Advertisement

From the Transnational to the Intimate: Multidirectional Memory, the Holocaust and Colonial Violence in Australia and Beyond

  • Rosanne KennedyEmail author
  • Sulamith Graefenstein
Article

Abstract

In Australia, public remembrance, particularly relating to national identity and colonial violence, has been contentious. In this article, we take Australia’s recent bid to join the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as an opportunity to identify national, local and multidirectional dynamics shaping public remembrance of the Holocaust and colonial violence in Australia. Joining IHRA signifies a belated national commitment to Holocaust remembrance, which has traditionally been fostered in Australia by survivor communities. Significantly, the Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM) has recently ventured beyond survivor memory, positioning Holocaust remembrance as a platform to identify ongoing human rights violations against Indigenous Australians and other marginalized groups. While this multidirectional framework promotes an inclusive practice of remembrance, we argue that it may inadvertently flatten complex histories into instances of “human rights violations” and decentre the foundational issue of settler colonial violence in Australia. To explore the personal and affective work of remembering settler violence from an Indigenous perspective, we turn to two multiscalar artworks by Judy Watson that exemplify a mnemonic politics of location. the names of places contributes to a local and national public remembrance of settler violence by identifying and mapping colonial massacre sites. In experimental beds, Watson links her matrilineal family history of racial exclusion with that of Thomas Jefferson’s slave, Sally Hemings. This transnational decolonial feminist work takes the gendered and racialized body and intimate sexual appropriation as a ground for a multidirectional colonial memory, thereby providing an alternative to the dominant Holocaust paradigm and its idiom of human rights.

Keywords

Multidirectional memory Holocaust memory Human rights museums Colonial violence Feminist politics of location Judy Watson 

