Commemorating Incongruity: The Israeli Hall of Independence
Presented by Vered Vinitzky-Serussi
Using the case of the uncared Israeli Hall of Independence (where the state was declared in 1948), the lecture suggests a new conceptualization for a mnemonic challenge: mnemonic liminality. Hard to grasp, behind the liminality challenge stand either a space with an in-between history, time which is in-between eras and/or a text which is in between worldviews. However, the fact that the HOI suffered from negligence for decades cannot be explained away solely by its liminality. Thus, the lecture addresses the issue of the prolonged negligence by claiming that scholars of collective memory need to acknowledge the role culture plays in forging and sustaining collective memory. What happens with commemoration when culture and the commemorated event lack congruency? Negligence – neither memory nor amnesia – is a result of an inherent tension between the commemorating culture and the nature of an event doomed important within the same society. This analysis may thus contribute to our understanding of how culture works in collective memory when there is no fit between events and culture.
Professor of sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and faculty fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. Her major academic interest revolves around issues of collective memory and commemoration, and specifically the ways in which societies cope with their difficult pasts and shameful histories. She is also interested in festive and banal commemoration, silence in memory, notifying death, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. She is currently conducting a comparative research on home museums in Germany and Israel.