Deciphering the Cultural Palimpsest of New Amsterdam

Artyom Anikin | The notion of the palimpsest as on object containing stray remnants hinting at an older and hidden layer of information, when adjusted for the field of cultural analysis, offers a methodological framework for deciphering and re-manifesting bygone cityscapes and culture in a contemporary context. This framework will be investigated and applied to the spatial re-territorialization of New York as New Amsterdam in recent years. In the decade since September 11th public and academic debates in the city have focused on the politics of memory and the process of memorialization. Renewed interest in the colonial history of New York and recent attempts to reconstruct the space of Dutch Manhattan through architecture, monuments, festivals, literature, film, and digital media have superimposed an image of a vanished city upon a contemporary metropolis. By developing the palimpsest as an critical theory and surveying this (re-)created space the cultural palimpsest of New Amsterdam can be deciphered, providing a clear perspective on the relation of the city to its past.

Supervisors | Christoph Lindner & Esther Peeren