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MC: Andreas Schönle: Ruins: Between Destruction, Historical Consciousness and Alternative Pasts

When Jan 24, 2018
from 02:00 to 05:00
Where L13, R.707
Contact Name
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Ruins are more than raw material remains of the past. They urge us to reflect on the meaning of the past for the present: as a reminder of wilful destruction and pain, as an object of human historical consciousness or as a possibility for rewriting history through restoration. The way we look at ruins is framed by a long tradition of ruin gazing, going back to the renaissance and to the romantic period, and more recently, the genre of ruin photography documenting the abandonment of post-industrial places has become very popular. Decaying material structures may thus inform us on the ways human beings make sense and use of the past in the present.
This master class will discuss practices of ruin gazing in different places across time and explore the cultural meaning of ruins, ranging from romanticism to trauma, while touching upon larger issues of cultural difference, material culture and cultural memory.

Andreas Schönle, Professor of Russian at Queen Mary University of London, has extensively published on the perception of ruins that relates to his general research interest in the cultural construction of space. In addition to his prize-winning monograph Architecture of Oblivion: Ruins and Historical Consciousness in Modern Russia( and the edited volume Ruins of Modernity, he has also published several articles on the post-socialist city and cultural heritage in Eastern Europe. In this master class, Andreas Schönle will combine selected readings from his own research with short excerpts from classical theoretical texts on ruins (e.g. Walter Benjamin) that continue to shape our perception of ruins in the present-day. After an input lecture by the instructor, the participants will discuss the concrete shapes ruins take in relation to their own ongoing research.


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