Skip to Gallatin Navigation Skip to Gallatin Main Content

First-Year Interdisciplinary Seminar: Collective Memory of Atrocity and Injustice

Semester and Year FA 2019
Course Number FIRST-UG74
Section 001
Instructor Hannah Gurman
Days TR
Time 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


In the aftermath of the Holocaust, Primo Levi wrote, “Never forget that this has happened.” Levi’s imperative raises important questions about the role of memory in the context of atrocity and injustice. What is the difference between individual and collective memory? What is the purpose of remembering atrocity? What is the relationship between memory and justice? What gets forgotten in the collective memory and why? Is historical amnesia necessarily bad? How might collective memory serve to address ongoing systemic injustice? We will pursue such questions by examining specific genres and forms of collective memory--including memorials, truth commissions, reparations movements, and ecological activism--examining how they have shaped, challenged, and revised understandings of atrocity and injustice from the nineteenth century to the present. In addition to informal response papers, students will write 3 formal essays over the course of the semester. Readings may include works by Maurice Halbwachs, Maya Lin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Fred Wilcox.


All Syllabi

Course Type

First-Year Program: Interdisciplinary Seminars (FIRST-UG)