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On Commemoration

Global Reflections upon Remembering War

Edited By Catherine Gilbert, Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro

How, in the twenty-first century, can we do commemoration better? In particular, how can commemoration contribute to post-war reconciliation and reconstruction? In this book, a global roster of distinguished writers, artists, musicians, religious leaders, military veterans and scholars debate these questions and ponder the future of commemoration. They include the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz, the award-winning novelists Aminatta Forna and Rachel Seiffert, and the human rights lawyer and Gifford Baillie Prize-winner Philippe Sands. Polemics and reflections together with poetry and creative prose movingly illuminate a subject that speaks to our common humanity.

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Four Poems (Mariah Whelan)

Extract

mariah whelan

This sequence of poems responds to a postgraduate training day in object-based research methods at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. This first poem considers a moment of confrontation between the speaker and the commemorative objects that make up the museum’s colonial archives such as photograph albums, letters, diaries and administrative ledgers. It considers the discourses of history these objects participate in and the administrative and narrative acts of violence inherent in this history, probing the colonial desire to commemorate a particular version of the past.

In the Archive

When the door closes

we let the quiet of the archive

settle around us.

 

The chilled air

from the bales of frozen film

comes to a stop

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