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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wilke on Memorializing Nazis' Victims in Berlin

Forthcoming in the International Journal of Transitional Justice, an article in the vein of public history by Christiane Wilke on "Remembering Complexity? Memorials for Nazi Victims in Berlin," now available on SSRN.

Here's the abstract:

How do memorials shape who we think we are? And how are our identities involved when we debate, create, and interact with memorials? This essay engages in a conversation with scholarship on intersectional identities and memorial practices in Berlin. Intersectionality scholarship, with its roots in US critical race feminism, has much to offer for thinking about the complexity of identities, yet it does not consider the role of memory, time, and temporality. The scholarship on memory and memorials, in turn, does not sufficiently consider the complexity of identities of those who are memorialized and of those who visit memorials. The essay asks how three different monuments for Nazi victims in Berlin allow for or facilitate the memory of complex identities. The example of the Monument for the Persecuted Homosexuals shows that memorial practices can be crucial in contemporary identity politics and social movements. The essay calls for a more self-reflexive approach to the role of identities and complexity in memorial scholarship and practice.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cross biography of Robert Baldwin off the press

From Philip Girard, the news that Dr.Michael Cross's biography of Robert Baldwin is now available in bookstores. In Ottawa, at least. The Oxford University Press website is reporting a November 2012 availability. Maybe that's just online.

A Biography of Robert Baldwin: The Morning Star of Memory
by Michael Cross

In any event, this is welcome new to historians of Ontario. It was a little embarrassing that we had no book-length academic bio of Baldwin, one of the most significant Upper Canadians of the nineteenth century. And to legal historians: while Baldwin is primarily known as a political reformer, a recent book by legal historian Blake Brown, A Trying Question, has highlighted his extraordinary innovation in jury reform. He is also known (to me, mostly) as the progenitor of the Municipal Act of 1849, known as the Baldwin Act to contemporaries, an equally impressive reform in local governance. Here's hoping Professor Cross doesn't give short shrift to these legal arena achievements, though admittedly they are less spectacular than Baldwin's personal peccadilloes, which to my mind put Mackenzie King's to shame.

Thanks for the tip, Philip.