“Multidirectional memories” in conflict – actors and negotiations in four fields of memory politics

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Whose memory belongs to whom, and which history is more valuable to be remembered today? Current debates in the field of historical politics on "multidirectional memories" (Michael Rothberg) and "points of convergence in memory" (Natan Sznaider) show that postcolonial approaches, in particular, are controversial and can be discussed with benefit. The issue at hand is not only the question of the incomparability of the Holocaust but also the question of the meaningfulness of particularization versus universalization of historical events and thus the handling of the pluralization of memories. The last two centuries of German history are full of injustice, violence, human rights violations, and mass murder.

The current focus of historical learning, resulting from German historical policy in the 1980s and 1990s, was on the NS era and the Holocaust, later followed by the injustice of the SED dictatorship, and now topics on the history of colonialism and Queer history are added. However, time and attention are limited, the interests and questions about the past in our migration society are varied and weighted differently, and under these conditions, memories compete for legitimacy and attention in history classes and at extracurricular learning sites.

The section aims to discuss the changes that the concept of "multidirectional memory" brings to German memory culture and historical politics. Four contributions address this question from different cultural perspectives of memory. They discuss the specific memory discourses and engage them in conversation with current debates on plural, particular, universal, and/or "multidirectional" memories and their opportunities and challenges for historical learning.

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