Description : Remembering Hiroshima, the city obliterated by the world's first nuclear attack, has been a complicated and intensely politicized process, as we learn from Lisa Yoneyama's sensitive investigation of the "dialectics of memory." She explores unconventional texts and dimensions of culture involved in constituting Hiroshima memories—including history textbook controversies, discourses on the city's tourism and urban renewal projects, campaigns to preserve atomic ruins, survivors' testimonial practices, ethnic Koreans' narratives on Japanese colonialism, and the feminized discourse on peace—in order to illuminate the politics of knowledge about the past and present. In the way battles over memories have been expressed as material struggles over the cityscape itself, we see that not all share the dominant remembering of Hiroshima's disaster, with its particular sense of pastness, nostalgia, and modernity. The politics of remembering, in Yoneyama's analysis, is constituted by multiple and contradictory senses of time, space, and positionality, elements that have been profoundly conditioned by late capitalism and intensifying awareness of post-Cold War and postcolonial realities. Hiroshima Traces, besides clarifying the discourse surrounding this unforgotten catastrophe, reflects on questions that accompany any attempts to recover marginalized or silenced experiences. At a time when historical memories around the globe appear simultaneously threatening and in danger of obliteration, Yoneyama asks how acts of remembrance can serve the cause of knowledge without being co-opted and deprived of their unsettling, self-critical qualities.
Description : Memory and the Impact of Political Transformation in Public Space explores the effects of major upheavals—wars, decolonization, and other social and economic changes—on the ways in which public histories are presented around the world. Examining issues related to public memory in twelve countries, the histories collected here cut across political, cultural, and geographic divisions. At the same time, by revealing recurring themes and concerns, they show how basic issues of history and memory transcend specific sites and moments in time. A number of the essays look at contests over public memory following two major political transformations: the wave of liberation from colonial rule in much of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America during the second half of the twentieth century and the reorganization of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet bloc beginning in the late 1980s. This collection expands the scope of what is considered public history by pointing to silences and absences that are as telling as museums and memorials. Contributors remind us that for every monument that is erected, others—including one celebrating Sri Lanka’s independence and another honoring the Unknown Russian Soldier of World War II—remain on the drawing board. While some sites seem woefully underserved by a lack of public memorials—as do post–Pinochet Chile and post–civil war El Salvador—others run the risk of diluting meaning through overexposure, as may be happening with Israel’s Masada. Essayists examine public history as it is conveyed not only in marble and stone but also through cityscapes and performances such as popular songs and parades. Contributors James Carter John Czaplicka Kanishka Goonewardena Lisa Maya Knauer Anna Krylova Teresa Meade Bill Nasson Mary Nolan Cynthia Paces Andrew Ross Daniel Seltz T. M. Scruggs Irina Carlota Silber Daniel J. Walkowitz Yael Zerubavel
Description : When President Harry Truman authorized the use of atomic weapons against Japan, he did so to end a bloody war that would have been bloodier still had the planned invasion of Japan proved necessary. Revisionists claim that Truman's real interest was a power play with the Soviet Union and that the Japanese would have surrendered even earlier had the retention of their imperial system been assured. Truman wanted the war to continue, they insist, in order to show off America's powerful new weapon. This anthology exposes revisionist fallacies about Truman's motives, the cost of an invasion, and the question of Japan's surrender. Essays by prominent military and diplomatic historians reveal the hollowness of revisionist claims, exposing the degree to which these agenda-driven scholars have manipulated the historical record to support their contentions. They show that, although some Japanese businessmen and minor officials indicated a willingness to negotiate peace, no one in a governmental decision-making capacity even suggested surrender. And although casualty estimates for an invasion vary considerably, the more authoritative approximations point to the very bloodbath that Truman sought to avoid. Volume editor Robert Maddox first examines the writings of revisionist Gar Alperovitz to expose the unscholarly methods Alperovitz employed to support his claims, then distinguished Japanese historian Sadao Asada reveals how difficult it was for his country's peace faction to prevail even after the bombs had been dropped. Other contributors point to continuing Japanese military buildups, analyze the revisionists' low casualty estimates for an invasion, reveal manipulations of the Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, and show how even the exhibit commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum hewed to the revisionist line. And a close reading of Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's acclaimed Racing the Enemy exposes many grave discrepancies between that recent revisionist text and its sources. The use of atomic bombs against Japan remains one of the most controversial issues in American history. Gathered in a single volume for the first time, these insightful readings take a major step toward settling that controversy by showing how insubstantial Hiroshima revisionism really is--and that sometimes history cannot proceed without decisive action, however regrettable.
