Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory

Front Cover
Stanford University Press, 2003 - Political Science - 177 pages
Memory of historical trauma has a unique power to generate works of art. This book analyzes the relation of public memory to history, forgetting, and selective memory in Berlin, Buenos Aires, and New York three late-twentieth-century cities that have confronted major social or political traumas. Berlin experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall and the city s reemergence as the German capital; Buenos Aires lived through the dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s and their legacy of state terror and disappearances; and New York City faces a set of public memory issues concerning the symbolic value of Times Square as threatened public space and the daunting task of commemorating and rebuilding after the attack on the World Trade Center.

Focusing on the issue of monumentalization in divergent artistic and media practices, the book demonstrates that the transformation of spatial and temporal experience by memory politics is a major cultural effect of globalization.


What people are saying - Write a review

Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory (Cultural Memory in the Present)のКИТАРУ МУРАКАМУさんの感想・レビュー

User Review  - КИТАРУ МУРАКАМУ - 読書メーター

This book deals with collective memory and cultural memory from some pieces of work related to a sense of pasts time. what do you have to get through obsessions with historical trauma, mainly remebering presences of killing and killed, around cities. Read full review


Media Politics Amnesia
Christo in Berlin
The Voids of Berlin
Berlin as Palimpsest
The Times Square Redevelopment
The Memory Park
Reading Spiegelman
W G Sebald
Afterimages of NineEleven

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)

Andreas Huyssen is Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His most recent book is Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia.

Bibliographic information