Colloquium: Nate Kramer

Date(s) - 09/30/2021
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


This week’s colloquium will feature Nate Kramer, Associate Professor of Comparative Arts & Letters. The presentation will begin at 3:00 pm in 4010 JFSB on Thursday, September 30th.  It will also be available to view on Zoom via this link Professor Kramer will be discussing his current research on the national memorializing process and how countries work-through tragedies like the one that took place in Norway ten years ago.

Title: “Norway’s July 22: Wounded Memory and the Working-Through of a National Tragedy”

On July 22, 2011, Norway experienced two devastating lone-wolf terrorist attacks that killed 77, wounded at least thirty others, and damaged several buildings in Oslo’s government quarter. In the ensuing decade –July 22 of this year marks the ten-year anniversary of these attacks–Norway has attempted to grapple with right-wing extremism, repair the damage done to the government quarter, as well as how to properly commemorate and memorialize the events of that day. While this last question is inevitably part of any nation’s collective mourning, the issue in Norway has taken a particularly unique trajectory. Jonas Dahlberg’s award winning proposal and design for a national memorial, titled Memory Wound, was as of summer 2017 scrapped. Protests from the surrounding community–one of the attacks occurred on a small island on a lake some miles from Oslo–and several lawsuits lead the Norwegian government to reject Dahlberg’s design and propose a new memorial at a different site. However, the new memorial has itself become embroiled in controversy such that construction has been halted and the new site left vacant and barren. It would seem that the implicit purpose of a national memorial to come to terms with and move beyond the primary shock of suffering has not only been thwarted, at least for the time being, but the very suffering to be mitigated by the memorial has been “endlessly made present.” I am interested in the way the national memorializing process in Norway has revealed not only the inevitable competing interests within a nation, but also raises questions surrounding the role and function of representation (and its failure) in the ongoing working-through of tragedies like those of July 22.


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