University of Wisconsin–Madison

Upcoming Talk: Sarah Senk on the National 9/11 Memorial Museum

The Memory Exchange- Public Mourning at the National 9-11 Memorial MuseumOn March 10th, the Center will be hosting Profssor Sarah Senk from the University of Hartford to give a talk on time and public mourning at the National 9/11 Memorial Museum. It will be held in room 4191F, which is inside the SLIS library on the 4th floor of HCW. Talk starts at noon.

Implicit in the design of the National 9/11 Memorial Museum is the notion that its commemorative space affirms a pluralist collective of individuals who, despite their varying degrees of spatial or temporal proximity to “Ground Zero,” are encouraged to bear witness here and now. By radically broadening the notion of what constitutes a witness, the museum displaces a sense of unified historical time with the time of the individual subject, implying to visitors that the time that matters most is that of their own personal experience of “9/11,” even if that experience happens fifteen years later in the museum, and has no firsthand experiential antecedent. In this lecture, I examine how the museum produces an ostensibly all-inclusive notion of witness – a configuration whose inclusivity belies the ways in which it is premised upon the replication of the self-identical. If the traditional archive represents the past in isolation, the 9/11 Museum gestures to a fundamental re-articulation of what we think of as the there and then, constituting a new form of personal memory that is no longer based on proximal witnessing, but nevertheless comes to constitute historical knowledge.

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