Arbeitsbereich Geschichtsdidaktik / History Education, Universität Hamburg

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New Draft on Analysing Monuments with Students

27. August 2019 Andreas Körber Keine Kommentare

This is a new draft of a sug­ges­ti­on for ana­ly­sing monu­ments with stu­dents. Plea­se comment.
August 28th: I added some aspects (in the PDF in green).

2019_​08_​Körber How to Read a Monu­ment as Nar­ra­ti­ve in Class_2-lit.pdf

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Andre­as Kör­ber (Ham­burg)
How to Read a Monu­ment as a Nar­ra­ti­ve in Class – a Sug­ges­ti­on [unfi­nis­hed draft]

I.
The fol­lowing sug­ges­ti­ons for addres­sing monu­ments in histo­ry edu­ca­ti­on are based on a con­cep­ti­on of monu­ments as pro­to- or abbre­via­te nar­ra­ti­ves 1 by a pre­sent actor about a cer­tain past and its rele­van­ce. Even though in many dis­cus­sions about the remo­val of monu­ments, peop­le deplo­re the remo­val of their “past”, 2 what is at sta­ke, is not the past its­elf, but a spe­ci­fic and often pri­vi­le­ged com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on of a cer­tain inter­pre­ta­ti­on of some past con­text, per­so­na­ge or event.
As such, they also address someo­ne (most­ly a spe­ci­fic group) – some­ti­mes expli­ci­tly, some­ti­mes impli­ci­tly only. The­se “addres­sees” need, howe­ver, not be iden­ti­cal with tho­se real­ly explo­ring the monu­ment. But the­se (the actu­al “audi­ence”) will also feel addres­sed, and sin­ce they might (will) be diver­se, in qui­te dif­fe­rent ways. This com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ve shift is far from being an excep­ti­on – it might even be the rule in times of chan­ge and of incre­a­sed diver­si­ty of our socie­ties. Con­si­der, e.g., a monu­ment hai­ling some hero of an impe­ri­al war addres­sing its audi­ence with a refe­rence to “our empi­re” visi­ted by an immi­grant Bri­tish citi­zen. This app­lies not only to monu­ments depic­ting a group’s (e.g. nation’s) “own pri­de and pain” but also to cri­ti­cal memo­ri­als addres­sing a group’s actions in the past which are con­si­de­red as pro­ble­ma­tic (to say the least) in retro­spect. Con­si­der, e.g., Germany’s memo­ri­als at for­mer pla­ces of con­cen­tra­ti­on camps. In most cases, they are cal­led “Gedenk­stät­ten” – “sites of remem­bran­ce”. As such, alrea­dy, they (have to) express their nar­ra­ti­ve logic in diver­se from, given that the socie­ty they address is not only socio­lo­gi­cal­ly and cul­tu­ral­ly diver­se but also with respect to the past they refer to. For sur­vi­vors and depen­dants (of both sur­vi­vors and fatal vic­tims), they are (main­ly) a place of com­me­mo­ra­ti­on their own loss and also vic­tim­hood. In many cases the­se pla­ces tell a sto­ry of “we have this place for remem­be­ring what they (the Ger­mans) have done to us”. But even wit­hin this group, the­re are many who are and still con­si­der them­sel­ves Ger­mans. For them, the nar­ra­ti­ve is qui­te dif­fe­rent. And of cour­se the­re is a dif­fe­rence bet­ween mour­ning a loss and remem­be­ring a sur­vi­val or even own resis­tance. An inscrip­ti­on on the 1965 monu­ment at Neu­en­gam­me Con­cen­tra­ti­on Camp Memo­ri­al in Ham­burg, e.g., rea­ding “Euer Lei­den, Euer Kampf und Euer Tod sol­len nicht ver­ge­bens sein” (“Your Suf­fe­ring, Your Fight and Your Death Shall Not be in Vain”) does pro­mi­n­ent­ly address a group of pri­so­ners who actively resis­ted. But what is more, most of the­se pla­ces respec­tively monu­ments the­re are also known as “Mahn­ma­le”, i.e. “monu­ment” in the lite­ral sen­se of “admo­nis­hing” someo­ne. Who can or should be admo­nis­hed the­re? Refer­ring to the Nazi Cri­mes, they can (and have to) do it in two dif­fe­rent ways: Towards sur­vi­ving vic­tims and their depen­dants they may be read as “Never let that be done unto you again” – but addres­sing the Ger­man socie­ty as such they refer to “Remem­ber” (publicly, that is) “what you have done” (both to “others” and to “some of your own”, that is) – “and make sure that this never hap­pens again”. Ger­mans among the vic­tims of NS-cri­mes (Jewish Ger­mans, Com­mu­nists, Social Demo­crats Jehova’s Wit­nes­ses, and many others), then, will spe­ci­fi­cal­ly have to select (not choo­se) how they are addressed.

Meta­pho­ri­cal­ly, monu­ments don’t cea­se to “speak” if addres­sing a dif­fe­rent audi­ence from what was inten­ded or sup­po­sed. Sin­ce all per­cep­ti­on and ana­ly­sis (“de-construction”1) of a nar­ra­ti­ve also requi­res and implies re-con­struc­ti­ve men­tal pro­ces­ses, the resul­ting nar­ra­ti­ves in diver­se publi­ca will dif­fer, par­ti­al­ly by beco­m­ing more com­plex. Con­si­der the 1925 war monu­ment in front of Hamburg-Altona’s Johan­nis Church: It depicts three medi­eval war­ri­ors with bare chest and lea­ning on a long sword.2 The inscrip­ti­on reads: “Den Gefal­le­nen zum dank­ba­ren Gedächt­nis, den Leben­den zur Mah­nung, den kom­men­den Geschlech­tern zur Nach­ei­fe­rung” (“to the fal­len in gra­te­ful memo­ry, to the living as a remin­der, to the com­ing genera­ti­ons for emu­la­ti­on”). Even though the­re surely are some youths on the right-wing of the poli­ti­cal spec­trum to whom this may appeal, both most of them will have to enga­ge in two­fold inter­pre­ta­ti­on: “Eth­nic” will have to dif­fe­ren­tia­te bet­ween their own posi­ti­on and per­spec­ti­ve and that of the youth in the Wei­mar Repu­blic, in order to reco­gni­ze the mes­sa­ge and to make their own sen­se of it, Ger­mans with what is often ter­med as “migra­to­ry back­ground” will have even more aspects to combine.

