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Cultural Memories of Division and Unification : Memory Space and the Cultural Unification of Divided Nation-States

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2016, 47(), pp.111-140
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.47.0.04
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : May 31, 2016

Yhee, Jean 1

1Freie Univ. Berlin

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Social and cultural institutions and rituals influence the political itinerary of both divided and unified nations significantly, especially when the presumed future images of the reunified nations have been projected from the collective memories of the past. Considering possible critical consequences of such a development, this paper looks into dynamic mechanisms of the cultural memories of the divided past during the Cold War in reunified Germany to examine the following question: How are the conflicting, diverse memories of the past between citizens of divided nation-states during the Cold-War eras to be preserved or dealt with, especially when the normative and restorative voice to achieve a ‘re’-unified nation often leads to a failure in seeing this diversity? From the perspectives of Cultural Memory Studies, three examples of cultural institutions are chosen for discussion, all of which have been involved in the dynamic process of constructing, archiving, abolishing, revising, and circulating selected cultural memories: Archives (Documentation Project on the German Reunification), Art (the German Image Dispute or der Deutsche Bilderstreit), and History Memorials (the Refugee Center Museum in Berlin-Marienfelde). Each of these cultural institutions offers different possibilities to maintain the diversity of the cultural memories of the past, which is enabled by and strengthens the continuing development of value-pluralistic democracy in postwar Germany. It is argued that the approaches of Cultural Memory Studies on the collective past memories could contribute to the reconciliation and tolerance-building process in the Korean Peninsula.

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