Present Pasts
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Present Pasts : Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory

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Description

Memory of historical trauma has a unique power to generate works of art. This book analyzes the relation of public memory to history, forgetting, and selective memory in Berlin, Buenos Aires, and New York-three late-twentieth-century cities that have confronted major social or political traumas. Berlin experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall and the city's reemergence as the German capital; Buenos Aires lived through the dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s and their legacy of state terror and disappearances; and New York City faces a set of public memory issues concerning the symbolic value of Times Square as threatened public space and the daunting task of commemorating and rebuilding after the attack on the World Trade Center.


Focusing on the issue of monumentalization in divergent artistic and media practices, the book demonstrates that the transformation of spatial and temporal experience by memory politics is a major cultural effect of globalization.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 12.7mm | 272g
  • Palo Alto, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0804745617
  • 9780804745611
  • 61,924

Flap copy

Memory of historical trauma has a unique power to generate works of art. This book analyzes the relation of public memory to history, forgetting, and selective memory in Berlin, Buenos Aires, and New York--three late-twentieth-century cities that have confronted major social or political traumas. Berlin experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall and the city's reemergence as the German capital; Buenos Aires lived through the dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s and their legacy of state terror and disappearances; and New York City faces a set of public memory issues concerning the symbolic value of Times Square as threatened public space and the daunting task of commemorating and rebuilding after the attack on the World Trade Center.
Focusing on the issue of monumentalization in divergent artistic and media practices, the book demonstrates that the transformation of spatial and temporal experience by memory politics is a major cultural effect of globalization.
show more

Back cover copy

"Fascinating reading, this is a profound, original, and timely book about the world's current obsession with the past, as well as the form which this obsession has taken: memory. Huyssen considers what our obsession with memory means, and examines a number of material forms that it has taken, as well as the social, cultural, and aesthetic functions they have served." --Kaja Silverman, University of California, Berkeley
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Table of contents

Present pasts - media, politics, amnesia; Monumental seduction - Christo in Berlin; The voids of Berlin; After the war - Berlin as palimpsest; Fear of mice - the Times Square redevelopment; Memory sites in an expanded field - the Memory Park inBuenos Aires; Doris Salcedo's memory sculpture unland - the Orphan's Tunic; Of mice and mimesis - reading Spiegelman's Maus with Adorno; Rewritings and new beginnings - W.G. Sebald and the literature on the air war; Twin memories - after-images of nine/eleven.
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Review quote

"Fascinating reading, this is a profound, original, and timely book about the world's current obsession with the past, as well as the form which this obsession has taken: memory. Huyssen considers what our obsession with memory means, and examines a number of material forms that it has taken, as well as the social, cultural, and aesthetic functions they have served." -Kaja Silverman, University of California, Berkeley
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About Andreas Huyssen

Andreas Huyssen is Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His most recent book is Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia.
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Rating details

83 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 29% (24)
4 40% (33)
3 24% (20)
2 5% (4)
1 2% (2)
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