Globalized Memorial Museums. Exhibiting Atrocities in the Era of Claims for Moral Universals

The five-year project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) and is headed by Ljiljana Radonić. The ‘universalization of the Holocaust’ has established the Shoah as a historical reference point legitimizing a global moral imperative to respect human rights. Much has been written about the ostensible ‘globalization of memory’, but as yet no genuinely global comparative study systematically confronting this hypothesis with the actual representations of atrocities exists.

GMM examines 50 memorial museums dealing with the WWII period in the US, Israel, Europe, China, and Japan; recent genocides in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Scholars claim that ‘globalized’ memorial museums reflect new moral standards and a new language of commemoration, but what is the price of the attendant decontextualization in the name of moral universals? This first global typology of memorial museums challenges the concept of ‘universal memory’ and the notion that memorial museums constitute a globalized space of communication and negotiation. [The project ends in August 2024, but Ljiljana Radonic will continue working on this topic also after the project runtime.]