In The Historical Uncanny. Disability, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Holocaust Memory, Dr Susanne Knittel explores how certain memories become inscribed into the heritage of a country or region while others are suppressed or forgotten. During the next edition of the Transnational Memory Seminar, on 22 January, Knittel will present the book.
Uncanny sites of memory
In response to the erasure of historical memories that discomfit a public’s self-understanding, this book proposes the historical uncanny as that which resists reification precisely because it cannot be assimilated to dominant discourses of commemoration. Focusing on the problems of representation and reception, the book explores memorials for two marginalised aspects of Holocaust: the Nazi euthanasia program directed against the mentally ill and disabled, and the Fascist persecution of Slovenes, Croats, and Jews in and around Trieste.
Reading these memorials together with literary and artistic texts, Knittel redefines ‘sites of memory’ as assemblages of cultural artifacts and discourses that accumulate over time; they emerge as a physical and a cultural space that is continually redefined, rewritten, and re-presented. In bringing perspectives from disability studies and postcolonialism to the question of memory, Knittel unsettles our understanding of the Holocaust and its place in the culture of contemporary Europe.
Title: The Historical Uncanny. Disability, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Holocaust Memory
Author(s): Susanne Knittel
Publisher: 2014, Fordham University Press
The German translation, Unheimliche Geschichte is available, publisher: Transcript.