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The Keohane Professorship brings prominent faculty to serve as visiting professors at UNC and Duke for a one-year period, during which they deliver a lecture series and engage students and faculty around areas of shared interest to both institutions. For 2023-24, Professor Brett Ashley Kaplan will visit Carolina and Duke campuses three times this academic year, to give community lectures, academic seminars, visit classrooms, and meet with undergraduates, grad students and faculty at both campuses. Her first visit is in November, and offers the following community events:


Memory, Representation, and the Power of Fiction

Brett Ashley Kaplan (Director of the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, University of Illinois)

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 – 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Nasher Museum of Art, Auditorium [Map]

Memory touches nearly every aspect of our lives and profoundly shapes culture. How we represent ourselves, both individually and collectively, draws on the stories we tell about our past, which depend in part on memory. This lecture will draw on Professor Kaplan’s novel in progress, which imagines the recovery of Nazi-looted objects found in a Vietnamese refugee center in provincial England. Kaplan will explore how the field of critical memory studies can inform fiction, as well as the strengths and limitations of fiction in conveying multicultural borrowing and conflict.


Memory, History and the Care for the Dead

with Hans Ruin, Södertörn University (Stockholm)

Nov 9, 2023, 1pm East Coast Time

This event is hosted by the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign on the commemoration of the November Pogram (Kristallnacht). Brett Ashley Kaplan, Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor for 2023-24, will be visiting Duke University and Carolina and will host this event from the UNC campus.

The talk takes its point of departure in the book Being with the Dead. Burial, Ancestral Politics, and the Roots of Historical Consciousness (Standford UP, 2019). It reconnects to Michel de Certeau’s famous argument that historiography constitutes a cesura regarding the dead, as compared to older cultures of memory that preserve a living relation to the dead. The argument is that this definitive distinction between the work of memory and historiography disregards the deeper liaison between them, and the ways in which historiography can also be interpreted as a kind of sublimated mortuary culture. Hans Ruin is professor of philosophy, with a PhD from Stockholm university and the co-founder of the philosophy department at Södertörn university.

This is a hybrid event: UNC and Duke faculty and grad student may attend in person; general public may attend via Zoom. Visit the calendar listing for details, including the Zoom link.



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