All the­se con­si­de­ra­ti­ons also hold true for the “speaker’s posi­ti­on” in a memo­ri­al or monument’s nar­ra­ti­ve: Let’s take the examp­le of Ger­man Con­cen­tra­ti­on Camp memo­ri­als again: Who is it, admo­nis­hing the vic­tims not to be vic­ti­mi­zed again, and (more pro­mi­n­ent­ly) the Ger­mans not to beco­me per­pe­tra­tors again? In fact, one can even detect ano­t­her lay­er in such monu­ments. The fact that (bela­ted­ly enough) the Ger­man socie­ty today desi­gna­tes and sup­ports the­se “Gedenk­stät­ten” (or even hosts them insti­tu­tio­nal­ly) can also be con­si­de­red a mes­sa­ge to both the sur­vi­vors, their depen­dants and to the world at lar­ge: “See and that we address this past” – pos­si­b­ly also with a call for sup­port: “By wit­nessing this com­mit­ment of ours to remem­be­ring this past – help us to resist and even fight ten­den­ci­es to aban­don it and to return to a socio-centric way or com­me­mo­ra­ti­on” again. 3 But is it “the Ger­man Socie­ty” spea­king here – or some spe­ci­fic group (e.g. the government, a poli­ti­cal fac­tion, …) spea­king “for” the Ger­man peop­le or in lieu of? Just like the tar­ge­ted audi­ence of a monu­ment sel­dom­ly is just the one real­ly visi­t­ing it (and try­ing to make sen­se of it), the posi­ti­on of “aut­hor­s­hip” needs to be differentiated.
Given all this, the con­ven­tio­nal ques­ti­ons of (1) who erec­ted a monu­ment (2) to (remem­be­ring) whom, (3) for what pur­po­se, (4) with who­se money, and to what effect (e.g. of app­rai­sal, cri­tique), are still necessa­ry, but need to be complemented.
As a result, a monument’s “mes­sa­ge” or “mea­ning” is neit­her fixed nor arbi­tra­ry, but rather a spec­trum of nar­ra­ti­ve rela­ti­ons bet­ween a ran­ge of perceived-“authors” or ”spea­kers” and a simi­lar ran­ge of tar­ge­ted and fac­tu­al addressees.
Fur­ther­mo­re, their inter­re­la­ti­on is of utmost inte­rest and may stron­gly dif­fer: Does (and if so: in what way) the monu­ments mes­sa­ge imply the aut­hor and the addressee(s) to belong to the same group? It it “intran­si­ti­ve” in that it at least see­min­gly expres­ses the fact of “remem­be­ring” (“We both know that we have know­ledge about this past and we express that it is of impor­t­ance to us”), while in fact it ser­ves eit­her as a tran­si­ti­ve remin­der (“I know that you know, but you must not for­get”) or even as a first-time intro­duc­tion of the addres­see into the sub­ject at hand (which will be the mode in most cases of visi­t­ing monu­ments with stu­dents). So whe­re “remem­be­ring” and even “com­me­mo­ra­ti­on” is sug­gested and meant, “tel­ling” is the fac­tu­al mode.
Fur­ther­mo­re, com­me­mo­ra­ti­ve modes are mani­fold. Monu­ments can not only call for neu­tral “remem­be­ring”, but also for reve­ring or con­dem­ning, for fee­lings (pri­de and pain) – and they can appeal for action, e.g. for fol­lowing an examp­le. In cul­tu­ral­ly diver­se socie­ties, the spe­ci­fic lin­gu­is­tic and artis­tic modes of expres­sing may not be clear to all stu­dents, pos­si­b­ly lea­ding to misun­derstan­dings, but pos­si­b­ly also to iden­ti­fy­ing alter­na­ti­ve rea­dings which are worth considering.

II.
Ano­t­her aspect is cru­cial: In (post-)modern, diver­se and hete­ro­ge­ne­ous socie­ties (at least), it will not suf­fice that each indi­vi­du­al is able to think about the past and its repre­sen­ta­ti­ons in the public sphe­re, to con­si­der the messages and to rela­te to them indi­vi­du­al­ly. The com­mon task of orga­ni­zing a peace­ful and demo­cra­tic life tog­e­ther wit­hin socie­ty as well as in respect to for­eign rela­ti­ons requi­res that the indi­vi­du­al mem­bers of socie­ty do not only sport their own his­to­ri­cal con­scious­ness – pos­si­b­ly dif­fe­rent from that of their neigh­bours, they will have to be able to rela­te to the­se other per­cep­ti­ons, con­cep­tua­li­sa­ti­ons, inter­pre­ta­ti­ons and eva­lua­tions of past and histo­ry and to the appeals they hold for them. In plu­ral socie­ties it is not enough to just know histo­ry yourself and to be able to think his­to­ri­cal­ly – its is para­mount to have at least some insight into the his­to­ri­cal thin­king of others and to be able to com­mu­ni­ca­te about it. This also refers to monu­ments. What is nee­ded is not only know­ledge and insight about some pos­si­ble dif­fe­rent inter­pre­ta­ti­ons (as e.g. exem­pli­fied by clas­si­cal or repre­sen­ta­ti­ve ones taken from lite­ra­tu­re), but also an insight into the actu­al (ongo­ing, pos­si­b­ly still unsu­re, blur­red, unfi­nis­hed) inter­pre­ta­ti­ons of others in one’s one rele­vant con­texts. Lear­ning about histo­ry in inclu­si­ve socie­ties, the­re­fo­re, be they diver­se with regard to cul­tu­ral, social or other dif­fe­ren­tia­ti­ons, requi­res a dimen­si­on of mutua­li­ty, of lear­ning not only about histo­ry and the past, but also about the other mem­bers of socie­ty and their rela­ti­ons to it, the mea­nings it holds for them, their ques­ti­ons, their hypo­the­ses, etc. 4

