Essay question four: discussion

What do you understand by the term ‘memory work’? How does this notion help us understand music and music making in the Holocaust and/or musical responses to it in the immediate aftermath?

[please also check out this page  which has additional advice which you will find useful]

17 Comments

Filed under Essay discussion

17 responses to “Essay question four: discussion

  1. Ian Biddle

    Dear students: please feel free to leave any queries about this essay question here. I’ll answer as quickly as I can.

    • Zoe Fisher

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Dear Ian. I have read a few articles not of a musical nature and some of them say that the term ‘collective memory’ is outdated and slightly inaccurate and that the term ‘social memory’ should be used instead. Which would you suggest I use in my essay?

      • Ian Biddle

        [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

        Many thanks for this Zoe

        It looks like you’ve been reading some very useful and up-to-date scholarship. Good for you! Really pleased to see this. In more recent Memory Studies, as you have found, there is some debate about terminology. Personally I’m not at all fussy about terms like collective memory or similar. The important thing is to be clear about what you mean by the term(s) you use. In the end it’s up to you which one you use – I won’t penalise you for using the ‘wrong’ term.

        Does this help?

  2. Zoe Fisher

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Yes that’s brilliant, thank you. I have personally been persuaded by their arguments and do prefer ‘social memory’ so I will probably use that. I will make sure to use any terms with clarity though. Many Thanks!

  3. Zoe Fisher

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian,
    I know the question specifically says ‘music making in the Holocaust and/or musical responses to it in the immediate aftermath’. From what I understand, the idea of ‘living memory’ and the transmission of memory is crucial to ‘memory work’ and so would it be appropriate to discuss musical responses and performances or music from the Holocaust up the the present day?

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Dear Zoe

      Good question.

      Ideally you should try to confine your answer to the areas covered in the course. Ideally nothing after 1955, BUT if you can make s good case in your essay for dealing with later sources then by all means do. A word of caution: you really will have to make that case. Don’t assume the reader will understand why you’re reaching beyond the limits of the essay question.

      Does this make sense?

      • Zoe Fisher

        [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

        That does make sense. Rather than talking about later compositions, would it be appropriate to talk about later performances/distributions of music that was written during/immediately after the Holocaust and what that does for social memory? (i.e. the significance of this music still being performed). I just want to check I have understood ‘memory work’ correctly.

      • Ian Biddle

        [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

        Again, yes, as long as you can make a case for it. Don’t assume it will be clear to the reader why you ate making reference to them.

  4. Will Symington

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Dear Ian,
    I know we have focused mainly on the Jewish perspective of music making this year. However for this question would discussing musical ideas and political policy on music from a German, Nazi perspective during the Holocaust be equally appropriate as Jewish music making, as the question seems to have scope for both?
    Best Wishes,
    Will

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Dear Will

      For the purposes of this module please stick to the Jewish perspective, unless you can make a strong case in the essay itself for straying away from this to a certain extent. In other words, IF you can make the case, then by all means make it.

      Cheers

  5. Will Symington

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Dear Ian,
    Thanks for that, however would discussing the anti-semtic work German musical scholars such as Richard Eichenauer wrote, furthering Joachim Moser’s work be noteworthy? As ideas written by scholars like Eichenauer were used by the Nazi party as they attempted to eliminate Jewish influence from German music and tried to stop internationalism (within music) creeping in to Germany. This also does seem relevant to the ‘memory work’ side of the question as German composers, prime example: Wagner had been against Jewish influence in German music for years and Richard Strauss willingly boycotting a Jewish conductors concert by replacing him. But please tell me if I’m wrong!
    Again Best Wishes
    Will

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello again Will.
      Well, to be honest, I can’t see the connection, really. Memory work here really would refer to the attempts of the victims to remember, not to the perpetrators in the way you mention. Remembering the awfulness of perpetrator ideology is one thing, but it is not memory work. This module has been about bearing witness to the victims’ experiences. Unless you can make a very strong case for veering away from that, it looks to me like the materials you want to look at would not be relevant in this case, at least.

      Does this make sense?

  6. Zoe Fisher

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Dear Ian,
    I have talked about the play ‘Ghetto’ by Joshua Sobol (1983) as an instance of active remembrance through cultural and musical activity. I feel I have explained its relevance and justified its inclusion but I just want to check if it is appropriate for the question?
    Thanks, Zoe

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Dear Zoe

      Seems perfectly sensible to me.

      Cheers

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello again Zoe…

      Just wanted to check that you have also mentioned other sources much closer to the Holocaust. This play is great but it’s not a substitute for thinking about the immediate aftermath. Should have said that in previous response just now, sorry.

  7. Grace Stephenson

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Dear Ian,
    I am slightly concerned as to how we are expected to reference the use of the yizker-bikher. When taken from the NYPL website, is it sufficient to treat it as an online resource in the footnotes?
    I can’t find anywhere that says ‘cite this source’.
    Also, as this is an academic essay for the purposes of this module only, is it acceptable to insert excerpts from them in the essay?
    I don’t want to to include pictures etc, if this is not tolerated by the authors.
    Thanks in advance,
    Grace

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Dear Grace

      Many thanks for this. The Yizker-Bikher are published sources, so you can quote from them without worry as long as you reference them correctly.

      They are not an online source, just available in readable format online.

      Hence cite them as you would a book, or a chapter in a book. Sometimes you won’t have full editorial information: in these cases just say ‘editor not given’ in brackets.

      Hope this helps

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