HISTORY 220: WAR, MEMORY, MYTH AND HISTORY


North Island College Winter 2021

Delivery Format: Digital Learning Unscheduled (We will not meet as a group via videoconferencing.  You will be expected to spend an average of 5+ hours a week on the course yourself.)

Dates:  January 11 - April 11

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office Phone:  334-5000, Extension 4024

Web- Site for Course:  https://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: Mariner, 2009).

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

David Rieff, In Praise Of Forgetting: Historical Memory And Its Ironies (New Haven: Yale, 2016).


Tentative Class Schedule

Prelude

Listening And Viewing

"Aftermath: The Remnants Of War," NFB, 2001.  [57mins.]

Week 1  (January 11-17):  Whose Ground Zero? (I): The United States, Japan And War Memory

Orientation Week 1


Letter Of Introduction

Write a short letter of introduction.  Who are you?  Where are you from?  What are you interests?  Why are you taking this course?  What are your thoughts on entering the course about the relationships between war, memory, myth and history?  Do you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions as we start the course?  E-mail me this introduction -- it will then become your first Journal entry of the new semester.  It can be from a few sentences to a couple of pages in length.  You are welcome to share your letter of introduction with your classmates on the Discussion Forum if you would like to do that.


Discussion Forum Contributions

September 11, 2001 And Collective Memory

Thank God For The Atom Bomb

Pandemic Playhouse:  Aftermath -- The Remnants Of War


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).

Adam Gopnik, "Stones And Bones: Visiting The 9/11 Memorial And Museum," New Yorker (June 30, 2014).


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."


Week 2  (January 18-24): Whose Ground Zero (II)

Orientation For Week 2


Discussion Forum Contributions

Japan and World War II Memory

Pandemic Playhouse:  Horror In The East


Reading Assignment

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

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Hiroshima At 75


Optional Extras

"Turning Against The West," Episode 1, Horror In The East, BBC, 2000.  [47]

"Death Before Surrender," Episode 2, Horror In The East, BBC, 2000 [47 mins.]The second half of this superb documentary about the War in the Pacific is particularly intense.  Viewer discretion is recommended.

"White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki," HBO, 2007.  [85 mins.]


Powerpoint Presentation

Whose Ground Zero?: Hiroshima And Historical Memory

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Yasukuni Shrine


Week 3  (January 25-31):  Iconic Photos And Iconic Art

Orientation For Week 3


Discussion Forum Contributions

Iconic Photos

Pandemic Playhouse:  The Third Of May


Reading Assignment

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Iconic War Photos

Jordan G. Teicher, "Is War Photography Beautiful Or Damned?," New Republic (November 19, 2015).


Listening And Viewing

"Francisco Goya: The Third Of May 1808," Private Life Of A Masterpiece, BBC, 2004.  [48 mins.]


Looking Ahead


Week 4  (February 1-7):  Things They Carried

 Orientation For Week 4


Discussion Forum Contributions

Things They Carried

Pandemic Playhouse:  The Fog Of War


Reading Assignment

Tim O'Brien, Things They Carried.  New York: Mariner, 2009.


Listening And Viewing

"The Fog Of War" (Sony Pictures, 107 minutes, 2003):  This documentary focuses on the life and thoughts of Robert McNamara, a controversial American Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War.  It links World War II, the Cold War and the Vietnam War, and should help to set up the Things They Carried.


Optional Extras

"Heaven And Earth: Le Ly Hayslip," Documentary, BBC World Service, February 4, 2015.  [28 mins.]

"Amerasians -- Children Of The Dust," Documentary, BBC World Service, August 23, 2015.  [28 mins.]


Looking Ahead


Week 5  (February 8-14):  Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier

Orientation For Week 5


Discussion Forum Contributions

Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier


Mini-Assignment

Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier


***Wednesday, February 10, Things They Carried Mini-Essay Due

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


***Family Day And Reading Break, February 15-21

*** Wednesday, February 17, Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier Powerpoint Due


Week 6  (February 22-28):  In Flanders Fields Where Poppies Grow

Orientation For Week 6


Discussion Forum Contributions

Gavrilo Princip, Franz Ferdinand, And Gallipoli

Pandemic Playhouse: War Without End or Long Shadow


Reading Assignment

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Gavrilo Princip And Franz Ferdinand In Myth And Memory

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Gallipoli And World War I


Listening And Viewing

"War Without End," Episode 8, Great War And The Shaping Of The 20th Century, PBS, 1996.  [55 mins.]


Optional Extras

Long Shadow, BBC, 2014:

Episode 1, Remembering And Understanding:  Watch through Films On Demand in the NIC Library Database of through a Public Access Website.

Episode 2, Ballots And Bullets:  Watch through Films On Demand in the NIC Library Database of through a Public Access Website.

Episode 3, Us And Them:  Watch through Films On Demand in the NIC Library Database of through a Public Access Website.

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: The Great War At 100

Patrick Sauer, "The Most Loved And Hated Novel About World War I," Smithsonian (June 16, 2015).

Verdun -- The Sacred Wound, BBC Radio 4, February 2016:

Episode 1, "The Battle"

Episode 2, "Loss And Legacy"


***Monday, March 1:  Journal-In-Progress Due (This check-in is ungraded but compulsory.  Failure to submit your Journal-In-Progress this week may lead to a lowering of your Journal grade later in the semester)

Otto Dix, "Flanders"

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


Week 7  (March 1-7):  Complete Maus

Orientation For Week 7


Discussion Forum

Maus

Pandemic Playhouse: The Last Survivors


Reading Assignment

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


Listening And Viewing

"The Last Survivors," Frontline, PBS, 2019.  [55 mins.]


Optional Extras

Browse in Discussion Topic: Auschwitz At 75

"Scars Of The Second Generation," Part 5, Lost Innocence, Ideas, CBC, November 6, 2014 [54 mins.]:  This programme, which originally aired in 1989, interviews six people, three of whom are the children of Holocaust survivors and three of whom are the children of German Nazis.


Looking Ahead

Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem


Week 8  (March 8-14):  Who, After All, Speaks Today Of The Annihilation Of The Armenians?

Orientation For Week 8


Discussion Forum Contributions

Armenia, Rwanda And Comparative Genocide


Reading Assignment

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Armenia And World War I

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: Remembering Rwanda

Kenneth Miller, "Are They Forgivable?: In A National Act Of Redemption, Rwanda Aims To Embrace 30,000 Perpetrators Of Mass Ethnic Slaughter Now Returning Home," Aeon (December 7, 2015).


Powerpoint Mini-Presentation

Armenian Genocide And Collective Memory


Listening And Viewing

"Rwanda -- The Long Road To Reconciliation," Close Up, DW, May 25, 2020.  [29 mins.]

"Living With Memory In Rwanda," Sunday Feature, BBC Radio 3, September 12, 2014.  [45 mins.]


Optional Extras

"Remembering The Armenian Massacres," BBC Persian, April 23, 2019.  (41 mins.)

"Rwanda: From Hatred To Reconciliation," Al Jazeera World, September 29, 2015.  [48 mins.]

"Ghosts Of Rwanda," Frontline, PBS, February 17, 2014.  [116 mins.]


Week 9  (March 15-21):  War And The Birth Of Nations

Orientation Week 9


Discussion Forum Contributions

War And The Birth Of Nations


Reading Assignment

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: War And The Birth Of A Nation (1) -- Bangladesh As A Case Study

Browse extensively in Discussion Topic: War And The Birth Of A Nation (2) -- Vimy Ridge In Myth And Memory


Listening And Viewing

"A License To Remember: Je Me Souviens," NFB, 2003.  [51 mins.]  If you click on the video, it should start free of charge.  If you experience issues here, I do not expect you to rent the film.


Optional Extras

"How The Battle Of Beaumont-Hamel Devastated Newfoundland," Sunday Magazine, CBC, June 17, 2016.  [33 mins.]

"The Road To Nowhere: Yugoslavia," Blood And Belonging, 1993.  [50 mins.]


Week 10  (March 22-28):  In Praise Of Forgetting

Orientation For Week 10


Discussion Forum Contributions

In Praise Of Forgetting


Reading Assignment

David Rieff, In Praise Of Forgetting: Historical Memory And Its Ironies.  New Haven: Yale, 2016.


*** Sunday, March 28, Maus or In Praise Of Forgetting Mini-Essay Due  (Students can write their second mini-essay on either Maus or In Praise Of Forgetting)


Week 11  (March 26-April 4):  Germany -- Justice And Memory

Orientation For Week 11


Discussion Forum Contributions

Sites Of War Memory Workshop

Pandemic Playhouse: Rape Of Europa


Reading Assignment

Heather Souvaine Horn, "Facing Up To The Past, German-Style," New Republic (October 31, 2019).


Listening And Viewing

"Germany: Justice And Memory," Documentary, BBC World Service, January 15, 2020.  [53 mins.]


Optional Extras

"Rape Of Europa: The Systematic Theft And Destruction Of Europe's Art Treasures," 2008 [116 mins.]:  You will need a Vancouver Island Regional Library Card to watch this excellent documentary via Kanopy streaming services. The VIRL has many useful services that nicely complement those offered by the North Island College Library and Learning Commons.  This documentary may also be available on Prime.

"How Southern Societies Rewrote Civil War History," Vox, October 25, 2017.  [7 mins.]

"How The 'Lost Cause' Narrative Became American History," Washington Post, March 5, 2020.  [8 mins.]


***Friday, April 2:  Journal Due


Week 12  (April 5-11):  Sites Of War Memory

Orientation For Week 12


Discussion Forum Contributions

Sites Of War Memory


Assignment

Complete your Sites of War Memory Assignment.

