American awareness of its racist and violent history has done little to prevent ongoing repercussions; 150-year-old symbols of slavery and oppression, such as Confederate flags and monuments, are still scattered throughout our cities — and are even glorified. Other countries have advanced inclusion, diversity, and tolerance toward immigrants and minorities, but how? Clark University’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies will host a free, public conference, “E Pluribus Unum? Memory Conflicts, Democracy, and Integration,” to address these topics, from Thursday, April 11, to Saturday, April 13.
“The continuing consequences of the traumatic past, in the United States and globally, demand our attention. We are grateful to the conference participants, leading scholars in their fields, for accepting the invitation to reflect on this provocative topic and for helping these areas of inquiry to take root at the Strassler Center and beyond,” says Director Thomas Kühne, Strassler Professor of Holocaust History, who organized the conference.
Noted experts on memory politics, genocide, mass violence, and contemporary racism will present papers and participate in panels focused on the ways countries can muster the memory of racism, violence, and genocide to strengthen inclusion and diversity. Leading scholars will discuss the tension between memory conflicts, and the processes and problems of social cohesion, integration, and identity.
Ian Buruma, Paul Williams Professor of Human Rights, Democracy, and Journalism at Bard College, will deliver a keynote address, “Bad Memories,” on Thursday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in Dana Commons. Buruma will examine the way history affects contemporary politics with a particular focus on the memories of World War II.
Kühne will welcome participants and present “Memory Conflicts and National Identity: Germany and the United States” at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 12. Panels, presentations and roundtable discussions will follow through 6 p.m., including “Patriotism, Memory and America’s War on Terrorism,” and “Facebook and the Use and Abuse of History in the Digital Public Sphere.”
On Saturday, April 13, Clark professors Johanna Ray Vollhardt and Ousmane Power-Greene, from the Psychology and History departments, respectively, will join scholars from a number of institutions, including Indiana University, Dartmouth College, and Yale University, for presentations on topics ranging from reconciliation committees to designing memorials. The sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For a detailed conference schedule, click here.
An anonymous donor is the main sponsor of the conference; the keynote address is funded by the Asher Fund and the Cutler Charitable Foundation. For more information, call 508-793-8897 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Strassler Center is committed to organizing programs that challenge and energize Genocide Studies. The Center’s vision entails the imperative to address slavery, mass violence, and genocide in the Americas.