III.
On the back­drop of all the­se con­si­de­ra­ti­ons, the fol­lowing gui­de­li­ne the­re­fo­re does not ven­ture to help stu­dents to per­cei­ve the “true” “mea­ning” of a monu­ment, but rather to fos­ter com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on about what is per­cei­ved as its “mes­sa­ge” and mea­ning by pos­si­b­ly dif­fe­rent peop­le. Some of the­se per­cep­ti­ons will be affir­med by being shared among several and pos­si­b­ly qui­te dif­fe­rent users, while others might be dif­fe­rent. This, howe­ver, does not necessa­ri­ly ren­der them wrong or non­sen­si­cal (which, they might be, howe­ver). Com­pa­ring dif­fe­rent ans­wers might both shar­pen the individual’s per­cep­ti­on and broa­den it to per­cei­ve rele­van­ce and mea­nings of memo­ri­als to peop­le with dif­fe­rent back­ground, inte­rest, cul­tu­re, inte­rest, and so on. The­se forms of rele­van­ce might (often will) dif­fer from that inten­ded by tho­se who erec­ted the monu­ment. What does that mean? Is a monu­ment dys­func­tio­n­al if peop­le feel addres­sed by it in a way dif­fe­ring from that ori­gi­nal­ly inten­ded? Or does it keep rele­van­ce but chan­ge significance?
The­se ques­ti­ons do not replace but com­ple­ment other approa­ches to ana­ly­sing monu­ments. It might be sen­si­ble, though, to not app­ly them after more direct approa­ches, but to use them as a start, resul­ting in more spe­ci­fic (and pos­si­b­ly also more) of ques­ti­ons to explore.
The ques­ti­ons can be used in dif­fe­rent ways. It will be rather tedious to just ans­wer them one by one – espe­cial­ly inclu­ding all bul­let points. The lat­ter are rather meant as sug­ges­ti­ons for for­mu­la­ting an ans­wer to the main ques­ti­ons abo­ve them.
To work indi­vi­du­al­ly is pos­si­ble, but becau­se of the con­cept exp­lai­ned abo­ve, it might be more fruit­ful to app­ly a “Think-Pair-Share” ‑sys­tem and first work inde­pendent­ly, then com­pa­re sug­ges­ti­ons in small groups in a way which does not only look for com­mon solu­ti­ons, but also explo­res and eva­lua­tes dif­fe­ren­ces, and then share both insights and remai­ning or new­ly ari­sen ques­ti­ons with the who­le group.

Task:
I. Respond to the ques­ti­ons 1 – 6, using the bul­let points below as direc­tions and sug­ges­ti­ons. Try e.g. to com­ple­te the given sen­ten­ces, but for­mu­la­te your own ans­wer to the main ques­ti­ons. If you are unsu­re or have addi­tio­nal ide­as, for­mu­la­te your ques­ti­ons (ins­tead)!
II. Com­pa­re your nots with your partner(s). Don’t stan­dar­di­ze them! Ins­tead: For­mu­la­te (a) a new ver­si­on of tho­se aspects which were simi­lar and (b) on your dif­fe­ren­ces! In what way did/​do you dif­fer? Make a sug­ges­ti­on why that might be! Keep your ori­gi­nal notes! They will be valu­able in fur­ther discussions!
III. Report on your fin­dings from II to your class! Com­pa­re with insights and ques­ti­ons of other groups!

