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The Rote Armee Fraktion: memory and the construction of art, film and literature

The Rote Armee Fraktion: memory and the construction of art, film and literature

Bowie, Laura ORCID: 0000-0002-9084-2142 (2013) The Rote Armee Fraktion: memory and the construction of art, film and literature. eSharp, 20:1. pp. 1-18.

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This paper explores the current popularity of memory studies in academia, by looking specifically at the basis of the methodology by illustrating key theorists such as Maurice Halbwachs and his theory of collective memory and Pierre Nora’s Sites of Memory. These theories are then applied specifically to the portrayal of the Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF) in art, film and literature. The left-wing terrorism of the RAF developed out of the West German student protest movement of 1968 and holds a controversial place in the cultural and political memory of Germany today. In a 1971 survey by the Allensbach Institute, 5 per cent of the West German population said that they would harbour a member of the RAF overnight, which goes some way in illustrating the popularity of the movement. After the trial and (contested) suicide of the core members of the gang, this period holds a particular significance in the memory of the Left in Germany. At the time, as well as in recent decades, many films and novels have been created in order to contextualise the events and to ratify the conflict between supporting the ideology of the group, whilst condoning their terrorist methods. Gerhard Richter painted and exhibited October 18, 1977 in 1988-89, which questioned the portrayal of the RAF in the media as well as the issues of nostalgia, memory and cultural manipulation of historical events. This paper discusses the theories of memory and their manifestation in works of art as well as evaluating the use of a methodology of memory for critical analyse of particular events in history.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Volume 20: New Horizons
Uncontrolled Keywords: memory; visual culture; history; terrorism; West Germany; 1970s
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design (DES)
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Last Modified: 20 Apr 2023 10:11

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