There are two facts for us all to see, Valentina Pisanty proposes. First, in the last twenty years the Shoah has been the object of widespread commemorative activities throughout the western world. Second, in the last twenty years racism and intolerance have increased dramatically in those very countries where the politics of memory have been implemented with the greatest vigour. In this seminar she will ask: are these unrelated facts and two independent historical threads, or is there a connection? And is it up to a society, wishing to oppose the current wave of xenophobia, to examine this contradiction?
Valentina Pisanty teaches Semiotics at the University of Bergamo. She has published articles and essays on Holocaust denial, racism, political discourse analysis, narratology, humour, interpretive semiotics, the rhetoric of memory-making and the semiotics of testimony. Her books include: Guardiani della memoria e il ritorno delle destre xenofobe (Bompiani, 2020; English translation The Guardians of Memory and the Return of the Xenophobic Right, Primo Levi Editions, 2021); Abusi di memoria: negare, banalizzare, sacralizzare la Shoah (Bruno Mondadori, 2012); La Difesa della Razza: antologia 1938-1942 (Bompiani, 2006); L’irritante questione delle camere a gas: logica del negazionismo (Bompiani 1998, new edition 2014).