Patraka invokes Michel de Certeau’s reading of the difference between a place and a space in order to question whether it is possible to look at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, as a space where subjects can project their own responses and experiences rather than a place where scripted responses of ‘official’ Holocaust memory are enacted. She looks at the museum as a site of performance, as well as reading its fund-raising mailings in order to define its ideological underpinnings. Her analysis of the Holocaust Memorial Museum involves, for example, examining the neo-classical facade that identifies it with the official government buildings that surround it, lending it official significance within a specifically American history. Patraka also looks at the way the museum portrays Jews as the feminised victim and the Americans as masculinised liberators, focusing on suffering rather than on strategies of resistance. As a Certeauian space where many competing discourses are made possible, the museum has the potential for broader significance.
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- Spectacular Suffering: Performing Presence, Absence, and Witness at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Vivian M. Patraka
- Macmillan Education UK
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