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  1. Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ve Explicitness:
    In how far does the monu­ment (seem to) …
    • … pre­sent or sug­gest a spe­ci­fic per­son or group in a spea­ker posi­ti­on? (e.g. “We, <…> erec­ted this monument”?)
    • … address a spe­ci­fic person/​group or sug­gests to be direc­ted towards a spe­ci­fic group? (“You, <…>…” /​ “to <…>”) 5
    • … address a third-par­ty as some kind of wit­ness as to the fact of remem­be­ring? 6
    • … refer to some third par­ty as invol­ved in the past which is nar­ra­ted? (e.g. “what they have done to us”)
  2. Nar­ra­ti­ve Explicitness:
    In how far does the monu­ment (seem to) …
    • … pre­sup­po­se that the recipient/​addressee has suf­fi­ci­ent know­ledge about the con­text refer­red to?
    • … expli­ci­tly con­struct a spe­ci­fic con­text (expli­ci­tly tell a story),
    • … rely on a cer­tain amount of com­mon know­ledge of spea­ker and addres­see? 7
    • …intro­du­ce actors, con­texts and events?
    • ?
  3. Transitive/​Intransitive communication:
    In how far does the monu­ment (seem to) …
    • … embrace the recipient/​addressee as a mem­ber of the same group (“we”) as the (pur­por­ted) speaker?
    • … address the recipient/​addressee as a mem­ber of a dif­fe­rent group (“you”) as the (pur­por­ted) speaker?
  4. . “Mono-” or “Hete­rogloss” communication:
    In how far does the monu­ment (seem to) …
    • … embrace the recipient/​addressee as undoub­ted­ly having the same perspective/​sharing the eva­lua­ti­on (“monogloss”)? e.g. by being impli­cit about it,
    • … address the recipient/​addressee as not necessa­ri­ly sharing the same per­spec­ti­ve and eva­lua­ti­on (“hete­rogloss”)? e.g. by being expli­cit in state­ment, eva­lua­ti­on, etc.
  5. Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ve Intent:
    What is the rela­ti­on of authors’/addressee(s)/third-party’s role in the (proto-)narrated sto­ry?, e.g.
    • Gene­ric
      1. “<…> want(s) <…> to <know/​remember/​acknowledge/​accept/​judge> as <…>”
    • Spe­ci­fic:
      • “’We’ <…> want ‘you’ <…> (and others) to know what ‘we’ <…> have achie­ved!” (as e.g. in “Stran­ger, tell the Spartans …”)
      • “’We’ <…>want ‘us’ <…> to not for­get what ‘we’ <…> have achie­ved!” (as e.g. in Monu­ments to Unification)
      • “’We’ <…> want ‘us’ <…> to not for­get what ‘we’ <…> have cau­sed!” (as e.g. in Ger­man Con­cen­tra­ti­on Camp Memorials)
      • “’We’ <…> want ‘you’ <…> to know that ‘we’ <…> sub­mit our­sel­ves to not forgetting/​remembering!”
      • “’We’ <…> want ‘us’ <…> to not for­get what ‘they’ <…> have done to ‘us’ <…>!”
      • “’’We’ <…> want ‘you’ <…> to know that ‘we’ <…> ack­now­ledge what ‘you’ <…> have done to ‘us’ <…>!”
    • In how far does one (or several) of the fol­lowing forms descri­be the com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ve inten­ti­on of the monument? 
      • to inform, e.g. if it intro­du­ces and details the past inci­dents, con­texts etc.;
      • to con­firm, e.g. if it almost taci­tly – without giving details – refers to a past con­text which both aut­hor and addres­see share know­ledge about; inten­ding to secu­re ack­now­led­ge­ment of factuality;
      • to com­me­mo­ra­te, e.g. if it almost taci­tly – without giving details – refers to a past con­text which both aut­hor and addres­see share know­ledge about, inten­ding to express a cer­tain evaluation;
      • to mourn, e.g. if it refers to a past con­text which both aut­hor and addres­see share know­ledge about, inten­ding to express a fee­ling of loss of someone/​something valued);
      • to remind, e.g. if it refers to a past con­text which both aut­hor and addres­see should share know­ledge about, inten­ding to 
        • pre­vent forgetting;
        • secu­re a cer­tain eva­lua­ti­on which is sup­po­sed to have been shared before?
        • appeal, e.g. if it asks (invites?/requests?/summons?) the recipient/​addressee to feel/​identify/​act in a cer­tain way, e.g. by 
          • refer­ring to (a) person(s) as respon­si­ble for some­thing, admo­nis­hing the addres­see to eva­lua­te this/​these per­sons in a cer­tain way, but not to fol­low her/​his examp­le, either
          • heroi­zing: pre­sen­ting (a) person(s) as respon­si­ble for a spe­cial achie­ve­ment and the­re­fo­re to be revered;
          • giving thanks: pre­sen­ting (a) person(s) as respon­si­ble for a spe­cial achie­ve­ment and expres­sing gratitude;
          • con­dem­ning: pre­sen­ting (a) person(s) as respon­si­ble for a spe­cial achie­ve­ment and the­re­fo­re to be condemned;
          • to pre­sent examp­les /​ role models, e.g. if it by pres­ents (a) person(s) as respon­si­ble for some­thing and addres­ses the recipient/​addressee as pos­si­b­ly being in a simi­lar posi­ti­on and having simi­lar capa­ci­ties, urging her/​him either 
            • to fol­low the examp­le (e.g. of taking action, of resisting);
            • to not fol­low the examp­le (e.g. of going along …);
          • to express gra­ti­tu­de, e.g. if it pres­ents the addres­see and/​or his group as respon­si­ble for some­thing good, expres­sing gratitude;
          • to accu­se, e.g. if it pres­ents the addres­see and/​or his group as respon­si­ble for some­thing bad, expres­sing contempt;
    • other (spe­ci­fy) …
      ======
      Refe­ren­ces
      • “Gemüts­zu­stand eines total besieg­ten Vol­kes”. Höcke-Rede im Wort­laut. Nach dem Tran­skript von Kon­stan­tin Nowotny (2017). In Der Tages­spie­gel, 1/​19/​2017. Avail­ab­le online at https://​www​.tages​spie​gel​.de/​p​o​l​i​t​i​k​/​h​o​e​c​k​e​-​r​e​d​e​-​i​m​-​w​o​r​t​l​a​u​t​-​g​e​m​u​e​t​s​z​u​s​t​a​n​d​-​e​i​n​e​s​-​t​o​t​a​l​-​b​e​s​i​e​g​t​e​n​-​v​o​l​k​e​s​/​1​9​2​7​3​5​1​8​-​a​l​l​.​h​tml, che­cked on 3/​14/​2019.
