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Post-Colonial and Post-Shoah Readings: The Conundrums of Memory Politics and Historiography


Prof. Dr. Thomas Lindenberger

TU Dresden, GER/0007/U

Mittwoch, 3. DS (11:10–12:40 Uhr)

Prof. Dr. Thomas Lindenberger / Prof. Dr. Nikita Dhawan - Interdisziplinärer Lektürekurs: Post-Colonial and Post-Shoah Readings: The Conundrums of Memory Politics and Historiography

In April of 2020, a huge controversy unfolded in Germany on the relation between Postcolonial and Holocaust Studies. Previously, in 2012, Judith Butler, on the occasion of her acceptance of the Adorno Prize, was assailed for her criticism of the State of Israel and her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This time, the philosopher Achille Mbembe, from Cameroon, the former German colony, who works on issues of restitution, reparation, and reconciliation, was accused of antisemitism. His criticism of the occupation of Palestine and the comparison of the State of Israel with the apartheid system in South Africa is condemned for allegedly relativizing the Holocaust and questioning the Israeli state’s right to exist. Beyond the “Mbembe case”, the greater challenge is how to think together Jewish Studies and Postcolonial Studies. More recently the Australian historian Dirk Moses has provoked fierce rebuttals by German colleagues when he qualified the broad consensus held by Germans about their self-critical memorialization of the Nazi past and the Holocaust as a self-serving ‘catechism’ made up of sacrosanct truths and taboo zones. In this class, we will engage with critical scholarship to address the conundrums of memory politics and historiography and to explore the convergences and divergences between Jewish resp. Holocaust Studies and Postcolonial studies. The reading syllabus will include positions from different disciplinary backgrounds including philosophy, history, and social sciences. Participants are expected and given opportunity to deliver Prüfungsleistungen according to the requisitions of their major field (in history, or in political science, or other).

Einführende Literatur: H. Arendt: The Origins of Totalitarianism, Cleveland/New York 1962; M. Brumlik: Postkolonialer Antisemitismus? Achille Mbembe, die palästinensische BDS-Bewegung und andere Aufreger. Bestandsaufnahme einer Diskussion, Hamburg 2021; J. Butler: Parting Ways. Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism, New York 2012; W. Goetschel / A. Quayson: Jewish Studies and Postcolonialism (Introduction). In: The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, 3 (2016) 1, S. 1–9; A. Mufti: Enlightenment in the Colonies. The Jewish Question and the Crisis of Postcolonial Culture, Princeton 2007; J. Raschke: Die Erfindung der modernen Demokratie. Innovationen, Irrwege, Konsequenzen. Mit einem Beitrag von Klaus Hänsch, Wiesbaden 2020, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28668-2; M. Rothberg: Multidirectional Memory Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization, Stanford 2009; E. Shohat: On the Arab-Jew, Palestine, and Other Displacements, London 2017.

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