This seminar will draw upon unique sources - especially those dealing with historical trauma in China in the 19th and 20th centuries. The goal here is to listen to the cadence of a new kind of consciousness that appears
in China and the West after the 1870s - a consciousness of loss and of commemoration. The Polish poet Zbiniew Hebert (1924- ) described the need for factual information in an age when "facts" are constantly erased or
by amnesia, as follows:
"I am supposed to be exact but I don't know when the invasion began
two hundred years ago in December in September perhaps yesterday at dawn
everyone here suffers from a loss of the sense of time
all we have left is the place the attachment to the place
we still rule over ruins of temples specters of gardens and houses
if we lose the ruins nothing will be left."
After September 11th, the need for the preservation of "ruins" in a historiographically conscious mind grows ever more acute. Starting with the extremely important anthology AGAINST FORGETTING: POETRY OF WITNESS IN THE 20TH CENTURY, edited by Carolyn Forche in 1992. This seminar will explore cross-cultural readings starting with China in the 19th Century. The goal here is to develop critical understanding of alternative ways of creating meaning out of sense-denying times. Where conventional historiographical narratives falter, poetry may provide a new angle of vision and of comprehension as well.
COURSE FORMAT: Seminar
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA HIST Grading Mode: Student Option
Prerequisites: NONE Links to Web Resources For This Course.
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
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