HISTORY 220: WAR, MEMORY, MYTH AND HISTORY


North Island College Fall 2015

Meeting Time: M-W: 11:30 am - 12:50 pm

Meeting PlaceDiscovery 203

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office: Village G6

Office Hours:  Tues. 10:00 am - 11:20 am, and Thurs. 1:00 - 2:20 pm (or by appointment)

Office Phone:  334-5000, Extension 4024

Home Phone250-336-0238 

Web- Site for Course:  http://www.misterdann.com/contentswarmemory.htm

E-Mail: dan.hinmansmith@nic.bc.ca

Pablo Picasso, "Weeping Woman" (1937)

Leon Trotsky: "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."


Course Description

"Since wars begin in the minds of men," reads the UNESCO charter, "it is in the minds of men that we have to erect the ramparts of peace."  This course explores how humans have struggled to understand, memorialize, and learn from war.  Although the course uses a comparative thematic approach, there is a heavy emphasis upon twentieth-century wars, since this will both provide a focus and allow us to probe the politicized relationship between lived memory and history.  "War," notes the journalist Chris Hedges, "is a force that gives us meaning."  War and Memory aims to use monuments, memorials, museums, myths, paintings, photographs, weapons, flags, cartoons, family stories, novels and movies as sources for thinking about the war in which war is remembered and defined.

Amy Tan:  "Memory feeds imagination."


Texts

Tim O’Brien, Things They Carried (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).

Art Spiegelman, Complete Maus (New York: Pantheon, 1997).

Gwynne Dyer, Canada In The Great Power Game, 1914-2014 (Toronto: Random House Canada, 2014).


Tentative Class Schedule

Wednesday, September 9

a)  Course Introduction

b)  Possible Video Clip:  "Aftermath: The Remnants Of War" (2001, NFB) [74 mins.]

c)  Hand out Bernard Gotfryd, "On Memory" (from Anton the Dove Fancier and Other Tales From the Holocaust, 1992)

Walt Whitman:  "Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background . . . and it is best they should not. The real war will never get in the books."


Monday , September 14

a)  War And Memory Mini-Posters

b)  Diplomacy Role Play

Preparing For The Class:

i)  Complete a small poster for display in the classroom that includes a quotation about war and/or memory.

i)  Write your Student Introduction: Who are you?  Where are you from?  What are your interests?  Why are you taking this course?  What are your thoughts on entering the course about the relationship between war, memory, myth and history?  Do you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions as we start the course?

Wednesday , September 16 -- WHOSE GROUND ZERO?: THE UNITED STATES, JAPAN AND WAR MEMORY

aIntroduce Japan and World War II Memory Mini-Project

b)  Shadows of the Twin Towers: Discussion of 9/11 Memorial designs, memories and commemoration.

c)  Discussion:  "Thank God for the Atom Bomb"

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in the Remembering September 11th Discussion Topic

Paul Fussell and Michael Walzer, “’Thank God For the Atom Bomb,’” and “An Exchange On Hiroshima,” New Republic (August-September 1981).

Preparing For The Class:

i)  Browse extensively in the Remembering September 11th Discussion Topic and pay some attention to the commemoration ceremonies.  Think about issues associated with the memorialization of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

ii)  Complete your own design for a memorial to the victims of the World Trade Center attack.  Include a rudimentary architect's sketch and come prepared to explain your ideas.  Write an accompanying 1 or 2-page journal entry that addresses the following questions:  How should September 11, 2001 be memorialized, and why?  What do you remember about September 11  and how has your understanding of that day changed?

iii)  Read the Paul Fussell article.

*I recommend that you write at least one Journal entry about September 11th and War Memory.  I expect you to devote at least one hour to this topic but you do not need to complete all the items listed in i) and ii) above.  The memorial design exercise and the commentary upon your own September 11th memories are both optional.


Monday, September 21

a)  Lecture:  Memories of Fire -- Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Wednesday, September 23

aStudent Mini-Presentations: Japan and World War II Memory

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Japan And World War II Memory

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Yasukuni Shrine


Monday, September 28

a)  Introduce Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier Mini-Project

b)  Lecture: The United States And Victory Culture

Wednesday, September 30

a)  Video: "Remember My Lai" or "Fog Of War"

Lewis Carroll:  "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward."


