, such that the colonized who seeks to overthrow the colonizer is only writing back in the colonizer?s own language. The literary texts and films we will study reflect this intersection of violation and political violence. Contrary to Fanon, however, they present it as a mutating, complex cultural phenomenon that draws its energies from multiple histories. postcolonial literary and audiovisual media, as we will see, not only locate violence in culturally specific sites and values such as shame, honor, purity and sacrifice, but they also draw their charge from the ways the corporeality or the embodied politics of ?the victim? is made to stand in for the body politic. Think of the links between contemporary cases of political conflict across the world and Western colonial history of these territories. Other examples include European experiences with the so-called ?violent migrant?, and how the phenomenon of migration runs the risk of being enduringly aesthetized. Among other matters, postcolonial texts and films expose the brutalities of war, the entanglement of family dynamics in armed resistance to political oppression, the ambiguities of bearing witness to violation, and the effects of metropolitan values imposed upon poverty-stricken societies on the brink of chaos.
These explosive topics will be the focus of our discussion. We will explore the historical references that postcolonial cultural expressions adopt in the context of globalization, and ask whether their symbolism adds or undercuts their political urgency? How does the extremity of the subject matter of these media effect their reaching beyond the conventions of realism into the realms of memory and the imagined (even the surreal, and the grotesque sometimes)? Of related interest will be the ways in which postcolonial media experiment with anti-linear sequences and spatio-temporal continuities of memory in order to stage an apocalyptic climax that collapses past, present and future violence.

Course Objectives
- To introduce students to debates and theories of cultural memory in connection to contemporary media representations of violence and globalization.
- To provide students with analytical tools to deal with these concepts from different historical periods and cultural contexts.

Required Literary Texts and Films
- Djebar, Asia. Algerian White (2000)
- Cotzee, J. M. Age of Iron (1990)
- Badr, Liyana. A Balcony Over the Fakihani (1983)
- Santosh Sivan. The Terrorist (1998)
- Andrew Niccol. Lord of War (2005)

Instructional format
Lectures, film viewings, and tutorial meetings