The Medium of the Sidewalk
Holocaust Commemoration and Stolpersteine
A Presentation by
Susan Drucker & Gary Gumpert
General semantics is based on the understanding that human beings are a time-binding species, able to pass on experience from one generation to the next. Through the process of time-binding, we are able to accumulate knowledge and make progress, in science and technology, and also socially, politically, and morally.
Time-binding is made possible by capacity for language and symbolic communication, which also provides us with the potential to engage in critical evaluation and thereby eliminate errors and misconceptions, and overcome prejudice and stereotypes.
While Holocaust memorials have been the subject of many studies, some of the most moving and least studied type of memorials are those unexpectedly encountered in everyday life. Two of the memorials physically built into the urban landscape are: the 70,0000 Stolpesteine, small brass Holocaust memorial plaques placed in the sidewalks of residential neighborhoods. The second are found in Berlin’s Bavarian Quarter where 100 street signs display the Nazi Nurenberg laws. Such memorials are self-imposed triggers of the past. This presentation will examine several Holocaust commemorations looking at the physical installations, communicative functions of sidewalks, language choices and the meaning of the street.
Susan Drucker is a Professor in the Department of Journalism/Media Studies, School of Communication at Hofstra University. She is an attorney, and treasurer of the Urban Communication Foundation. She has served as editor of the Free Speech Yearbook, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, and served as Series editor of the Communication and Law series for Hampton Press and Peter Lang Publishing. She is the author and editor of 10 books and over 100 articles and book chapters including two volumes of the Urban Communication Reader, Regulating Convergence, Voices in the Street: Gender, Media and Public Space, two editions of Real Law @ Virtual Space: The Regulation of Cyberspace, and Regulating Social Media: Legal and Ethical Consideration with Gary Gumpert. Her work examines the relationship between media technology and human factors, particularly as viewed from a legal perspective.
Gary Gumpert is Emeritus Professor of Communication at Queens College of the City University of New York and President of the Urban Communication Foundation. His creative career as a television director and academic career as a scholar spans over 60 years. In 1960 he directed The Gutenberg Galaxy in which Marshall McLuhan first articulated the premise of his book by the same title. He is series editor of Urban Communication Series for Peter Lang Publishing. He has authored and edited books include Talking Tombstones and Other Tales of the Media Age, The Urban Communication Reader, Regulating Convergence, and Regulating Social Media: Legal and Ethical Considerations. He is a recipient of the Franklyn S. Haiman Award for distinguished scholarship in freedom of expression, the Louis Forsdale Award for Outstanding Educator in the Field of Media Ecology, the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, and the Environmental Design Research Association Career Award. His primary research and theory agenda focuses on the impact of communication technology upon social and urban space.
Come join us for a presentation that is sure to to be eye-opening and thought-provoking!
6 PM to 9 PM June 5th at the historic Players Club in Gramercy Park.
Registration is free, but all attendees must be registered in order to gain admittance to the club. This includes any guests you might want to bring with you.
The program will take place in the Library on the 2nd floor of the club. Please note that, as an historic 19th century landmark, the site is not handicap accessible. Dress code is business casual and is strictly enforced, including no sneakers, shorts, ripped jeans, t-shirts).