At the end of the course, the student
• has acquired an awareness of the role of literary texts and art in the production and transmission of cultural memories;
• is acquainted with various forms of memorial culture, across time and in various contexts;
• can describe important concepts within the fields of memory studies, postcolonial and trauma studies, and ecocriticism;
• can apply these concepts to selected literary texts or works of art;
• can present a historically and theoretically contextualized analysis of a literary text or work of art, in both oral and written form.
Literature and art can help to work through past trauma’s, deal with present injustices, and imagine an alternative, more hopeful future. In this course, we will focus on three aspects of memory—amnesia, mourning, anticipation—to investigate how selected literary texts and artworks from various (post-)colonial contexts shape relations to past occurrences, provide a situatedness in the present, or envision alternative futures. Our analyses will draw on various approaches and concepts from memory studies, postcolonial studies, and ecocriticism to establish critical terminologies to capture such dynamics. We will consider how memory takes shape across regional, national, transcultural, and planetary scales and how it often extends both backward and forward in time. Finally, we will ask whether the production and transmission of cultural memories should be restricted to literary canons, archives, monuments, oral traditions, rituals, and the like. Is memory necessarily a human construct or might it also manifest itself in more-than-human ways, for instance in long-term changes in the landscape and geological formations, or the composition of the atmosphere and oceans?|