      • Kör­ber, Andre­as (2014): His­to­ri­cal Thin­king and His­to­ri­cal Com­pe­ten­ci­es as Didac­tic Core Con­cepts. In Hel­le Bje­rg, Andre­as Kör­ber, Clau­dia Lenz, Oli­ver von Wro­chem (Eds.): Tea­ching his­to­ri­cal memo­ries in an inter­cul­tu­ral per­spec­ti­ve. Con­cepts and methods : expe­ri­en­ces and results from the Tea­c­Mem pro­ject. 1st ed. Ber­lin: Metro­pol Ver­lag (Rei­he Neu­en­gam­mer Kol­lo­qui­en, Bd. 4), pp. 69 – 96.
      • Kör­ber, Andre­as (2015): His­to­ri­cal con­scious­ness, his­to­ri­cal com­pe­ten­ci­es – and bey­ond? Some con­cep­tu­al deve­lo­p­ment wit­hin Ger­man histo­ry didac­tics. Avail­ab­le online at http://​www​.pedocs​.de/​v​o​l​l​t​e​x​t​e​/​2​0​1​5​/​1​0​8​1​1​/​p​d​f​/​K​o​e​r​b​e​r​_​2​0​1​5​_​D​e​v​e​l​o​p​m​e​n​t​_​G​e​r​m​a​n​_​H​i​s​t​o​r​y​_​D​i​d​a​c​t​i​c​s​.​pdf.
      • Kör­ber, Andre­as (2019; in print): Inklu­si­ve Geschichts­kul­tur — Bestim­mungs­fak­to­ren und Ansprü­che. In Sebas­ti­an Barsch, Bet­ti­na Degner, Chris­toph Küh­ber­ger, Mar­tin Lücke (Eds.): Hand­buch Diver­si­tät im Geschichts­un­ter­richt. Zugän­ge einer inklu­si­ven Geschichts­di­dak­tik. Frank­furt am Main: Wochen­schau Ver­lag, pp. 250 – 258.
      • Kör­ber, Andre­as (2019; unpubl.): Geschichts­ler­nen in der Migra­ti­ons­ge­sell­schaft. Sich in und durch Kon­tro­ver­sen zeit­lich ori­en­tie­ren ler­nen. deut­lich über­ar­bei­te­ter Vor­trag; unpu­bli­ziert. Geschich­ten in Bewe­gung“. Uni­ver­si­tät Pader­born. Pader­born, 6/​14/​2019.
      • Kör­ber, Andre­as; Schrei­ber, Wal­traud; Schö­ner, Alex­an­der (Eds.) (2007): Kom­pe­ten­zen his­to­ri­schen Den­kens. Ein Struk­tur­mo­dell als Bei­trag zur Kom­pe­tenz­ori­en­tie­rung in der Geschichts­di­dak­tik. Neu­ried: Ars Una Ver­lags-Gesell­schaft (Kom­pe­ten­zen, 2).
      • Léves­que, Sté­pha­ne (2018): Remo­ving the “Past”. Deba­tes Over Offi­cial Sites of Memo­ry. In Public Histo­ry Wee­kly 2018 (29). DOI: 10.1515/phw-2018 – 12570.
      • Rüsen, Jörn; Fröh­lich, Klaus; Horst­köt­ter, Hubert; Schmidt, Hans Gün­ther (1991): Unter­su­chun­gen zum Geschichts­be­wußt­sein von Abitu­ri­en­ten im Ruhr­ge­biet. Empi­ri­sche Befun­de einer quan­ti­ta­ti­ven Pilot­stu­die. In Bodo von Bor­ries (Ed.): Geschichts­be­wusst­sein empi­risch. Pfaf­fen­wei­ler: Cen­tau­rus (Geschichts­di­dak­tik : […], Stu­di­en, Mate­ria­li­en, [N.F.], Bd. 7), pp. 221 – 344.
      • Zio­gas, Ioan­nis (2014): Spar­se Spar­tan Ver­se. Fil­ling Gaps in the Ther­mo­py­lae Epi­gram. In Ramus 43 (2), pp. 115 – 133. DOI: 10.1017/rmu.2014.10.
Anmer­kun­gen /​ Refe­ren­ces
  1. Cf. Rüsen et al. 1991, 230f. Cf. also my com­ment on Léves­que 2018, ibid. []
  2. Cf. Léves­que 2018.[]
  3. That this dan­ger is far from being hypo­the­ti­cal can be seen in the light of a speech by the right-wing (AFD)-politician Björn Höcke in Dres­den on 18 Janu­a­ry 2017, whe­re he cal­led for a “U‑turn” in Ger­man memo­ry cul­tu­re, giving up the poli­tics of “Ver­gan­gen­heits­be­wäl­ti­gung”. In the same speech, he reproa­ched to the Ber­lin Memo­ri­al to the Mur­de­red Jews of Euro­pe (the “Holo­caust-Memo­ri­al”) as a “monu­ment of shame”, which of cour­se it is, but in a dif­fe­rent sen­se: What Höcke meant is a “shame­ful” monu­ment, but for the cur­rent Ger­man memo­ri­al cul­tu­re he atta­cked, to address one’s own (in group’s) “crime and shame” is not­hing shame­ful, but a neces­si­ty. Cf. the docu­men­ta­ti­on of the speech in “Gemüts­zu­stand eines total besieg­ten Vol­kes” 2017 (as of 28.8.2019). Any sen­se of pri­de, howe­ver, based on the deve­lo­p­ment of this “cri­ti­cal” and even “nega­ti­ve” memo­ry cul­tu­re would be at least pro­ble­ma­tic – it would under­mi­ne the mind-set. The ques­ti­on remains of how to address this as an achie­ve­ment without resor­ting to con­cepts of “pri­de”.[]
  4. Cf. on the con­cept of inclu­si­ve histo­ry cul­tu­re: Kör­ber 2019; i. Dr.. Kör­ber 2019.[]
  5. As e.g. in a Ham­burg monu­ment com­me­mo­ra­ting the town’s dead of WW1: “Vier­zig Tau­send Söh­ne der Stadt lie­ßen ihr Leben für Euch” (“For­ty Thousand Sons of [our] Town Gave Their Lives for You”).[]
  6. As e.g. in the ver­se of Simo­n­i­des of Ceos (556 – 468 BCE) on the Spar­tan defen­ders at the Ther­mo­py­lae, which Hero­do­tus (VII, 228) reports to have been erec­ted on the spot: “Oh stran­ger, tell the Lace­da­e­mo­ni­ans that we lie here, obedient to their words.” (transl. by Ioan­nis Zio­gas). The ori­gi­nal did not sur­vi­ve, but in 1955 a modern pla­te was erec­ted bea­ring the Greek text again. For this and dif­fe­rent trans­la­ti­ons of the inscrip­ti­on see the Eng­lish Wiki­pe­dia-arti­cle: https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​B​a​t​t​l​e​_​o​f​_​T​h​e​r​m​o​p​y​l​a​e​#​E​p​i​t​a​p​h​_​o​f​_​S​i​m​o​n​i​des (as of 27/​8/​2019). For a dis­cus­sion of the wor­d­ing see Zio­gas 2014.[]
  7. A monu­ment in Oslo, on the pre­mi­ses of Åkers­hus Slot, near the Nor­we­gi­an muse­um of resis­tance against Ger­man Occup­a­ti­on in WW2 (the Muse­um), e.g. sta­tes „de kjem­pet de falt – de gav oss alt“ (liter­al­ly: „They fought, they fell – they gave us ever­ything“), or rather: „they gave (sacri­fi­ced) ever­ything for us.“ Even though the monu­ment depicts tools and devices which can be used in resis­tance ope­ra­ti­ons, the monu­ment clear­ly requi­res know­ledge of the who­le con­text of Nor­we­gi­an resis­tance. Kör­ber 2014, p. 87.[]
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A new competency-model on monuments using Rüsen’s four types by Stéphane Levesque — and a comment

15. Oktober 2018 Andreas Körber Keine Kommentare

In a recent con­tri­bu­ti­on to Public Histo­ry Wee­kly, tit­led “Remo­ving the ‘Past’: Deba­tes Over Offi­cial Sites of Memo­ry” 1Sté­pha­ne Léves­que from Otta­wa, Cana­da, pre­sen­ted a new model for monu­ment-rela­ted com­pe­ten­ci­es of his­to­ri­cal thin­king, using Jörn Rüsen’s types of his­to­ri­cal narrating.

The gra­phic ver­si­on of the model con­sists of four “com­pe­ten­ces”, visua­li­zed as smal­ler cog­wheels arran­ged around and inter­ac­ting with a cen­tral cog­wheel tit­led with “his­to­ri­cal con­scious­ness”. For each of the four com­pe­ten­ci­es, a short, monu­ment-rela­ted defi­ni­ti­on is given.

Promp­ted by a com­men­ta­ry by Gabri­el Reich of Vir­gi­nia Com­mon­wealth Uni­ver­si­ty, who also works exten­si­ve­ly on monu­ments in memo­ry cul­tu­re, Sté­pha­ne Léves­que added a (more gene­ral) table ver­si­on (a Spa­nish trans­la­ti­on by Eliza­beth Mon­tana­res Var­gas has been pre­sen­ted on face­book, mean­while) in an ans­we­ring com­ment, fur­ther detail­ing the com­pe­ten­ci­es in his model. 2.

As much as I appre­cia­te this new model of com­pe­ten­ci­es in gene­ral, I have also added a few comments to it (and to one point of Gabri­el Reich’s com­ment, which is not in focus, here). The space pro­vi­ded by Public histo­ry wee­kly for com­men­ting is limi­ted and graphs are (at least not easi­ly) allo­wed. I the­re­fo­re use this my own blog for repea­ting my com­ment to Lévesque’s model, and to detail it a bit further.

First of all, I stron­gly sup­port the initia­ti­ve to ana­ly­se monu­ments as an expres­si­on of and fac­tor for his­to­ri­cal con­scious­ness. Inde­ed, we need both a) to ana­ly­se them as experts by using our reper­toire of his­to­rio­gra­phic methods and con­cepts in order to sti­mu­la­te and sup­port infor­med public dis­cus­sion about whe­ther a par­ti­cu­lar monu­ment is still desi­ra­ble (or at least accep­ta­ble) or whe­ther it needs to be chan­ged (and how) or even remo­ved, and b) to deve­lop people’s com­pe­ten­ces to address the­se issu­es them­sel­ves, i.e. to reflect on the natu­re, mea­ning and mes­sa­ge of a monu­ment both at the time of its con­struc­tion and today (e.g. through pre­ser­va­ti­on, main­ten­an­ce, alte­ra­ti­on, com­men­ting or removal).

For this rea­son, I great­ly appre­cia­te Stéphane’s pro­po­sal for a com­pe­ten­cy model, espe­cial­ly the table ver­si­on from the com­men­ta­ry abo­ve. This does not mean that I ful­ly sup­port the con­cre­te model, but it has enri­ched the deba­te. Three comments on this:

(1) I doubt that com­pe­tence as such can be “tra­di­tio­nal”, “exem­pla­ry”, “gene­tic”, “cri­ti­cal” or “gene­tic”. The­se pat­terns, both as I under­stand Rüsen and for mys­elf, cha­rac­te­ri­ze the logic of nar­ra­ti­ves. I would the­re­fo­re rather read the table as “the com­pe­tence to que­ry in the tra­di­tio­nal mode” … “the com­pe­tence to nar­ra­te in cri­ti­cal mode” etc.

(2) This again rai­ses the ques­ti­on of whe­ther the four pat­terns actual­ly con­sti­tu­te a dis­tinc­tion of com­pe­tence niveaus. While I agree that the gene­tic mode of nar­ra­ting histo­ry is the his­to­ri­cal­ly most recent, com­plex and sui­ta­ble for exp­lai­ning chan­ges, I doubt – this time against Rüsen (cf. Kör­ber 2016) – that the typo­lo­gy can descri­be com­pe­tence levels.
The com­pe­tence pro­gres­si­on would need to be defi­ned trans­ver­sal­ly: From (a) a basic level of non-dis­tinc­ti­ve (and thus uncon­scious­ly con­fu­sing) forms and pat­terns, via (b) the abi­li­ty to per­form all the­se forms of ope­ra­ti­ons in the various pat­terns of Stéphane’s table (which would this descri­be a ful­ly deve­lo­ped inter­me­dia­te level), to © an ela­bo­ra­ted level of (addi­tio­nal) abi­li­ty to think about the natu­re of the­se disc­tions, etc.

For this, the model is very use­ful, full of ide­as. It can help to think about what it takes to descri­be monu­ments neit­her as “the past” nor as “sim­ply old”, but to iden­ti­fy and “read” them as nar­ra­ti­ves (or nar­ra­ti­ve abbre­via­ti­ons) from a cer­tain time, who­se cur­rent tre­at­ment adds new nar­ra­ti­ve lay­ers to them, so that their exis­tence (or absence), form, and tre­at­ment of them can always be seen and eva­lua­ted as con­tem­pora­ry state­ments about the respec­ti­ve past. To reco­gni­ze this and to deal with it in a social­ly respon­si­ble way requi­res the­se competences.

As far as Gabri­el Reich’s com­men­ta­ry is con­cer­ned, I only ask whe­ther his cha­rac­te­riz­a­ti­on of an atti­tu­de to the con­fe­de­ra­ti­on monu­ments can real­ly be addres­sed with Rüsen as “exem­pla­ry”, sin­ce this mode is not con­cer­ned with the main­ten­an­ce and sup­port of a con­ven­tio­nal iden­ti­ty, but with the deri­va­ti­on of a super­tem­po­ral rule. I would refer to the examp­le as “tra­di­tio­nal”. An “exem­pla­ry” atti­tu­de towards reten­ti­on would be more likely to be: “At all times, monu­ments of one’s own heroes have hel­ped the losers of war to hold on to their cau­se. Then that must be pos­si­ble for us too.” Or some­thing along that line.

So far the com­ment alrea­dy publis­hed in Public Histo­ry Weekly.

