Critique of compassionate reason

Book presentation | La Model

The historian Ricard Vinyes presents his most recent book, “Critique of compassionate reason. Reconstruction, transmission and power in the memory of the past” (Icaria, 2023), during an event organized by the publishing house and hosted by the EUROM director, Jordi Guixé. The author will share the floor with the philosopher and professor Fina Birulés (University of Barcelona), the director of the Democratic Memorial of Catalonia, Jordi Font Agulló, and the Councillor for Justice, Rights and Memory of the Catalan Government, Gemma Ubasart. The event is free and open to the public, and will take place on November 8, 2023, at 6,30 pm at the conference room of the former prison La Model in Barcelona.

About the book

Since the end of the Second World War, the concept of duty of memory has operated as a canonical model for the inspiration of vindications and memorial actions related to the political traumas of contemporary societies, generating an imperative paradigm with serious consequences for favouring either the ideologies that impose oblivion as well as commemorations that impose ritual remembrance. This has produced barren, but obsessive, dilemmas between forgetting and remembering.

The book examines how this imperative discourse is supported by a theodicy of memory that establishes the ideas of suffering and compassion at the epicentre of its program. It also analyses the consequences of the duty of memory in public policies or ethical proposals that attribute preventive qualities to memory, which, supposedly, prevent atrocities, but which turn the victim into an a-historical subject forever locked in its painful and manipulable space.

About the Author

Ricard Vinyes Ribas is a professor of Contemporary History at the University of Barcelona and curator of exhibitions and author of various books and articles. His main lines of research have been directed to the study of the political cultures of the subaltern classes, the study of female political prison and the analysis of public memory policies in Europe and America and his museological narrative.


November 8, 2023


La Model Memory Place
C/ d’Entença, 155

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