Invertito 17 - Christiane Leidinger: The Politics of Naming Public Squares

Christiane Leidinger:
Zur Politik der Platzbenennung

Christiane Leidinger:
The Politics of Naming Public Squares

Conceptualizing a politics of memory and historical remembrance culture that raises antihegemonial awareness while incorporating intersectionality, empowerment and power-sharing

English abstract

This article examines existing memorialization practices and demands in regards to representing and acknowledging historical LGBTIQ figures within public spaces. At its heart is a criticism of individualized commemorations and of one-dimensional biographical treatments. In opposition to this, Christiane Leidinger advocates the discussion and development of a remembrance culture that does justice to the early "homosexual movement" circa 1900 by framing it as collective form of organizing, while focusing on its relevant events and important ideas. Furthermore, in regards to the dominant practice of naming public spaces after persons, the article argues for a more critical approach in examining their life and work. Here, the author draws upon twenty-five years of non-university lesbian research into self-contradictory biographies, as exemplified by those of three lesbian historical "ambivalent foremothers" (Ulrike Janz). Leidinger argues for a historical remembrance culture that, in acknowledging structures of power and dominance and thereby also multidimensional anti-LGBTIQ discrimination and its intersectional interrelationships, incorporates a conception of critical empowerment and power-sharing concepts while also assuming responsibility both historically and in the present day. A necessary structural change for cultivating an empowerment that highlights collective history would involve antihegemonial historical awareness development. In conclusion, the author points out how the conceptual restructuring of a politics of memory and historical remembrance culture allows history to be used as a resource for social work too, even beyond the confines of civic education.

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