That said, I might add, that I don’t mean that the “gene­tic” way of sen­se­ma­king is not in some way supe­ri­or to the others, and more apt for his­to­ri­cal mea­ning-making, espe­cial­ly in its inte­gra­ti­on of a noti­on of direc­ted chan­ge over time. My scep­ti­cism focu­ses on the idea that today’s people’s (“onto­ge­ne­tic”) com­pe­ten­ci­es of his­to­ri­cal thin­king pro­gres­ses along the same line as the cul­tu­ral (“phy­lo­ge­ne­tic”) deve­lo­po­ment of Rüsen’s pat­terns of sen­se­ma­king throughout the histo­ry of his­to­rio­gra­phy. Today’s youth simul­ta­ne­ous­ly encoun­ter mani­fes­ta­ti­ons of his­to­ri­cal thin­king using all three (rather than four) 3 pat­terns of sen­se­ma­king. While the­re is a kind of “deve­lo­p­ment” of power of his­to­ri­cal mea­ning-making and explana­ti­on from tra­di­tio­nal via exem­pla­ric to gene­tic, I doubt that peop­le and stu­dents have to move from the for­mer to the lat­ter — or do so.

My own idea of deve­lo­p­ment of com­pe­ten­ci­es of his­to­ri­cal thin­king can rather be visua­li­zed as fol­lows (adop­ting Lévesque’s table):

Three niveaus/levels of competencies (schematic), following the FUER-model (cf. Körber 2015). The graph uses the table-version of Stéphane Lévesque's competence-model for historical thinking on monuments (https://public-history-weekly.degruyter.com/6-2018-29/removing-past-official-memory/; courtesy of Stéphane Lévesque by e-mail Oct 15th, 2018). A.K. 2018
Three niveaus/​levels of com­pe­ten­ci­es (sche­ma­tic), fol­lowing the FUER-model (cf. Kör­ber et al. 2007; Kör­ber 2015) 4. The graph uses the table-ver­si­on of Sté­pha­ne Lévesque’s com­pe­tence-model for his­to­ri­cal thin­king on monu­ments (https://​public​-histo​ry​-wee​kly​.degruy​ter​.com/6 – 2018-29/­re­mo­ving-past-offi­cial-memo­ry/; cour­te­sy of Sté­pha­ne Léves­que by e‑mail Oct 15th, 2018). A.K. 2018

 

