Competing Narratives of Failed Regimes: An International Comparison of National Memory Cultures

17.04.2019, Podiumsdiskussion, DHI Washington

Speakers: Soren Brinkmann (Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla), Karen Cox (University of North Carolina at Charlotte), Donna Harsch (Carnegie Melon University), Xolela Mangcu (George Washington University), moderated by Jim Grossman (American Historical Association)

Co-sponsored by the Goethe-Institut Washington and the National History Center (NHC)

In the context of the current debate on Confederate memorials in the American South, the GHI Washington, in co-operation with the National History Center and the Goethe Institute Washington, is planning an event that will bring together experts on historical memory and memorial cultures from different countries. By providing insights into different national approaches of memorializing failed political regimes, the event aims to identify patterns of dealing with difficult and shattered pasts. Memories are at stake in public debates about taking down memorials or removing objects memorializing a failed regime.

Karen Cox (UNC Charlotte) will talk about the historical context for how confederate statues were erected in the U.S. and how that relates to memory and narratives about the civil war/confederacy; Donna Harsch (Carnegie Melon University) will talk about memory and memorial cultures of the former GDR; Xolela Mangcu (George Washington University) will talk about memorial cultures in South Africa and the legacies of the Apartheid; and Soren Brinkmann (Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia) will talk about memorial cultures in Spain and the legacies of the Franco regime and the Spanish Civil War. Jim Grossman (AHA) will moderate the panel discussion.

For questions, please contact the conveners Dr. Sarah Beringer (beringer(at), Bryan Hart (hart(at), and PD Dr. Axel Jansen (a.jansen(at) 

The panel discussion takes place on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 6:30pm (refreshments will be served between 6:00 and 6:30pm). Please register for the panel discussion by April 10 by E-mail events(at) or Tel. 202.387.3355.