Notes

References

  1. Alba, A. (2016). Transmitting the survivor’s voice: redeveloping the Sydney Jewish Museum. Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, 30(3), 243–257.Google Scholar
  2. Alba, A., Cooke, S., and Frieze, D. (2014). Community museums and the creation of a “sense of place”: Holocaust museums in Australia. ReCollections, 9(1). Available at [March 15 2018] http://recollections.nma.gov.au/issues/volume_9_number_1/papers/community_museums - pageindex3March.
  3. Art Gallery of New South Wales, (n.d.). A picnic with the natives – the gulf 2015: Artist Judy Watson. Available at [February 6, 2019] https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/336.2015/.
  4. Australian Jewish News (2017). Turnbull opens new Shoah exhibition. Available at [July 22 2019] https://www.jewishnews.net.au/turnbull-opens-new-shoah-exhibition/60533/.
  5. Assmann, J. (2006). Das kulturelle Gedächtnis. München: C.H. Beck.Google Scholar
  6. Beier-de Haan, R. (2005). Erinnerte Geschichte – Inszenierte Geschichte: Ausstellungen und Museen in der Zweiten Moderne. Frankfurt a. M., Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  7. Bonyhady, T. (2011). Good living street: the fortunes of my Viennese family. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  8. Caddey, K. (2016). Education resource kit: a case study Judy Watson. Booragul: Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery. Available at [January 5 2019] https://artgallery.lakemac.com.au/downloads/F10C2E802C8A2BA9DFB5896E040F74A398EE01E5.pdf.
  9. Carter, J. (2013). Human rights museums and pedagogies of practice: the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos. Museum Management and Curatorship, 28(3), 324–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. CMHR (n.d.). What to expect. Available at [February 28, 2018] https://humanrights.ca/visit/what-expect.
  11. Conley-Zilcik, B. (2014). Rights on display: museums and human rights claims. In S. Stern & S. Straus (Eds.), The human rights paradox (pp. 61–78). University of Wisconsin Press Available at ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/anu/detail.action?doclD=3445395.
  12. Cooke, S. (2018).Reflecting on Holocaust remembrance in Australia/Interviewer: alliance, international Holocaust remembrance. Available at [June 2 2018] https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/media-room/news-archive/reflecting-holocaust-remembrance-australia.
  13. De Cesari, C., & Rigney, A. (2014). Introduction. In C. De Cesari & A. Rigney (Eds.), Transnational memory circulation, articulation, scales (pp. 1–25). Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  14. Doherty, B. (2018). Scathing UN migration report Mars Australia’s first week on human rights council. The Guardian. Available at [June 2 2018]. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/02/scathing-un-migration-report-not-ideal-start-to-australias-human-rights-council-tenure.
  15. Dovey, C. (2017). The mapping of massacres. The New Yorker. Available at [June 5, 2018] https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/mapping-massacres.
  16. Erll, A. (2011). Travelling memory. Parallax, 17(4), 4–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goldberg, A. (2015). Ethics, identity, and antifundamental fundamentalism: Holocaust memory in a global age (a cultural-political introduction). In A. Goldberg & H. Hazan (Eds.), Marking evil: Holocaust memory in the global age (pp. 3–29). New York: Berghahn Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goldberg, A., & Hazan, H. (2015). Marking evil: Holocaust memory in the global age. New York: Berghahn Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gordon-Reed, A. (2008). The Hemingses of Monticello: an American family. New York: W. W. Norton and Company.Google Scholar
  20. Grahame, N. (2012). Judy Watson: About experimental beds. Available at [May 29 2018] http://www.grahamegalleries.com.au/index.php/judy-watson-about-experimental-beds.
  21. Hochberger, C. (2018). The other art history: the non-Western women of feminist art. Artspace Magazine. Available at [January 5, 2019] https://www.artspace.com/magazine/art_101/the_big_idea/the-other-art-history-the-non-western-women-of-feminist-art-55280.
  22. Huyssen, A. (2000). Present pasts: media, politics, amnesia. Publ Cult, 12(1), 21–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. IHRA (n.d.). Stockholm declaration: a commitment shared by 31 member countries. Available at [June 2, 2018] https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/stockholm-declaration.
  24. Kennedy, R. (2011). Indigenous Australian arts of return: mediating perverse archives. In M. Hirsch & N. K. Miller (Eds.), Rites of return: diaspora poetics and the politics of memory (pp. 88–104). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kennedy, R., & Radstone, S. (2013). Memory up close: Memory studies in Australia. Memory Studies, 6.3, 1–6.Google Scholar
  26. Landsberg, A. (2004). Prosthetic memory the transformation of American remembrance in the age of mass culture. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Lee, L. Y. (2011). Peering into the bedroom: restorative justice at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum. In J. Marstine (Ed.), Redefining ethics for the twenty-first century museum (pp. 174–187). London; New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Levy, D., & Sznaider, N. (2002). Memory unbound: The Holocaust and the formation of cosmopolitan memory. Eur J Soc Theory, 5(1), 87–106.Google Scholar
  29. Levy, D. and Sznaider, N. (2010). Human rights and memory. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Levy, D., & Sznaider, N. (2011). Cosmopolitan memory and human rights. In M. Nowicka & M. Rovisco (Eds.), The Ashgate research companion on cosmopolitanism (pp. 195–209). Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  31. Macdonald, S. (2003). Museums, national, postnational and transcultural identities. Museum and Society, 1(1), 1–16.Google Scholar
