Commemoration and Memorialization

Our nations and communities invest significantly in commemorating and memorializing the tragic events of our past. We hold events to mark anniversaries and erect physical monuments in our cities' most prominent locations. Why does honoring the past play such a great role our present, and how does this remembrance affect us?

Victims "Just Like Us"...

We live in an era that memorializes like none before and seek to create memorials that allow visitors to identify with victims of tragedy. But in portraying victims as just like us, are we paying enough heed to the political and cultural factors that led them to be victims to begin with?

Greeks in Glass Houses...

Given his focus on the atrocities of Germany’s past, Alexis Tsipras would do well to consider Greece’s own anti-Semitic history. After all, atoning for the past begins in one’s own backyard.

Unnecessary Scale...

Present-day memorials have taken on dimensions like never before. They occupy considerable amounts of public space and serve a pedagogic mission. Yet, this focus on shared experiences and public education has betrayed memorials’ primary function: contemplative, private reflection.

Europe is Not a Museum...

The “memory boom” has left Europe littered with monuments, so much so that when we’re not actively protesting them, we look right past them.

Rewriting History at t...

The Yasukuni Shrine memorializes Japan’s war dead, including WWII-era war criminals. For this reason, it has always been a controversial memory site. A much greater problem than the shrine itself, however, is the revisionist museum attached to it.

From Darkness to Light...

Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and Japan’s Hiroshima Peace Park are surprisingly similar, both in the message they deliver and the architectural means through which they do so. They portray a clear narrative of progression from darkness to light. But history is more complicated than that

Are Monuments Overrate...

We expect a lot from our monuments. They are supposed to provide psychological healing to individuals and nations, reconcile divided societies, and preserve some of our most important memories for the future. In reality, memorials fall short of these expectations. Instead, we must do our memory work

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Most People Are Rationally Ignorant

What decisions would we make if we deliberated carefully about public policy? Alexander Görlach sat down with Stanford's James Fishkin to discuss deliberative democracy, parliamentary discontent, and the future of the two-party system.

A Violent Tea Party?

For many Europeans the massacre in Arizona is another evidence that political violence is spreading in the United States but this unfortunate event was the deed of a mentally ill person, not a political activist. There is no evidence of an increasing political extremism tearing America apart. Using

Passage to India

The US and Russia don't agree on much - but they are both keen to develop a good relationship with India. How do we know? Look at the arms trade.

"Cities are making us more human"

More than 50 percent of the world's population now live in cities – and there is no end of urbanization in sight. Harvard economist Edward Glaeser believes urbanization to be a solution to many unanswered problems: pollution, depression and a lack of creativity. He spoke with Lars Mensel about the

No Glove, No Love

Contrary to the mantras repeated by the press, HIV infections are not increasing. We need to move away from activist scare tactics and towards complex risk management strategies.

Perfection Is Not A Useful Concept

Nick Bostrom directs the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. He talked with Martin Eiermann about existential risks, genetic enhancements and the importance of ethical discourses about technological progress.

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