HISTORY 220: WAR, MEMORY, MYTH AND HISTORY


North Island College Winter 2018

Meeting Time: M-W: 1:00 - 2:20 pm

Meeting PlaceTyee 113

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office: Village G6

Office Hours:  Wed. 11:30 am - 12:30 pm; Thurs. 1:00 am - 2:00 pm (or by appointment)

Office Phone:  334-5000, Extension 4024

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 way 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).

David Macfarlane, Danger Tree  (Toronto: Harper Perennial Canada, 2014).

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

Bryan Doerries, Theater Of War: What Ancient Tragedies Can Teach Us Today (New York: Vintage, 2016).


Tentative Class Schedule

Wednesday, January 3

a)  Course Introduction

b)  Video:  "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 , January 8

a)  War And Memory Mini-Posters

b)  Diplomacy Role Play

c)  [If Time]  Mini-Lecture:  Collective Memory And Social Theory

Preparing For The Class:

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

Wednesday , January 10 -- 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)  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?

ii)  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.

iii)  Write a Journal entry about September 11th and War Memory.  It can draw from the materials in the Discussion Topic or address one or more of the following questions:  How should September 11, 2001 be memorialized, and why?  What, if anything, do you remember about September 11  and how has your understanding of that day changed?

iv)  Read the Paul Fussell article (and Walzer's response as well)


Monday, January 15

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

Wednesday, January 17

a)  Video:  "Grave Of The Fireflies" (1988) [89 mins.]


Monday, January 22

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

Wednesday, January 24

a)  Finish Student Mini-Presentations: Japan and World War II Memory

b)  Introduce Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier Mini-Project

c)  Video Clip "Aftermath"


Monday, January 29

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.

Optional Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Confederate Flag In The News

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Confederate Monuments In The News

Wednesday, January 31

a)  Discussion:  Iconic War Photos

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

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Iconic War Photos


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

Monday, February 5

a)  Introduce War And Family Memory

b)  Lecture: The United States And Victory Culture

Wednesday, February 7

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


February 12-16:  Reading Break  (***First Half Journal Due Friday, February 16)


Monday, February 19

a)  Course Check-In

b)  Introduce  Sites Of War Memory Assignment

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

Wednesday, February 21

a)  Discussion Topic:  World War I At 100

b)  Discussion: Armenia and World War I

c)  [If Time] Chinese Labour Corps

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: World War I At 100

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Armenia And World War I


Otto Dix, "Flanders"

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

Monday, February 26

a)  Discussion:  Danger Tree

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

c)  Discussion: Australia and World War I

Reading Assignment:

David Macfarlane, Danger Tree

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Australia And World War I

Wednesday, February 28

a)  Discussion Topic:  Vimy In Myth And Memory

b)  Lecture:  In Flanders Fields -- Canada And World War Memory

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Vimy In Myth And Memory


Monday, March 5

a)  Video:  "Rape Of Europa" (2008) [120 mins.]

Wednesday, March 7

a)  Start Lecture: The Holocaust And The Limits Of Representation

Reading Assignment:

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

Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem


Monday, March 12

a)  Discussion: Poland And World War II

b)  Discussion: Auschwitz In The News

c)  Finish Lecture: The Holocaust And The Limits Of Representation

Reading Assignment:

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

Browse extensively in Auschwitz In The News

Wednesday, March 14

a)  Discussion:  Spiegelman, Complete Maus

b)  Sites Of War Memory Workshop

c)  Start Video:  "Waltz With Bashir" (2008) [90 mins.]

Reading Assignment:

Art Spiegelman, Complete Maus


Monday, March 19

a)  Finish Video:  "Waltz With Bashir" (2008) [90 mins.]

Wednesday, March 21

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


Monday, March 26

a)  Student Mini-Presentations:  Sites Of War Memory

Wednesday, March 28

a)  Student Mini-Presentations:  Sites Of War Memory

***Sites Of War Memory Assignment Due


Monday, April 2

No Class:  Easter Monday

Wednesday, April 4

a)  Student Mini-Presentations: War And Family Memory

b Discussion:  Doerries, Theater Of War

Reading Assignment:

Bryan Doerries, Theater Of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today

 

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


***Second Half Journal Due By Friday, April 13


Assignments And Evaluation

First Half  Journal 35%
Second Half Journal 25%
Sites Of War Memory 20%
Class Participation 20%

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


The Journal (60%):

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 just before Reading Break.  This installment will count for 35% of the course grade.  The journal will then again be due at the end of the semester.  This installment will count for 30% of the course grade.

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.

The entries will, no doubt, vary in format, length and quality.  Do not hesitate to take risks and to express your own opinions.  It's fine if some entries read more like summary than analysis.  It can be useful to put what you have learned from an article or a video into your own words.  Try, however, not to succumb to the temptation to write in an easy, stream-of-consciousness style.  There is no inherent tension between analytical rigour and personal insight.

A list of recommended entries is included below and on the Journal page of the course web-site.  But I do challenge you to ask yourself throughout the semester how you best can use the Journal requirement as a way of fostering your own learning.

The excellent journal will:

¨      be at least 25 pages long.

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

¨      include a Danger Tree Reading Response (2+ pages).

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

¨      include a Theater Of War 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.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, (Seville) Spain, 1933

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


Sites Of War Memory Assignment (20%):

You will research the history of various monuments, memorials, battlefields and other symbolic war memory sites as way to compare how different groups have remembered, commemorated, and reinterpreted the meanings of war.  This assignment will be due on March 19 in connection with informal in-class student mini-presentations.


Class Participation (20%):

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.  Any students who have poor attendance and/or are consistently unprepared 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 a good-faith 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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