Our own Dr. Mark K. George is joining colleagues from both Germany and Italy at the “Places and Rituals of Memorialisation International Workshop,” held at Ludwig-Miximilians Universität in Munich. He’s presenting his work on “Place, Writing, Memorialisation, and the People of the Book”, which he introduced for us in his recent address in honor of his promotion to full Professor (click here to view his address).
Dr. George will be sharing his work in two presentations during the workshop, furthering his work on how texts, particularly the book of Deuteronomy, came to be understood to direct human activity. He’s asking important questions about the way that ideas of being a “People ofthe Book” influence the way people live. As changes in biblical texts change attitudes toward obedience, Dr. George is challenging us to understand how we are changed by technological changes to the ways we encounter texts in our world. At this workshop, Dr. George is happy to be taking his interests on space and place to colleagues in the field. Prof. Dr. Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati is hosting the meeting at her university with her students, while Prof. Dr. Carla Danani (Università di Macerata, Macerata/Italy) is bringing some of her students from Italy. Dr. George and his colleagues will be taking advantage of the sites of interest that Munich offers to scholars of place and memory. The physical remnants are part of the landscape. In particular, the new Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism has purposefully kept bombed out buildings on the grounds.
Travel like this helps Dr. George both connect with his international colleagues and notice ways of doing work in those contexts that he can apply to his own work. For example, he notices how, “The Germans have, since the War and until now, talked about their history and the War and what happened in a way that the United States has not been able to do with our history with Native Americans.” A trip to Australia last fall inspired this conversation by having native peoples come to offer blessings to ceremonies to acknowledge that they live on a land where we are not the first peoples. These acknowledgements of those who have come before us is a meaningful insight for the study of ancient texts, spaces, and places.
Update: You can read the report from the International Masterclass by clicking here. The report mentions Dr. George’s presentation as a fitting deepening of the discussion around memorials:
The vision of the film The Circle of Memory (Il cerchio del ricordo, Andrea Rossini, IT 2007) confronted us with the question of the importance of memorials and memorials of World War II after the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. The discussion was extended by the presentation by Prof. Dr. Mark George, “Veriscription: Place, Writing, Memorial, and the People of the Book”, with a look at the antiquity and questions about the performance of writing in practices of memorialization and the identity formation of the people of Israel in Deuteronomy. Thirdly, the topic was considered in its relationship to religion in the context of the emergence and spread of national socialism in Munich, with a visit to the Munich Documentation Center on National Socialism, where we could experience an exciting tour.
Dr. George and this sort of contribution to exciting interdisciplinary work are what allows scholarship to “discover the plurality of languages ??as a creative moment.” We, too, look forward to the published work.