March 2021

Juliane Borosch is reading “The ‘Indianized’ Landscape of Massachusetts” by Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture at MIT Mark Jarzombek in Places Journal. In the past month I have been working on contested urban memory through urban landmarks such as streets, monuments and squares. This article (to me) provides interesting contextual information about the settler colonial roots of many settlement and commemoration conflicts and the strategic narrativizations that went along with them: Next to insightful geographical and historical placements, the article highlights the “often violent relationships between past and place” and how their narrative framing (frequently long after the fact) by white (Anglo-) European settlers – notably also what is and is not mentioned – still problematically shapes public discourse and landscapes today. While this is an article about the treatment and commemoration of Native American tribes in what is now known as New England, the mechanisms at play are relevant for “already historicized landscapes” throughout the (North) American continent.

Our Past Reading
Prof. Dr. Josef Raab passed away on November 10, 2019 after a long battle against terminal illness. / © L. Raab

Thank you,

to our colleague, advisor, and mentor Josef Raab, who sadly passed away last weekend after a long and brave battle against terminal illness. Josef Raab was the chair of American Literary and Media Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He paved the way for the discipline of Inter-American Studies, significantly shaping its core debates. As a champion and supporter of the Ruhr Center for American Studies, he was also a pivotal figure for the establishment of our City Scripts research group. Josef Raab was a fighter of the good fight, never shy of supporting his students and of positively endorsing as well as tackling his colleagues. He never eschewed an argument he believed in. While he had to take a step back from in-person participation in recent months due to his illness, he was with us in thought and during our research. We lose a professor and mentor, who has accompanied and supported some of us since our bachelor’s degree, a colleague, who challenged us in academic discussions, and most of all a sincere and warm human soul.

All that is left for us to say now is, thank you and safe travels.