We’re launching at new series! We members of the DH@CC team spend a lot of our time preparing for classes, collaborating on exciting digital research programs, and planning events for the Claremont community. In our new #FridayDHSpotlight series, we hope to share reflections on a wide range of topics: projects, classes, and events that we’re proud to have sponsored; methodological questions that we’re grappling with in our meetings; new tools that we’re experimenting with during our office hours.
To kick off the series, we share a piece by Abigail Beck, an M.A. student in the Department History at The Claremont Graduate University, who participated in the screening of and public seminar about the haunting and timely documentary by Tim Slade, The Destruction of Memory.
A Reflection on The Destruction of Memory
by Abigail Beck
The film screening and discussion earlier this semester of Tim Slade’s The Destruction of Memory (2006) with students from Dr. Patricia Blessing’s Pomona ID1 class, Archaeology: Fact and Fiction, covered timely topics such as cultural eradication and genocide spanning from WWI and WWII to contemporary conflicts raging in the Middle East and North Africa. As a discussant of the student panel, I engaged with students about how technology has preserved historical artifacts and landmarks or sped up the dismantling of such sites; of how targeting heritage sites and urban centers can be used to demoralize victim groups; and lastly about the structural elements and critique of Tim Slade’s film.
Part of The Claremont Colleges Library Discourse Series, the discussion was dedicated to the late Stu McConnell, professor emeritus of history at Pitzer College. His research focused on the Civil War and memory, which tied into questions from the audience regarding the controversial debates in the United States regarding the removal of Confederate monuments. Overall, the event held in the Collaborative Commons in The Claremont Colleges Library was filled with stimulating conversation about the significance of cultural erasure and destruction, which according to Raphael Lemkin, the father of genocide-studies, always precedes physical and biological genocide.
These events were made possible through the generous sponsorship of DH@CC, The Claremont Colleges Library, the Department of Art History at Pomona, and the Department of History at The Claremont Graduate University. If you were unable to attend the event but would still like to watch the film, members of the Claremont community may now stream it through The Claremont Colleges Library website.
Abigail Beck is an M.A. student in the History Department at The Claremont Graduate University.