Memory and Democracy: Civil and 'Uncivil' Activism for Remembrance in Germany and Beyond

Across the country, civic activism is toppling statues in the name of historical justice. The debate over how to confront our racist, colonial, or genocidal past – and the ways history challenges contemporary democratic governance – has recently made headlines. Examining the relationship between memory and democracy, Jenny Wüstenberg’s work focuses on how grassroots actors engage with institutions in order to shape public mnemonic space in Germany. In particular, she asks how to assess the role of civil society when it is not always an advocate for “progressive” modes of remembering violent histories.

Jenny Wüstenberg is the DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor in Politics at York University in Toronto. She is Co-Founder and Co-President of the Memory Studies Association, as well as Co-Chair of the Research Network on Transnational Memory and Identity in the Council for European Studies and of the Interdisciplinary Network on Memory Studies in the German Studies Association. She is the author of Civil Society and Memory in Postwar Germany (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and has also published widely on transnational, European, and Canadian memory politics, activism, and institutions.