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History and Poetry
HIST 325
Fall 2006 not offered
Crosslisting: EAST 323

This seminar will draw upon unique sources - especially those dealing with historical trauma in China in the 19th and 20th centuries. The goal here is to listen to the cadence of a new kind of consciousness that appears in China and the West after the 1870s - a consciousness of loss and of commemoration. The Polish poet Zbiniew Hebert (1924- ) described the need for factual information in an age when "facts" are constantly erased or challenged by amnesia, as follows:

"I am supposed to be exact but I don't know when the invasion began
two hundred years ago in December in September perhaps yesterday at dawn
everyone here suffers from a loss of the sense of time
all we have left is the place the attachment to the place
we still rule over ruins of temples specters of gardens and houses
if we lose the ruins nothing will be left."

After September 11th, the need for the preservation of "ruins" in a historiographically conscious mind grows ever more acute. Starting with the extremely important anthology AGAINST FORGETTING: POETRY OF WITNESS IN THE 20TH CENTURY, edited by Carolyn Forche in 1992. This seminar will explore cross-cultural readings starting with China in the 19th Century. The goal here is to develop critical understanding of alternative ways of creating meaning out of sense-denying times. Where conventional historiographical narratives falter, poetry may provide a new angle of vision and of comprehension as well.

Essential Capabilities: Speaking, Writing
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA HIST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on APR-17-2024
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