Memory and Complicity: Migrations of Holocaust Remembrance

By Debarati Sanyal | Go to book overview

Afterword

The texts and films discussed in this book illustrate the ethical work enabled by cultural repre sen ta tions, the force of allegory in contrast to the poverty of analogy. In the works that I have considered, aesthetic form becomes a laboratory for experimenting with practices of memory and repre sen ta tion. Rhetorical devices disrupt given patterns of remembrance and belonging while illuminating the forces that govern a field of repre sen ta tion. The artifice of aesthetic expression, its polyphony and irony, beckons partial and suspended identifications, teaching us to read in multiple directions and to identify proximities between different formations (psychic, cultural, historical) without turning them into so many iterations of the same catastrophe.

To the extent that cultural memory inevitably takes form in literary and rhetorical figures, the movement of such figures across space and time carries within it the potential to reactivate the past within the present. Tropes such as the concentrationary plague spark unpredictable affinities between disparate histories and identities and may forge solidarities between diverse

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