A study of how selective ways of remembering Europe’s past have shaped collective and individual identities. This course examines the complex web of competing historical narratives, studying concepts and discourses in the contemporary field of history and memory studies.
Europe – the cradle of liberal democracy, civil rights, Western culture and secular civilization, but also fertile ground for colonialist expansion, racist violence, social engineering, and the brutal tyrannies of the 20th century: in this course you will explore the staggering ambiguities of the European experience in the modern era. Using Warsaw and Berlin as powerful case studies, you will study the trajectory of Modern Europe: from the ambiguities and pitfalls of nationalism, through the catastrophic destruction and genocidal violence of WWII to the rebuilding of the continent as a diverse, yet unified entity. The two war-torn but revitalized capitals, bridging East and West, provide the perfect gateway for an exploration of the fascinating complexities of European Modern History.
On our study tour to Germany, we walked to the various memorials for the Berlin Wall incorporated throughout the city. My professor pointed out the cobblestones that marked where the Berlin Wall once divided the free world from Communism. There is now a path of cobblestones that cuts across the city where the wall once was, and it’s incredible to think about how easy it is for us to just walk cross it today.”
– Kate Wofford, University of Maryland, College Park