  32. Moreton-Robinson, A. (2015). The white possessive: property, power, and indigenous sovereignty. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Moses, D. (2015). Protecting human rights and preventing genocide: the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the will to intervene. In K. Busby, A. Muller, & A. Woolford (Eds.), The idea of a human rights museum (pp. 40–69). Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.Google Scholar
  34. NGA. (2017). Defying empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial. Available at [June 5, 2018] https://nga.gov.au/defyingempire/.
  35. Novick, P. (1999). The Holocaust in American life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  36. Novick, P. (2015). The Holocaust is not - and is not likely to become - a global memory. In A. Goldberg & H. Hazan (Eds.), Marking evil: Holocaust memory in the global age (pp. 47–55). New York: Berghahn Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Olick, J. (2007). The politics of regret: on collective memory and historical responsibility. New York; Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Radstone, S. (2011). What place is this? Transcultural memory and the locations of memory studies. Parallax, 17(4), 109–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rawatte, I. (2018). Transcript: UNHCR’s top Asia official briefs press on Australian offshore processing on Nauru, and UNHCR talks with Bangladesh and Myanmar [Press release]. Available at [June 2, 2018] http://www.unhcr.org/en-au/news/press/2018/4/5ac60a074/transcript-unhcrs-top-asia-official-briefs-press-australian-offshore-processing.html.
  40. Rich, A. (1986). Notes towards a politics of location. In Blood, bread and poetry (pp. 210–231). New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  41. Rothberg, M. (2009). Multidirectional memory: remembering the Holocaust in the age of decolonization. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Rothberg, M. (2014). Locating transnational memory. European Review, 22(4), 652–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ryan, L. et al. (2019). Colonial frontier massacres in central and eastern Australia, 1788–1930. The centre for 21s C humanities. University of Newcastle. https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/colonialmassacres/map.php
  44. Sandell, R. (2016). Museums, moralities and human rights. Taylor and Francis Group. Available at ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.virtual.anu.edu.au/lib/anu/detail.action?docID=4766930.
  45. Seal, G. (2004). Inventing Anzac: the digger and national mythology. St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press.Google Scholar
  46. Shefler, G. (2013). Nearly 70 years after liberation, Holocaust memorials continue to proliferate. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Available at [July 22 2019] https://www.jta.org/2013/06/11/united-states/nearly-70-years-after-liberation-holocaust-memorials-continue-to-proliferate/.
  47. SJM (2018). One of the first permanent human rights exhibitions to open in a museum in Australia. [press release]. Available at [April 2 2018] https://sydneyjewishmuseum.com.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Final-MEDIA-RELEASE-Sydney-Jewish-Museums-new-Holcoaust-and-Human-Righ...-2.pdf
  48. SJM (n.d.-a). Memorials. Available at [June 2, 2018] https://sydneyjewishmuseum.com.au/explore/memorials/.
  49. SJM (n.d.-b). Permanent exhibitions. Available at [June 2 2018] https://sydneyjewishmuseum.com.au/explore/permanent-exhibitions/.
  50. Sundholm, J. (2011). Visions of transnational memory. Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, 3, 1–5.Google Scholar
  51. Takàcs, S. (2016). 27 January 2016: IHRA Chair Szabolcs Takács at the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, United Nations, New York. Available at [June 2 2018] https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/sites/default/files/un_address_27_jan_2016_0.pdf.
  52. Tsing, A. (2005). Friction: an ethnography of global connection. Princeton; Woodstock: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Turnbull, M. (2018). Message from the Prime Minister on 27 Jan 2018 [press release]. Available at [20 May 2018] https://www.pm.gov.au/media/united-nations-international-holocaust-remembrance-day.
  54. Uluru First Nations National Convention (2017). Uluru Statement from the Heart. Available at [July 23 2019] https://www.1voiceuluru.org.
  55. United States Congress (1980). Public law 96-388-Oct. 7. Available at [May 21 2018] http://uscode.house.gov/statutes/pl/96/388.pdf.
  56. Wahlquist, C. (2018). Evidence of 250 massacres of Indigenous Australians mapped. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jul/27/evidence-of-250-massacres-of-indigenous-australians-mapped.
  57. Watson, J. (2012). Judy Watson Experimental beds. Grahame galleries + editions. Available at [June 5 2018] http://www.grahamegalleries.com.au/index.php/judy-watson-experimental-beds.
  58. Watson, J. (2014). Experimental beds. [TED-talk]. Available at [29 May 2018] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIVsjBh5zm0.
  59. Watson, J. (2016). On the couch with Judy Watson/interviewer: arts review. Available at [5 February 2019] http://artsreview.com.au/on-the-couch-with-judy-watson/.
  60. Watson, J. (n.d.). Grahame galleries + editions presents Judy Watson’s “Experimental Beds” at Brenda May Gallery. Available at [May 31 2018] http://www.mayspace.com.au/details.php?exhibitionID=207

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics (SLLL)Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations