Current Issue Article Abstracts
2019 Vol. 9.1
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A Heritage of War, Conflict, and Commemoration
The introduction for the present issue of Change Over Time, this lead article discusses the five selected papers, providing a précis of each, and presents definitions for different types of war and conflict memorials. It then offers an overview of the history of memorialization, emphasizing the changing character of commemoration over time. Primary emphasis is on commemoration in the United States. The paper also touches upon related kinds of monuments, as well as presenting a summary of recent controversies over Civil War memorials and other forms of commemoration. A secondary emphasis is on the numbers and types of memorials and other markers and their distribution and how memorials are perceived over time. In addition to U.S. examples, Chapman discusses the commemoration of wars in Europe and elsewhere in the world, underscoring changing meaning and approaches. He also emphasizes shifting interpretations of commemorative sites and management issues pertaining to their maintenance and preservation.
This paper will focus on the Tunnel D-B in Sarajevo (aka Tunnel of Hope) –a rare example of war heritage that commemorates both human resilience and traumatic past. It has been 25years since its construction under gruesome circumstances during the siege of Sarajevo(1992 –1995). Today, decisions need to be made to preserve this unique heritage and continue the work of remembrance. A complex design project involving a memorial museum and an educational center is underway. This raises pertinent questions that are touching upon the very purpose of its existence and are, in fact, common to most sites commemorating difficult and traumatic histories. To address relevant topics, the paper discusses a) the notion of memorial architecture and current day design practices and approaches in commemorative projects on authentic sites, b) zooms into the specific context of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Tunnel D-B and, finally, c) explains the concept design that is planned for the site of the Tunnel D-B.
This paper focuses on the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor in 2016. War memorials are generally considered agents of national thanksgiving, but paying closer attention to more diverse perspectives makes it possible to see more complicated commemorative practices that generate alternative narratives of wars and nationalism. The paper discusses a speech Abe gave at the memorial and the coverage of his visit in major Japanese newspapers to explore the changing meaning of Pearl Harbor to the people in Japan. The speech and the coverage enabled a new Japanese narrative that re-contextualizes the meaning of the iconic "Remember Pearl Harbor" phrase from a vision of military confrontation in the past to a future political alliance between the two nations. The paper shows the malleability of the significance of war memorials while also demonstrating the powerful grip of nationalism and political agenda over them.
Surprisingly common in UK cities bombed during the Second World War—perhaps less so in other countries--are the ruins of bombed churches, empty sites, or markers indicating a church's former presence in the city. There are also numerous restored or rebuilt churches with signs narrating the church's history of damage. This paper explores the nature and extent of such commemorations of destruction, particularly at a time when churchgoing was in sharp decline. Churches are, in many ways, 'special buildings' in the physical and mental urban landscape: landmarks for all if not as places of worship. The investment of past societies in such special buildings, their scale, position, intricate detailing, as well as their cultural connections, all suggest why churches might become prominent and memorable memorials. But, three-quarters of a century after the Second World War, there is very limited evidence that the bombed churches remain effective or widely used as memorials. This paper uses examples from across England to explore why and how some bombed churches became war memorials, and their transition over time from memorial to mere memento.
Oradour-sur-Glane: French Identity Memorialized
This manuscript, "Oradour sur Glane: French Identity Memorialized," is a study of the commemoration of the village Oradour sur Glane that was destroyed by German forces in World War II. To this day, the ruins themselves remain evidence of the vicious attack that took place on October 8, 1944. Part of the story of the ruins includes the decision to use them for remembrance. The other part includes the considerations as to how to maintain them enough to stop them from completely disappearing over time. The preservation decisions involved both the co-operation and assistance of local, regional and state authorities. At the same time, the symbolic significance of these ruins, independent of their material condition, remains a continuing issue. From the very beginning, what the ruins meant to those who survived--and those who emphasized more national and even universal concerns--has been a source of political and now historical dispute.
The current European migrant crisis has illustrated historic preservation's limits in incorporating sites of transience. During 2016, the Greek government managed its surge of migrants by erecting 50 dispersed camps throughout the mainland. Built out of tents, trailers, squats and other ephemeral architectures, refugee and migrant settlements leave a light footprint on the landscape and are easily erased. By design, camps perform impermanence to a double audience, to the natives who do not want their guests to settle permanently and to the migrants who wish to return home or advance to more stable accommodations. Using the region of Thessaly as a case study, we track the processes of settlement during the course of one year and examine the intersection between a single displaced Syrian group and the sites of cultural heritage in which they were temporarily housed. They include medieval monuments, abandoned industrial buildings, bankrupt markets, and decommissioned army bases. By possessing no real estate value, the ruins into which the new camps were inserted facilitated a process of adoptive reuse.