In my PhD dissertation, entitled After collective memory: Postnational Europe and socially engaged art (2015), I develop narratives around settler issues and European migration, and address both the practical and theoretical limits of European memory culture. Drawing from the interdisciplinary humanities, my dissertation explores a number of cinematic, literary, and sculptural interventions aimed at challenging expressions of European “home” during the global financial crisis in 2008. By bridging the history and theory of memorialization and approaches from critical race and ethnic studies, I argue that interventions into European collective memory were largely initiated during the crisis by second-generation migrants seeking to politicize their “translocal” (El-Tayeb, 2011) experiences.
The largest section of my dissertation develops a strong rebuke of the cosmopolitan turn within European memory culture, and focuses on the latter’s entrenchment of the so-called European-Jewish tradition. By highlighting the implications of this pairing, I delve into myriad strategies created by Holocaust memory practitioners from the immediate post-war years to the present, highlighting a recent attempt at accounting for “multidirectional” (Rothberg, 2009) experiences of genocidal violence that are explicitly not Jewish. Second, I investigate the geopolitical conditions that led West German counter-monuments to become a design standard on the global stage, focusing on Soviet and post-Soviet memorial strategies, policies and official narratives. Third, I assess the haunting resurgence of a populist cosmopolitanism as depicted in a video trilogy by artist Yael Bartana, titled And Europe will be stunned (2009-11), in which a fictitious activist group attempts to overcome the demand to congregate under nationalism. I then compare Bartana’s work with perspectives from critical ethnic studies that aim to disassemble the kind of cosmopolitan utopianism that she herself identifies as a problem.
After Collective Memory: Postnational Europe and Socially Engaged Art (2015) PhD Dissertation, Toronto: York University.
My dissertation led to the following publications:
1.Settler Sublime: Reparation and Return in Yael Bartana’s Polish Trilogy (2017) PhiN: Philologie im Netz, Beiheift13: 220-244. Online.
2. Topography and Frontier: Gibellina’s City of Art (2016) M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 19(3), Special Issue: Place: Online.
3. What’s New? Boris Groys in Translation (2016) Reviews in Cultural Theory, 6(1), 37-41.
4. The Remainders of Memory: Berlin’s Postnational Aesthetic (2014) Drain: A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture, 11(1), Special Issue: Ruin: Online.
5. Countermemory in Post-Wende Berlin (2014) Descant 45(3), Special Issue: The Berlin Project: 147-156.
6. Archive Cultures: Technicity, Trace and Metaphor (2013) The Everyday: Experiences, Concepts, Narratives Parrot, M. and Derry, J. (Eds.). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 228-244.
7. Andreas Huyssen and the Genres of Historical Memory (2012) The Historical Textures of Translation: Traditions, Traumas and Transgressions. Ingram, S., and Reisenleitner, M. (Eds.).Vienna: Mille-Tre-Verlag, 33-59.
8. Topos of Faith: Derrida’s Counter-Institutions (2012) Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, Special Issue: Out of the Ruins: The University to Come. 28(1), 289-295.