Jeffrey Olick, one of the main engines behind the global and
growing field of Memory Studies visited the University of Minnesota in May
2018. On May 6, he gave the CHGS hosted talk “The Sins of Fathers: Germany,
Memory, Method” where he discussed the variety of ways that Germany’s leaders
since 1949 have negotiated national identity and political legitimacy, with a
particular focus on how those approaches have changed over time. On May 7, he
joined the Sociology Department’s weekly workshop series, laying out where the
field of memory is going, this time, in front of a sociological audience. His
“There’s No Such Thing as Memory, and Even if There Is, It’s Not What You
Think” was widely attended and sparked further questions. This interview by
Yagmur Karakaya brings some of these discussions to the public.
Jeffrey Olick is a professor of sociology and history and chair of the sociology department at the University of Virginia. He is a cultural and historical sociologist whose work has focused on collective memory and commemoration, critical theory, transitional justice, postwar Germany, and sociological theory more generally. His books include “The Politics of Regret: On Collective Memory and Historical Responsibility,” and “The Sins of Fathers: Germany, Memory, Method”.
(Editor’s note: This is a condensed version of our interview with Dr. Olick. Follow the link at the end to read the interview in its entirety.