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The University Seminar on Cultural Memory began in 2005 as an interdisciplinary colloquium welcoming graduate students and faculty from Columbia and its neighbors. The Seminar, incepted in 2007, builds upon this already-established community and aims to further develop a vibrant interdisciplinary dialogue on contemporary issues of cultural and collective memory, including but not limited to traumatic memory, collective and national forgetting, memorialization and museology, historical consciousness and historiography, embodied memory and performance, archive and testimony. The Seminar meets monthly and, in addition to discussing chapters and works-in-progress, hosts a series of distinguished visiting speakers, working in close cooperation with relevant departments and institutes at Columbia.

Professor Marianne Hirsch

Professor Andreas Huyssen

Noni Carter

All seminars will meet over Zoom for the 2020-2021 academic year. Meeting links provided upon RSVP. Meeting dates and times are subject to change.

Meeting Schedule

11/30/2020 Online Meeting
3:00 PM
The Memory of Racial Terror: The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum
Marita Sturke, New York University


This talk is drawn from Marita Sturken's forthcoming book, Memory After Terrorism: Memorialization in the Post-9/11 Era (see book abstract attached). The Legacy Museum and the National Peace and Justice Memorial opened in April 2018 in Montgomery, Alabama. Built by Bryan Stephenson and the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit that pursues legal advocacy in Alabama, the memorial and museum are innovative projects of memory activism that aim to actively intervene into the national narrative of racial progress and the system of mass incarceration today. This talk examines the design of the memorial and museum and how they constitute a radical intervention into national US memory culture.

Moderator: Alison Landsberg, George Mason University