Disturbing pasts

Memories, controversies and creativity

Edited by Leon Wainwright

Disturbing pasts

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1545-4
  • Pages: 280
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £65.00
  • Published Date: December 2017
  • BIC Category: Reference, information & interdisciplinary subjects / Museology & heritage studies, The arts / Theory of art, Society & social sciences / Anthropology, The arts / History of art / art & design styles, ART / History / General, ART / Criticism & Theory, Museology & heritage studies, History


This collection explores the creative responses of artists to the legacies of war, colonialism, genocide and oppression. Based on a major project of international collaboration supported by the European Science Foundation, it brings together professional art practices, art history and visual culture studies, social anthropology, literary studies, history, museology and cultural policy studies. Case studies are drawn from diverse contexts, including South Africa, Germany, Namibia, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Poland, Norway, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Australia. The results reveal a courageous and carefully examined global picture, with a variety of new approaches to confronting dominant historical narratives and shaping alternative interpretations.


Introduction: Disturbing pasts: memories, controversies and creativity - Leon Wainwright
Part I: Difficult pasts and public space
1 Echoes of the Great War: the recordings of African prisoners in the First World War - Annette Hoffmann
2 A Riot of Our Own: a reflection on agency - Carol Tulloch
3 The exhibition Namibia-Germany: a shared/divided history. Resistance, violence, memory - Clara Himmelheber
4 Break! On the unpleasant, the marginal, the taboo and the controversial in Norwegian museums - Liv Ramskjaer
5 Making meaning from a fragmented past: 1897 and the creative process - Peju Layiwola
6 Mallaby's car: colonial subjects, imperial actors and the representation of human suffering in postcolonial exhibitions - Susan Legêne
Part II: Visual investigations
7 Comments on the art and research project 'The division of the earth: tableaux on the legal synopses of the Berlin Africa conference' - Dierk Schmidt and Malte Jaguttis
8 Late photography, military landscapes and the politics of memory - Simon Faulkner
9 Forced displacement, suffering and the aesthetics of loss - Maruska Svasek
10 Nuclear war as false memory - John Timberlake
Part III: Collaborations
11 Spatial dialogues and the memory of absent Jews in contemporary Polish art: Yael Bartana, Rafal Betlejewski and Joanna Rajkowska - Uilleam Blacker
12 Margit Ellinor: forgotten images - Bente Geving
13 Assimilating the wild and primitive: Lajla and other Sami heroines in Norwegian fin-de-siecle photography - Sigrid Lien
14 Troubled traces: painting and displaying intercultural traumas of Aboriginality - Heather Kamarra Shearer
15 Empowering art: reconfiguring narratives of trauma and hope in the Australian national imaginary - Fiona Magowan


Leon Wainwright is Reader in Art History at The Open University, UK

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