Monday, October 5

a)  Discussion: Tim O'Brien, Things They Carried

b)  "You Wear Your X and I'll Wear Mine": The Confederate Flag and the Burdens of History

Reading Assignment:

Tim O'Brien, Things They Carried

Tony Horwitz, “A Death For Dixie,” New Yorker (March 18, 1996): 64-77.

Wednesday, October 7

a)  Introduce War And Family Memory Mini-Project

bVideo: "Masterworks -- The Third of May" [50 minutes]


Monday, October 12

No Class:  Thanksgiving

Wednesday, October 14

a)  Student Mini-Presentations: Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier


Monday, October 19

a)  Discussion Topic:  Christmas Truce

b)  Video:  “War Without End,” Episode 8 of The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century (1996).  [40 minutes]

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Christmas Truce

Wednesday, October 21

a)  Song: "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda"

b)  Discussion: Australia and World War I

c)  Discussion: Armenia and World War I

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Australia And World War I

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Armenia And World War I

***First Half Journal Due

Otto Dix, "Flanders"

Pablo Picasso:  "Painting is not done to decorate apartments.  It is an instrument of war." [1944]


Monday, October 26

a)  Lecture: For Whom The Bell Tolls -- The Spanish Civil War And Historical Memory

Optional Reading Assignment:

Browse in Discussion Topic: Spanish Civil War And Historical Memory

Wednesday, October 28

a)  Video: "Rape Of Europa" (2008) [120 mins] or "Hitler's Children" [83 mins]


Monday, November 2

a)  Discussion:  Art Spiegelman, Complete Maus

b)  Discussion: Gourevitch

c)  Introduce Sites Of War Memory Assignment

Reading Assignment:

Art Spiegelman, Complete Maus

Philip Gourevitch, "Behold Now Behemoth: The Holocaust Memorial Museum -- One More American Theme Park," Harper's, 287 (July 1993): 55-62.

Wednesday, November 4

a)  Lecture: The Holocaust And The Limits Of Representation

Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem


Monday, November 9

a)  Student Mini-Presentations: War And Family Memory

Wednesday, November 11

No Class:  Remembrance Day


Monday, November 16

a)  Discussion:  Iconic War Photos

b)  Mini-Lecture:  Collective Memory And Social Theory

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Iconic War Photos

Wednesday, November 18

a)  Sites Of War Memory Workshop

b)  Video: "Francisco Goya -- The Third Of May 1808" (2005, 55 mins.) [Private Life Of A Masterpiece Series]


Monday, November 23

a)  Discussion:  Rwanda 20 Years Later

b)  Discussion:  Srebrenica 20 Years Later

c)  [If Time]  Finish Holocaust And The Limits Of Representation Lecture

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Rwanda 20 Years Later

Browse extensively in Srebrenica 20 Years Later

Wednesday, November 25

a)  Lecture: O Sing Of The Wrath Of Achilles -- Ancient Greece And War Memory


Monday, November 30

a)  Discussion:  Gwynne Dyer, Canada In The Great Power Game, 1914-2014

b)  Sites Of War Memory Workshop

Reading Assignment:

Gwynne Dyer, Canada In The Great Power Game, 1914-2014

Wednesday, December 2

a)  Discussion:  We Stand On Guard -- Canada And War Memory

b)  Video:  "Je Me Souviens:  A License To Remember"

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in We Stand On Guard -- Canada And War Memory


Monday, December 7

a)  Students Mini-Presentations:  Sites Of War Memory

Wednesday, December 9

a)  Students Mini-Presentations:  Sites Of War Memory

b)  Course Wrap-Up

Martin Tupper:  "Memory is not wisdom; idiots can by rote repeat volumes.  Yet what is wisdom without memory?"


  **Second Half Journal Due Monday, December 14 (I will happily accept journals through Friday, December 18, but may not have time to write comments upon these late submissions)


Assignments And Evaluation

First-Half Journal                       25%

Second-Half Journal                 25%

Overall Journal                           25%  (Not an extra assignment and typically just the average of the First-Half and Second-Half Journals)             

Class Participation                    25%

Milan Kundera:  "The struggle against power is the struggle of memory over forgetting."


