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PLAI Courses


PLAI 400 (Fall 2012): Interdisciplinary Seminar in the Humanities

Memory, Place, and Power


Instructors: Ben Forest (Geography) and Juliet Johnson (Political Science)

Course Syllabus

This interdisciplinary class explores different conceptions of memory and the relationships among memory, place, and power. The course begins with an introduction to key classical, Enlightenment, and contemporary texts on memory and place-making. It then uses this foundation to examine the symbolic transformation of public space, in particular the construction, alteration, and destruction of monuments and memorials. This approach emphasizes the social quality of memory, rather than psychological or physiological processes. From this perspective, it becomes possible to understand how political interests and social practices can shape something as ostensibly personal and individual as memory.