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


***Sunday, April 11:  Sites Of War Memory Assignment Due


Assignments And Evaluation

Letter Of Introduction

1%

Things They Carried Mini-Essay

10%

Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier PPT

9%

Second Mini-Essay (Your choice of Maus or In Praise Of Forgetting)

10%

Journal

35%

Sites Of War Memory

20%

Discussion Forum Contributions

15%

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


Letter Of Introduction (1%)

Write a short letter of introduction to me at the beginning of the semester.  This should be at least one hundred words in length and is designed to give me a beginning idea of who you are and how I might best serve you as a teacher, and to provide me with an opening snapshot of the class as a whole. You need not use the following questions as direct cues but they may be helpful.  Who are you?  Where are you from?  How might you begin to describe your community and what life is like there if you've come to NIC from far away?  What are your interests?  Why are you taking this course?  What are your thoughts and reflections on entering the course about the relationships between war, memory, myth and history?  Do you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions?  Submit your Letter of Introduction and Reflections to me through the Blackboard Learn site ( https://learn.nic.bc.ca).  This submission then can become your first Journal entry of the new semester and can be paired with your Reflections entry that you will write at the end of the course.  I ask for letters of introduction from students in each of my classes.  If you are enrolled in more than one class with me this semester, a single letter of introduction will suffice, though you should include opening reflections upon War and Memory and should also say something about each of the classes in which you are enrolled with me as your instructor.  If you have taken a class with me before, please update what you sent me before and send me a new letter of introduction. 


Things They Carried Mini-Essay (10%)

This assignment will be your written analysis (approximately 3 double-spaced pages in length) of Tim O'Brien's novel about the Vietnam War.


Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier Powerpoint (9%)

You will research one country's national Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument and produce a Powerpoint presentation that combines images and texts to tell the history of that monument.  You will submit the assignment both to be graded and to share with your classmates.


Second Mini-Essay (10%)

You will write a second reading response (approximately 3 double-spaced pages in length) on either Art Spiegelman's Maus or on Phillip Rieff's In Praise Of Forgetting: Historical Memory And Its Ironies.


Journal (35%):

The student Journal will be the most substantial assignment in this course.  It will represent your on-going engagement with the core class curriculum.  The focus of the Journal should be on analysis, interpretation, and commentary.  It should consist of a series of short writings of varying lengths about the course material.  I refer to these short writings as entries.  The purpose of the journal is to provide you with the opportunity for frequent thoughtful and analytical commentary upon course-related material.

I have provided you with two different options for the Journal: (1) The Regular Journal; or (2) The Note-Taking/Journal Combo.  These are described in detail on the Assignment Page of my web-site.  You should familiarize yourself with these two models and make a clear choice between the options at the beginning of the course.

This assignment is designed to be coordinated with the on-line Blackboard Discussion Forums.  It is fully appropriate to share commentary from your Journal with classmates in the relevant Discussion Topic Forums.

It is expected that you work regularly on the Journal throughout the semester, writing in it on a weekly basis.  You will only need to hand in the Journal to me twice, however.  You will submit your Journal-in-Progress to me through the Blackboard site not long after Reading Break Reading Break.  I want to check to ensure that you are making good progress on the assignment and that we share a mutual understanding as to the nature of the assignment.  This check-in is ungraded but mandatory.  Failure to submit your Journal-in-Progress at this time may lead to a lowering of your Journal grade later in the semester.  You will then submit your entire semester-long Journal to me through the Blackboard site much later in the course for an overall grade and evaluation.

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.  You will be encouraged to focus upon a chosen theme or themes and will be asked to share the results of your research with your fellow students.


Discussion Forum Contributions (15%)

The Discussion Forums are meant to facilitate the sharing of ideas and to engage you with your classmates.  You should try top offer commentary upon a weekly basis.  Evaluation will be based not just upon the number of contributions but rather more on the level of their thoughtfulness, with added appreciation for genuine engagement with fellow students.  Although there will be very considerable flexibility in regards to your contribution schedule, and while I will leave up discussion forums throughout the semester, those students who do not regularly and recurrently contribute to the forums will see this reflected in their grades and evaluation.  there are several feature videos that rest near the heart of the curriculum and it is expected that you will off a number of Discussion Forum Contributions based upon these documentaries.


A Note On Plagiarism

Everything that you hand in should be your original work unless otherwise indicated.  Violations of this policy may result in failing an assignment or the course in its entirety.  Please talk to me if you have any uncertainty  about what is permitted here.


Related Policy

Community Code of Academic, Personal and Professional Conduct (3-06)

Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy (3-34)

Evaluation of Student Performance Policy (3-33)

Student Complaint Resolution Policy (3-31)

Student Appeals Policy (3-30)

Instructional Accommodation and Access Services for Students with Disabilities (3-17)

Course Outline Policy (3-35)

Grading System (4-41)


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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