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Intercultural Memories

Contesting Places, Spaces, and Stories

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Edited By Ahmet Atay, Yea-Wen Chen and Alberto González

Collective remembering is an important way that communities name and make sense of the past. Places and stories about the past influence how communities remember the past, how they try to preserve it, or in some cases how they try to erase it. The research in this book offers key insights into how places and memories intersect with intercultural conflicts, oppressions, and struggles by which communities make sense of, deal with, and reconcile the past. The authors in this book examine fascinating stories from important sites—such as international commemorations of Korean “Comfort Women,” a film representation of the Stonewall Riots, and remembrances of the post-communist state in Albania. By utilizing various critical and cultural studies and ethnographic and narrative-based methods, each chapter examines cultural memory in intercultural encounters, everyday experiences, and identity performances that evoke collective memories of colonial pasts, immigration processes, and memories of places and spaces that are shaped by power structures and clashing ideologies. This book is essential reading for understanding the links between space/place and cultural memory, memories of nationally, and places constituted by markers of ethnicity, race, and sexuality. These readings are especially useful in courses in intercultural communication, cultural studies, international studies, and peace and conflict studies.
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1. Communities of Memory, Coalition, and Race Trauma: The Moore’s Ford Lynching Reenactment

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PETER EHRENHAUS

Pacific Lutheran University

A. SUSAN OWEN

University of Puget Sound

In recent years American communities have been compelled to confront their histories of race violence and race lynching.2 Situated within the tensions of remembrance and forgetting, the collective will to confront these pasts is fraught with challenge, and calls to confront the legacies of white-on-black race violence are often met with deep ambivalence. Some fear that commemoration will “produce nothing but anguish, grief, and a righteous, desperate rage that only risks fueling more violence.” Others worry that instead of producing “a reconciled future, memories of victimization” will only exacerbate “social division and conflict” (Simon, Rosenberg & Eppert, 2000, p. 1).

In this chapter, we examine one call to remembrance through the annual reenactment of the 1946 lynching of four African Americans in Walton County, Georgia.3 Our research at the Moore’s Ford Lynching Reenactment concerns one iteration by a coalition formed from two communities of memory—one white, cosmopolitan, financially secure, feminist, and religiously and politically progressive, and one black, rural, of modest economic means, and grounded in the conservative social mores of the patriarchal Southern black church. Communities of memory coalesce around particular relationships to enduring cultural trauma—in this case, trauma produced by a legacy of race lynching. While each community “occupies a distinctive historical relationship” to those traumas, “points of intersection” may support coalitional efforts in pursuit of common commitments (Owen & Ehrenhaus, 2010,...

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