Clemens Sedmak, interim director of the Nanovic Institute, recorded a lunchtime lecture, "Europe and the Ethics of Remembering," as part of a live stream event on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
A talk on remembering could at least benefit from the fact that a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland is still remembered in some interesting (and rarely bibulous) ways. The life story of St. Patrick is one important piece of European history, with memories of the person, or celebrations of his life, shaping rituals and hopes. Each European country has its own way of remembering the past and of writing its history; there are significant events, however, that transcend national histories and are part of “the collective memory” of Europe, of which we can count St. Patrick. The way we remember the First World War, the Holocaust, the beginnings of the European Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Brexit…are important aspects of a European culture of remembering. There are well-known challenges to “the European memory project,” such as the different ways of remembering the Shoah in Western and Eastern European countries. Do we need shared and common memories in order to have a true “Union of European States”? Does this also apply to a global scale? This talk explores facets of “an ethics of remembering” in conversation with Europe.
Clemens Sedmak is professor of social ethics in the Keough School of Global Affairs and holds a joint appointment with Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns. He is also a concurrent professor of theology in the Department of Theology. Sedmak has authored numerous publications in German and English, including The Capacity to be Displaced: Resilience, Mission, and Inner Strength (Brill, 2017). His research interests include social ethics, the Catholic social tradition, and issues of poverty and justice. Sedmak's research includes a collaboration with Notre Dame colleagues on the Catholic Church's role in acclimating refugees into Italian society.