Description : A pioneering study of German and Japanese postwar fiction, providing a broad cultural basis for understanding a half-century of responses to World War II from within the two societies.
Description : In this interesting study, Jenny Edkins explores how we remember traumatic events such as wars, famines, genocides and terrorism, and questions the assumed role of commemorations as simply reinforcing state and nationhood. Taking examples from the World Wars, Vietnam, the Holocaust, Kosovo and September 11th, Edkins offers a thorough discussion of practices of memory such as memorials, museums, remembrance ceremonies, the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress and the act of bearing witness. She examines the implications of these commemorations in terms of language, political power, sovereignty and nationalism. She argues that some forms of remembering do not ignore the horror of what happened but rather use memory to promote change and to challenge the political systems that produced the violence of wars and genocides in the first place. This wide-ranging study embraces literature, history, politics and international relations, and makes a significant contribution to the study of memory.
Description : Japan and the United States became close political allies so quickly after the end of World War II, that it seemed as though the two countries had easily forgotten the war they had fought. Here Yoshikuni Igarashi offers a provocative look at how Japanese postwar society struggled to understand its war loss and the resulting national trauma, even as forces within the society sought to suppress these memories. Igarashi argues that Japan's nationhood survived the war's destruction in part through a popular culture that expressed memories of loss and devastation more readily than political discourse ever could. He shows how the desire to represent the past motivated Japan's cultural productions in the first twenty-five years of the postwar period. Japanese war experiences were often described through narrative devices that downplayed the war's disruptive effects on Japan's history. Rather than treat these narratives as obstacles to historical inquiry, Igarashi reads them along with counter-narratives that attempted to register the original impact of the war. He traces the tensions between remembering and forgetting by focusing on the body as the central site for Japan's production of the past. This approach leads to fascinating discussions of such diverse topics as the use of the atomic bomb, hygiene policies under the U.S. occupation, the monstrous body of Godzilla, the first Western professional wrestling matches in Japan, the transformation of Tokyo and the athletic body for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and the writer Yukio Mishima's dramatic suicide, while providing a fresh critical perspective on the war legacy of Japan.
Description : Through close readings grounded in the socio-historical context of each work, Ty studies how authors and filmmakers meet the gaze of the dominant culture and respond to the assumptions and meanings commonly associated with Orientalized, visible bodies. Ty does not survey Asian Canadian and Asian America literature, but presents readings of selected texts that actively engage with issues of otherness, visibility, and identification. Many of them, she says, are in the process of working out how larger issues of representation, power, and history affect Asian North American subjectivity. Parts of the work have been published previously.
Description : Many on the left lament an apathy or amnesia toward recent acts of war. Particularly during the George W. Bush administration's invasion of Iraq, opposition to war seemed to lack the heat and potency of the 1960s and 1970s, giving the impression that passionate dissent was all but dead. Through an analysis of three politically engaged works of art, Rosalyn Deutsche argues against this melancholic attitude, confirming the power of contemporary art to criticize subjectivity as well as war. Deutsche selects three videos centered on the deployment of the atomic bomb: Krzysztof Wodiczko's Hiroshima Projection (1999), made after the first Gulf War; Silvia Kolbowski's After Hiroshima mon amour (2005-2008); and Leslie Thornton's Let Me Count the Ways (2004-2008), which followed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Each of these works confronts the ethical task of addressing historical disaster, and each explores the intersection of past and present wars. These artworks profoundly contribute to the discourse of war resistance, illuminating the complex dynamics of viewing and interpretation. Deutsche employs feminist and psychoanalytic approaches in her study, questioning both the role of totalizing images in the production of warlike subjects and the fantasies that perpetuate, especially among the left, traditional notions of political dissent. She ultimately reveals the passive collusion between leftist critique and dominant discourse in which personal dimensions of war are denied.