28 November 2018 Public Lecture Professor Freund

PUBLIC LECTURE

Professor Alexander Freund
University of Winnipeg

Wednesday 28 November 2018 at 5.30 pm

Te Ahumairangi Programme Room, Main Foyer
National Library of New Zealand, Molesworth Street, Wellington

My People’s Crimes: On the Difficulty of Talking About and Acknowledging One’s Nation’s Atrocities

Postwar West Germans invented a word to describe the difficulty they had with talking about and acknowledging the atrocities they or their parents had committed during the Second World War: Vergangenheitsbewältigung—the attempt to cope with, work through, and overcome a difficult past. This process of Vergangenheitsbewältigung is not unique to Germany; in the wake of de-colonization, civil wars, conflicts after the break-up of the Soviet Union, and genocides throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, many nations have gone through various kinds of Vergangenheitsbewältigung.

In this presentation, I argue, from an autobiographical perspective, that it is not enough to load Vergangenheitsbewältigung off on to institutions such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions; instead, individuals, families, and societies need to learn how to talk about and acknowledge one’s nation’s past crimes. I am drawing on my own experiences of growing up in West Germany and of immigrating to Canada, thus witnessing from a private citizen’s eye how individuals and families in two different societies have attempted “to put the events of the past behind us”. My personal experiences were deeply shaped by my oral history interviews with immigrants and refugees in Canada, which eventually led me, together with my colleague Nolan Reilly, to found an oral history centre at my university. I will conclude with some thoughts on the role of oral history in individuals’, families’, and societies’ attempts to talk about and acknowledge their nation’s past atrocities.

Professor Alexander Freund

Alexander Freund is a Professor of History at the University of Winnipeg, where he holds the Chair in German-Canadian Studies and serves as the Director of the Oral History Centre. Recent publications include: History, Memory, and Generations: German-Canadian Experiences in the Twentieth Century (forthcoming); The Canadian Oral History Reader (2015, edited with Kristina Llewellyn and Nolan Reilly); and Oral History and Ethnic History (2014).

Related upcoming events

  • 2020-07-03 - 2020-07-05 All day

      STOUT RESEARCH CENTRE

                                                 for New Zealand Studies

     CALL FOR PAPERS

    New Zealand Oral History Conference

     Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies and the

    National Oral History Association of New Zealand (NOHANZ) Te Kete Kōrero-a-Waha o Te Motu

    Victoria University of Wellington

    3 – 5 July 2020

    Ko wai mātou?        Who are we?

     A common thread runs through the contemporary work of many philosophers, economists, geneticists, historians and novelists world-wide. Who are we? What unites us? What separates us?  As we in Aotearoa New Zealand grapple with the consequences of colonisation 250 years on, questions of personal and collective identity resonate on multiple levels. Do we share any form of collective identity?

    We invite papers that explore “who are we?” in different and interesting ways.

    • There are multiple social and cultural dimensions to identity – iwi/hapu, family, ethnicity, occupation, class, sexuality, generation, and gender among them.
    • How do we navigate the personal and collective multiplicity of identities that are part and parcel of everyday life?
    • In what ways are these identities perceived to overlap?
    • How do we negotiate conflicting identities?
    • Past or present – which matters more when considering who we are?
    • Are our life narratives our self-identities?

    Through the medium of interviews and life narratives oral historians are able to record a rich diversity of perspectives and make a contribution to understanding the question “Ko wai mātou?” or “Who are we?”.

     Keynote speakers include:

    (Waskam) Emelda Davis, founding member and chairwoman of Australian South Sea Islanders (Port Jackson) in Sydney, speaking on ‘Children of the Sugar Slaves’.

     and

     Na Li, Research Fellow and Professor in the Department of History, Zhejiang University, China, speaking on “Oral History, Public Memory, and Political Identity: A Transnational Dialogue”. To be confirmed.

     Workshops:

    There will be workshops on Friday 3 July at the National Library, Wellington.

     To submit a proposal

    Please send a title, 200-word (maximum) abstract, and a brief (two sentence) biography:

    To:  Stout-centre@vuw.ac.nz

    By:  Saturday 18 April 2020

    In all cases, to assist with later programme planning, please indicate clearly the focus of your paper within the broad theme. You will be notified by the end of April whether your paper has been accepted.

    Registration for the conference will open on Monday 4 May 2020.

    If you have any questions about the conference, please contact:

     Anna Green:  anna.green@vuw.ac.nz

    or

    Anna Packer: nohanzexec@gmail.com

One Comment on “28 November 2018 Public Lecture Professor Freund”

  1. The National Oral History Association of New Zealand (NOHANZ) invites abstract submissions for their biennial conference to be held at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 of November 2018. This year the theme of their conference focuses on the sweet sound of the voice, the singers of tales (te waha kairongorongo), More Call for Submissions: NOHANZ Biennial Conference 2018
    By the way! The best essay writing service – https://www.easyessay.pro/

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