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Comparative perspectives on memories of racism, slavery, and genocide in the United States and the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes against humanity in Europe will be the focus of E Pluribus Unum?
Participants will inquire into the tension between memory conflicts and processes and problems of social cohesion, integration, and identity. Can the US learn from societies that have mustered the memory of such events to strengthen inclusion and diversity in the present? Processes of healing from traumatic pasts are reversible at any time. Why can’t the US overcome its pernicious tendencies toward discrimination, violence, and exclusion? Why are 150-year-old symbols of slavery and oppression—confederate flags and monuments—kept alive, even glorified, in the present? Intensifying conflicts over memory raise concerns about the stability of democracies, which depend upon pluralism, competition, different ideologies, interests, and identities.