Contested Places, Contested Pasts: Race, Place and the Politics of Memory in Contemporary Budapest
Professor and Department Head, Department of Geography, University of Connecticut
The focus of my presentation is the way sites of the Holocaust, racial oppression, and political violence have been memorialized in Budapest's cityscape. Some sites have developed into major memorials, while others remain almost invisible. My interest is exploring the public, often highly political debates surrounding these sites and why they have been treated so differently. In part the debates revolve around race, violence and political repression, but they also raise even larger issues about how many events of the twentieth century are remembered and commemorated, from the First World War through the fall of communism in 1989 and beyond. The complexities of memory and meaning are particularly acute in nations like Hungary with complex political histories that spill across national borders.
Much of my research focuses on how events of violence and tragedy are marked (or not marked) in landscape. Debate over commemoration is often highly contentious and can expose deep divides within society over how to interpret and represent the past. My book Shadowed Ground made a major contribution to this area of research. I am also very interested in the development of national commemorative traditions in the U.S. and Europe, racialized landscapes, the commemoration of African-American, Chinese-American, Japanese-American and Jewish-American historical sites, heritage tourism, and historical GIS. [Sourcehttp://foote.geography.uconn.edu/]
This City Talk was co-sponsored by the European Union Centre of Excellence at the University of Victoria.