ECTS Points: 5
Language requirements: English B2
The German term “Aufarbeitung” is often considered to be “untranslatable”, at least not to be captured by one word in English. However, struggles of coming to terms with an unjust, violent and often murderous past can be studied worldwide. Originally referring to Germany’s obligation to confront its Nazi past, “Aufarbeitung” in Germany today concerns also the legacy of the SED-rule in Communist East Germany as well as transgressions and injustices that were committed on either side of the Cold War frontier, such as violence against children in institutions and families. The seminar will introduce students to the historical background and theory of “Aufarbeitung” and related concepts such as “transitional justice” and “politics of memory” and ask for the role these concepts grant to memorialization. Students will study the history, aims and practices of some of the major memorial sites, state commissions and NGO’s addressing difficult pasts in Berlin. These are considered as case studies that help us to focus on general questions such as: Who are the agents, what the aims and what the effects of “Aufarbeitung”? What processes of inclusion or exclusion can be observed? The last phase of the seminar will be dedicated to the in-depth study of practices of “Aufarbeitung” from different contexts and countries – students are invited to set the agenda collaboratively. Final assignments will be contributions for a joined teamwork product (blog, podcast ...) on “Aufarbeitung – a German thing?” (this is a working title, decision on final title will be made collectively).
Aleida Assmann, From Collective Violence to a Common Future: Four Models for Dealing with a Traumatic Past,” in: Helen Gonçalves da Silva et al. (eds.), Conflict, Memory Transfers and the Reshaping of Europe, Newcastle upon Tyne 2010, 8-23.
Tim Garton Ash, Insight the Stasi Files. The Communist Past in Post-Communist Europe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnQFJsOHI68
Norbert Frei, Auschwitz and the Germans: History, Knowledge and Memory, in: N. Gregor (Hrsg.), Nazism, War and Genocide. Essays in Honour of Jeremy Noakes. Exeter 2005, S. 147-165,
Norbert Frei, 1945 - 1949 - 1989: Dealing with Two German Pasts, in: Australian Journal of Politics and History 56 (2010) 3, S. 411-423.
Martin Sabrow, The Quarrel over the Stasi Files, in: Astrid M. Eckert (Hg.), Institutions of Public Memory. The Legacies of German and American Politicians, Washington 2007, S. 46-52.