LECTURE POSTPONED: Astrid Erll: The Odyssey, Identity and Heritage (EN)

Was the camp of the noble Greek at the gates of Troy a rape camp? And what about Odysseus’ twelve “unfaithful maids” that are killed by Telemachus at the end of the Odyssey? Were they “prostitutes”? “Sluts”? Or rather “female house slaves”? These questions are currently being discussed with great vehemence, especially in the light of a new English translation of the Homeric epics by Emily Wilson (Odyssey 2017, Iliad 2023). Even Homer has arrived in the age of feminism and Black Lives Matter.

The current debate is about a change of perspective when it comes to “Homer as heritage”. However, to achieve this, certain entrenched forms of cultural memory must first be rethought and made reflexive.

My lecture deals with the question of how Homer could be constructed as a part of an identity-forming heritage for Europe, the “West” or “the world” in the first place. It is a fascinating tale of (oral and written) memory, (almost complete) oblivion, (downright outrageous) appropriation, as well as a multitude of highly creative adaptations. I am therefore interested in a transtemporal, transcultural and transmedial history of memory (from vase paintings in archaic Greece to the TikTok opera from Puerto Rico), which leads to concepts of “Identity and Heritage”, while at the same time dissolving them time and again.

Astrid Erll is Professor of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at Goethe University Frankfurt. She heads the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform (https://www.memorystudies-frankfurt.com/) and is co-spokesperson of the network Transformations of Political Violence (https://www.trace-center.de/). She is co-editor of the series Media and Cultural Memory / Medien und kulturelle Erinnerung (De Gruyter) and Studies in Collective Memory(OUP). Her publications include Collective Memory and Memory Cultures (Metzler, 32017), Homer – A Relational Mnemohistory (Memory Studies, 2018) and Transnational Flashbulb Memories: An Interdisciplinary Research Programme (Narrative Inquiry, 2023, with W. Hirst). Her project on the memory history of theOdyssey was funded by an Opus Magnum from the Volkswagen Foundation.

Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Marienstraße 13 C, Hörsaal B

Beginn: 18.45 Uhr