The Journal:

The student journal is the main assignment in this class.  The purpose of the journal is to provide you the opportunity for frequent thoughtful, analytical and personal commentary upon course-related material.  The advantages of the journal, to my mind, are that it breaks work down into regular and manageable chunks, and that it enables you to seize hold of the curriculum in a way which reflects your own interests and style.

The journal will be graded in two installments.  It will be due at the mid-point of the semester.  This installment will count for 25% of the course grade.  The journal will then again be due at the end of the semester.  This installment will include both a 25% grade for the second installment and a 25% grade for the journal in its entirety (most likely an average of the first and second installment grades).

The journal is premised upon the assumption that you will not just be regularly reflecting upon the course material but regularly writing about it as well as part of that reflective practice.  I recommend that you write at least one journal entry per week.  Each journal installment thus might include 7+ entries.  The individual entries can vary in style, format and length.  The Sites of War Memory assignment will not be graded separately but will become be a substantial component in the second-half journal.

 In order to give you a basic structure and to clearly communicate my expectations, I will specify certain mandated entries.  However, you are encouraged to be imaginative in your probing of the complex connections between War, Memory, Myth and History.  Part of the logic of the Journal is that it provides you with some space to pursue topics of particular interest.

The excellent journal will:

¨      be at least 35 pages long.

¨      substantial Sites of War Memory component (8+ pages).

¨      include a Things They Carried Reading Response (2+ pages).

¨      include a Maus Reading Response (2+ pages).

¨      include a Canada In The Great Power Game Reading Response (2+ pages).

¨   include the Letter of Introduction; the September 11, 2001 Memorial and/or commentary; the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier mini-project; the Japan and World War II mini-project; the War and Family Memory mini-project; and the Reflections on War and Memory thought-piece.

¨      include at least 2 Discussion Topic commentaries.

¨      include at least 1 reading response to assigned articles.

¨      demonstrate to the instructor that you are approaching the readings and the course with care and effort.

The above list of entries is meant as a firm guide rather than as an absolutely-everything-here must be completed.  The embedded tension within the assignment between structure and flexibility is deliberate.  Talk to me if you want to make some significant individual adjustments.  Do not hesitate to take risks and to express your own opinions.  Do think critically, though try not to succumb to the temptation to always write easy, stream-of-consciousness entries.  This is an assignment designed to encourage and to reward extensive student effort and learning.  The work-load is heavy but my expectation is that a good-faith approach to the course will lead to strong success.  You can include print-outs from the internet in the journal or quote passages but are expected, of course, to identify that which is not your own original work.  Formal footnoting is not required but plagiarized/cut-and-pasted material will likely lead to a failing grade for the course.  Likewise, you should not recycle any writings from other classes.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, (Seville) Spain, 1933

Helen Keller:  "I do not want the peace that passeth understanding.  I want the understanding that bringeth peace."


Class Participation:

Class discussion will be an important part of the course.  Lectures will be mixed with regular conversations about readings, videos and other curricular materials.  What other students get out of HIS 220 will be significantly influenced by the efforts you put into mini-presentations and other course preparation.

The class participation grade will be based upon attendance (I take attendance but only to make distinctions between those who attend very faithfully, regularly, and irregularly); the willingness to contribute thoughtfully to discussion and to listen carefully to fellow students; preparation for mini-presentations; and confirmation in the journal that one has kept up with the readings/research.

Grading in Humanities classes is always arbitrary.  In the case of class participation, these distinctions become all the more difficult to make.  In this course, those students who stand out through consistent contribution to full-class and small-group discussion will be rewarded with a top participation grade.  Those students in the middle who attend regularly but who, for whatever reason, do not get a chance to shine in class, will be graded on their written work alone (the 75% being pro-rated up to 100%).  Any students who have poor attendance and/or offer little evidence of being consistently prepared for mini-presentations will receive a low grade for this one important component of the course.

In other words, as long as you are involved in the course and making an attempt to add to the learning of your classmates, the participation grade can only help you and will in no circumstances be used to lower your overall grade.


W.H. Auden:  "To save your world you asked this man to die.  Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?"

 


 

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