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Political Afterlife of Sites of Monumental Destruction : Reconstructing Affect in Mostar and New York
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This book examines two sites of destruction that have been physically transformed through acts of cultural destruction and their contested reconfiguration in new, highly politicized contexts. In 1993, the Mostar Bridge was completely destroyed. Reconstructed in 2004, as an exact copy of the original, this "new Old Bridge" has assumed an afterlife as an intentional monument to reconciliation. The World Trade Centre has also been reconfigured as a place of national mourning and memory, a symbolic void, in relation to a singular act of terrorism.
With both sites representing very different examples of monumental transformation, the book analyses the contested reconfiguration of both places, as sites of collective remembering and forgetting, and their re-investment with cultural value and symbolic significance. Connor argues that the cultural materiality and material culture associated with both "things" have been central to this process, mobilized as strategic resources with which to shape and redirect public memory in relation to the recent traumatic past. Far from being forgotten or erased, both object/places have continued to be imbued with meaning, memory and a form of mediating agency, that is affective as much as conceptual, assuming a potent "afterlife" in the present.
Provoking a reconsideration of the way monuments and heritage sites, even in their absence, become powerful elements of historical narrativization, this work will be of interest to students and scholars in a range of fields including international relations, cultural studies and memory studies.