  1. A “basic” niveau (and pos­si­b­ly ear­ly sta­ge) would be defi­ned by the ina­bi­li­ty of dis­tin­guis­hing dif­fe­rent modes of his­to­ri­cal nar­ra­ting in gene­ral and refer­ring to monu­ments in this spe­ci­fic case. (Young) peop­le on this niveau (at this sta­ge) will rela­te to them. They will ask ques­ti­ons (and thus exer­cise their “inqui­ry com­pe­tence”), think (“his­to­ri­cal thin­king com­pe­tence”), ori­en­ta­te them­sel­ves (“ori­en­ta­ti­on com­pe­tence”), and nar­ra­te (“nar­ra­ti­ve com­pe­tence”). But this basic niveau will not be defi­ned by being “tra­di­tio­nal”, but by an unin­for­med mixing (pos­si­b­ly only half-unders­tood) forms of all three pat­terns. This per­for­mance will be both ins­ta­ble and incon­sis­tent. Half-baked tra­di­tio­nal ques­ti­ons will stand next to unre­flec­ted exem­pla­ry state­ments, and so on. In the graph abo­ve, this is sym­bo­li­zed by the blur­red table below.
  2. The abi­li­ty to app­ly the dif­fe­rent pat­terns in a some­what cla­ri­fied way, to dis­tin­guish them and select one, to iden­ti­fy incon­sis­ten­ci­es in their mixing, etc., then marks the inter­me­di­a­ry niveau, and pos­si­ble a major sta­ge in the deve­lo­p­ment of the­se com­pe­ten­ci­es. On this niveau, at this sta­ge, peop­le will be able to dis­cuss about the mes­sa­ge a monu­ment expres­ses and the mea­ning it has for us today, but they might dis­agree and even quar­rel becau­se they app­ly dif­fe­rent pat­terns of mea­ning-making.
    In a way, Lévesque’s table descri­bes this inter­me­dia­te niveau, the dif­fe­rent forms of his­to­ri­cal inqui­ring, thin­king, ori­en­ta­ting, and nar­ra­ting can take, depen­ding from the gene­ral pat­tern of sen­se­ma­king. The table (the midd­le one in the graph abo­ve) clear­ly points at some­thing, I have also tried to express in my Ger­man arti­cle chal­len­ging Rüsen’s own idea of the dif­fe­rent pat­terns forming dif­fe­rent nivue­aus of com­pe­ten­ci­es 5: Each of the dif­fe­rent ope­ra­ti­ons (inqui­ring, nar­ra­ting, ori­en­ta­ting) will take on a spe­ci­fic stance of nar­ra­ting. It is a dif­fe­rence whe­ther I ask for a tra­di­ti­on or for a rule to be deri­ved from past examp­les, or about a pat­terns of chan­ge across time. The­se ques­ti­ons are infor­med by more gene­ral stan­ces and under­stan­dings of histo­ry (may­be coded in Lévesque’s cen­tral cog­wheel of “his­to­ri­cal con­scious­ness”) and will gene­ra­te dif­fe­rent forms of ori­en­ta­ti­on and nar­ra­ting. This does not mean that the initi­al stance deter­mi­nes the out­co­me of the sto­ry, ren­de­ring his­to­ri­cal thin­king a mat­ter of self-affir­ma­ti­on — not at all. A per­son inqui­ring in tra­di­tio­nal will look for an ori­gin for some­thing valid and might — via his­to­ri­cal thin­king and rese­arch — learn of a qui­te dif­fe­rent ori­gin. The mode of mea­ning-making will still be tra­di­tio­nal, but the con­cre­te histo­ry will have chan­ged. But peop­le might also be for­ced to chan­ge their pat­tern in the pro­cess, e.g. lear­ning of the limits of exem­pla­ry thin­king when gai­ning insight into fun­da­men­tal chan­ge, and thus “pro­gress” in a way from exem­pla­ry to gene­tic sensemaking.
  3. The hig­hest niveau, howe­ver, will be reached not by final­ly arri­ving at the gene­tic forms of thin­king and the respec­ti­ve com­pe­ten­ci­es, but by com­ple­men­ting the abi­li­ty to reco­gni­ze, dis­tin­guish and app­ly the dif­fe­rent for­ma with a trans­gres­sing abi­li­ty to reflect on the natu­re, value and limits of this (and other) typo­lo­gies them­sel­ves. Only on this niveau (at this sta­ge) are peop­le ful­ly at com­mand of their his­to­ri­cal reflec­tion. They can address the limits socie­tal­ly accep­ted con­cepts and ter­mi­no­lo­gy pose and sug­gest new or amen­ded ones, etc. In the graph abo­ve, this is sym­bo­li­zed by the addi­tio­nal focus to the rubrics of Lévesque’s table, mar­ked by the blue rings.
Anmer­kun­gen /​ Refe­ren­ces
  1.   Léves­que, Sté­pha­ne: Remo­ving the “Past”: Deba­tes Over Offi­cial Sites of Memo­ry. In: Public Histo­ry Wee­kly 6 (2018) 29, DOI: dx​.doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​5​1​5​/​p​h​w​-​2​018 – 12570. The­re also is a Ger­man and a French ver­si­on. []
  2. The table can be found under the same address as the ori­gi­nal con­tri­bu­ti­on, down the page []
  3. Rüsen’s “cri­ti­cal” type of nar­ra­ting does not real­ly fit into the typo­lo­gy, pre­sen­ting not a new logic of inter­con­nec­ting tem­po­ral infor­ma­ti­on, but merely de-elgi­ti­mi­zing others. In 1988 alrea­dy, Bodo von Bor­ries com­men­ted on this and pre­sen­ted a gra­phi­cal con­cept of the inter­re­la­ti­on of the dif­fe­rent types, in which a “cri­ti­cal” type was pla­ced bet­ween both the tra­di­tio­nal and the exem­pla­ry and the lat­ter and the gene­tic, thus assigning it the func­tion of a cata­lyst of deve­lo­p­ment (Bor­ries, Bodo von (1988): Geschichts­ler­nen und Geschichts­be­wusst­sein. Empi­ri­sche Erkun­dun­gen zu Erwerb und Gebrauch von His­to­rie. 1. Aufl. Stutt­gart: Klett, p. 61; cf.  Kör­ber, Andre­as (2015): His­to­ri­cal con­scious­ness, his­to­ri­cal com­pe­ten­ci­es – and bey­ond? Some con­cep­tu­al deve­lo­p­ment wit­hin Ger­man histo­ry didac­tics. Online ver­füg­bar unter http://​www​.pedocs​.de/​v​o​l​l​t​e​x​t​e​/​2​0​1​5​/​1​0​8​1​1​/​p​d​f​/​K​o​e​r​b​e​r​_​2​0​1​5​_​D​e​v​e​l​o​p​m​e​n​t​_​G​e​r​m​a​n​_​H​i​s​t​o​r​y​_​D​i​d​a​c​t​i​c​s​.​pdf, p. 14f.). In the new ver­si­on of his “His­to­rik”, Rüsen pres­ents a simi­lar ver­si­on. Cf. Rüsen, Jörn (2013): His­to­rik. Theo­rie der Geschichts­wis­sen­schaft. Köln: Böhlau, p. 260. Eng­lish: Rüsen, Jörn (2017): Evi­dence and Mea­ning. A Theo­ry of His­to­ri­cal Stu­dies. Unter Mit­ar­beit von Dia­ne Kerns und Kat­ie Digan. New York, NY: Berg­hahn Books Incor­po­ra­ted (Making Sen­se of Histo­ry Ser, v.28), p. 198. []
  4.  Schrei­ber, Wal­traud; Kör­ber, Andre­as; Bor­ries, Bodo von; Kram­mer, Rein­hard; Leut­ner-Ram­me, Sibyl­la; Mebus, Syl­via et al. (2007): His­to­ri­sches Den­ken. Ein Kom­pe­tenz-Struk­tur­mo­dell (Basis­bei­trag). In: Andre­as Kör­ber, Wal­traud Schrei­ber und Alex­an­der Schö­ner (Hg.): Kom­pe­ten­zen his­to­ri­schen Den­kens. Ein Struk­tur­mo­dell als Bei­trag zur Kom­pe­tenz­ori­en­tie­rung in der Geschichts­di­dak­tik. Neu­ried: Ars Una Ver­lags-Gesell­schaft (Kom­pe­ten­zen, 2), S. 17 – 53; Kör­ber, Andre­as (2012): Gra­du­ie­rung his­to­ri­scher Kom­pe­ten­zen. In: Miche­le Bar­ri­cel­li und Mar­tin Lücke (Hg.): Hand­buch Pra­xis des Geschichts­un­ter­richts. His­to­ri­sches Ler­nen in der Schu­le, Bd. 1. Schwalbach/​Ts.: Wochen­schau Ver­lag (Wochen­schau Geschich­te), S. 236 – 254.; Kör­ber, Andre­as (2015): His­to­ri­cal con­scious­ness, his­to­ri­cal com­pe­ten­ci­es – and bey­ond? Some con­cep­tu­al deve­lo­p­ment wit­hin Ger­man histo­ry didac­tics. Online ver­füg­bar unter http://​www​.pedocs​.de/​v​o​l​l​t​e​x​t​e​/​2​0​1​5​/​1​0​8​1​1​/​p​d​f​/​K​o​e​r​b​e​r​_​2​0​1​5​_​D​e​v​e​l​o​p​m​e​n​t​_​G​e​r​m​a​n​_​H​i​s​t​o​r​y​_​D​i​d​a​c​t​i​c​s​.​pdf, pp. 39ff []
  5.  Kör­ber, Andre­as (2016): Sinn­bil­dungs­ty­pen als Gra­du­ie­run­gen? Ver­such einer Klä­rung am Bei­spiel der His­to­ri­schen Fra­ge­kom­pe­tenz. In: Kat­ja Leh­mann, Micha­el Wer­ner und Ste­fa­nie Zabold (Hg.): His­to­ri­sches Den­ken jetzt und in Zukunft. Wege zu einem theo­re­tisch fun­dier­ten und evi­denz­ba­sier­ten Umgang mit Geschich­te. Fest­schrift für Wal­traud Schrei­ber zum 60. Geburts­tag. Ber­lin, Müns­ter: Lit Ver­lag (Geschichts­di­dak­tik in Ver­gan­gen­heit und Gegen­wart, 10), S. 27 – 41. []
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