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Memorializing Racial Trauma: What Americans Can Learn From the Germans
Join the Memory Project of the University of Virginia’s Democracy Initiative for its virtual launch event featuring a discussion with Susan Neiman, author of Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil, moderated by Washington Post columnist Michele Norris. Jalane Schmidt, director of The Memory Project and religious studies professor, will give introductory remarks that frame the conversation. Audience questions will be welcomed.

Have you ever noticed that the Germans have no monuments to the Third Reich, while the United States has monuments to the defenders of slavery and perpetrators of genocide? This talk will explain why this is so, and how Americans can do better. The discussion will explore the ways in which post-war Germans’ strategies for the redress of trauma and memorialization were aligned with the aim of revitalizing democracy and repairing democratic culture. In recent years, the United States has been roiled by debates on what to do with monumental landscapes that commemorate various forms of white supremacy and racial hierarchies. Are there lessons that Americans can learn from the Germans?

Apr 14, 2021 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Susan Neiman
Susan Neiman was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and studied philosophy at Harvard and the Freie Universität Berlin. She was a professor of philosophy at Yale and Tel Aviv universities before becoming director of the Einstein Forum, a German interdisciplinary public think tank, in 2000. She is the author of eight books, most recently "Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil." Neiman is the mother of three grown children, and lives in Berlin.
Michele Norris
An award-winning journalist and one of the most recognized voices in radio, Michele Norris engages audiences in candid discussion about race, culture and communication in America. From the radio airwaves of NPR and primetime television to leading news publications such as "The Washington Post," Norris is one of the most trusted voices in American journalism. Throughout Norris’ accomplished career, her efforts to promote conversation about race have resulted in her critically acclaimed book, "The Grace of Silence: A Memoir." She received accolades for a Peabody Award-winning initiative, “The Race Card Project,” which fosters conversation among individuals about their differences.
Jalane Schmidt
Jalane Schmidt is Director of the UVA Democracy Initiative’s Memory Project, and Associate Professor of Religious Studies. She teaches courses on race, religion, and social change movements, and is the author of "Cachita’s Streets: The Virgin of Charity, Race & Revolution in Cuba," a study of Cuban national identity, religion, and public events. A scholar-activist in Charlottesville, Virginia, Schmidt plans and leads public history events focused upon Civil War memory, Jim Crow, and local African American history. She cofounded the 2019-2020 Monumental Justice Virginia campaign which successfully lobbied the Virginia General Assembly to overturn a century-old state law which had prohibited localities from removing Confederate statues.