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Public art and memory scholar James E. Young to speak Feb. 9

February 03, 2012

Erica Blust
(315) 443-5891

Scholar James E. Young, a distinguished university professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who has written widely on public art, memorials and national memory, will speak at Syracuse University on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. as part of the lecture series “Memory and Commemoration, as Fact or Fiction.” The talk will be held in Watson Theater, Menschel Media Center, 316 Waverly Ave., Syracuse, and is free and open to the public. Parking for the public is available for $4 in Booth Garage; parking in Booth is free for SU students, faculty and staff with a valid SU parking permit.

young“Memory and Commemoration, as Fact or Fiction” is a cross-disciplinary speaker series on art, memory, community and commemoration hosted by internationally renowned artist Shimon Attie. The series is co-sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) and the SU Humanities Center in The College of Arts and Sciences.

Young, who will speak about the complexities and challenges of public commemoration as well as his experiences as a juror for the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, is distinguished university professor of English and Judaic Studies and director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies at UMass Amherst. He is the author of “Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust” (Indiana University Press, 1988); “The Texture of Memory” (Yale University Press, 1993), which won the National Jewish Book Award in 1994; and “At Memory's Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture” (Yale University Press, 2000).

In 1997, Young was appointed by the Berlin Senate to the five-member Findungskommission for Germany's Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. He has also consulted with Argentina’s government on its memorial to the desaparecidos, as well as with numerous city agencies on their memorials and museums. Most recently, he was appointed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. to the jury for the World Trade Center Site Memorial competition, which opened on Sept. 11, 2011.

Young’s articles, reviews and op-ed essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Book Review and op-ed pages; the Los Angeles Times; the Chicago Tribune; the Forward; and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among other newspapers and scholarly journals. He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship; American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship; National Endowment for the Humanities exhibition planning, implementation and research grants; Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture grants; an American Philosophical Society grant; and a Yad Hanadiv Fellowship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 2000, he was appointed editor-in-chief of the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, a 10-volume anthology of primary sources, documents, texts and images, forthcoming with Yale University Press. He is currently completing an insider’s story of the World Trade Center Memorial, “The Stages of Memory at Ground Zero: A Juror’s Report on the World Trade Center Site Memorial.”

“Memory and Commemoration, as Fact or Fiction” is part of a cross-disciplinary colloquium for SU graduate students. The series is generously supported by an award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Central New York Humanities Corridor, with additional support from VPA’s Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies and the SU Public Memory Project.

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