HY324 - Haunted Landscapes: History, Memory, and the Built Environment

We live in a haunted landscape, an environment that, to quote Vladimir Nabokov, is filled with objects and places “through which the past shines.” Although some of these vectors of the past – monuments, for example, or even museums – can serve to strengthen structures of domination in the present, this is not always true. Indeed, old houses, city streets, and discarded objects can retain traces of their original contexts; haunted palimpsests of layered time that, according to some theorists at least, can open the way to different futures. Analyzing a diverse array of texts from a range of disciplines this course explores how our visions of the past (and our conceptions of the future) are, to a large extent, mediated by the built environment. As a 300-level course, the class will culminate in a 15-page research paper. (Not offered 2024-25).

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