The Politics of Consolation: Memory and the Meaning of September 11
This seminar will examine issues of cultural trauma and collective memory. We will argue that a key function of American political leaders is to provide consolation in the aftermath of calamitous, unexplainable tragedies. Today, the Twin Towers of New York City's World Trade Center stand only in our memory, an image that calls to mind sorrow and loss. But during the years that they straddled the skyline, the towers meant many things to many people. In this seminar, we will examine the politics in ensuing years in terms of real estate developers wanting office space, grieving families wanting a memorial, and all of America looking to rebuild to honor the dead.