German 261: Memory and History in the Family: Versions of the Past

Instructor: Yasemin Yildiz

Study of contemporary cultural representations that foreground the family (and especially grandparents) as the site of the transmission of the past. Stories about the past told in the family often differ significantly from versions of history found in textbooks, sometimes offering alternative access to repressed histories and other times covering them up. We will analyze how family dynamics and historical accounting come into play in select memoirs, literary works, documentaries, and fictional films, with special attention to the dynamics at play in (not) remembering National Socialism and the Holocaust. Introduces students also to central concepts from Memory Studies, such as cultural and communicative memory. No prior knowledge required. Taught in English.