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Experiencing and exhibiting the past at museums, memorials and in digital environments

Facing a growing distance towards foundational historical events, the mediation of the past gains more and more importance. Museums and memorials serve as bridges to the past. Digital technology posed significant challenges as well as opportunities for commemorating and exhibiting the past. Although memory was always mediated, digitization offered new and unforeseen environments for preserving and exhibiting mnemonic objects. Accessibility increased beyond the physical access to archival collections. Documents, photographs, films and testimonies turned into data, which could be related to other data, thereby constituting a complex net of interlinked memories. Search engines invited users other than experts to explore past events, however, these search functions also offered new and interactive ways of using, interpreting and transforming records from the past. Social media networks rapidly became new memory ecologies, offering a space for sharing memory and adapting analogue forms of commemoration for new media environments.

This joint online course of the MA Program Public History at the Freie Universität Berlin and the MA Program Contemporary German Studies: Politics, Society and Culture introduces a variety of ‘memory ecologies’ that adopt various aesthetic, stylistic, textual, topographical, contextual, and commemorative elements.

This course is taught by Dr. Irmgard Zündorf (FU Berlin / ZZF Potsdam) and Dr. Tobias Ebbrecht-Hartmann (HUJI).