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Rhetorical imaginings and multimodal arguments at the European Green Belt : Juxtaposing nonhuman nature and technology in our collective memory of the Cold War

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Abstract

We analyze the visual, verbal, and material arguments present at the European Green Belt (EGB), a contemporary conservation project built from the former Iron Curtain. The EGB presents itself as a “living memorial” that fuses together former warring countries and thus makes an argument for the unity of Europe. To analyze this incredibly diverse and rhetorically significant project, we put the digital representations of the site and the discourse around the EGB into conversation with situated, rhetorical criticism performed along the EGB site itself. We analyze the EGB’s different argumentative juxtapositions regarding history and memory, nonhuman nature and technology, peace and war, memorial and tourism, and preservation and restoration. Overall, we find that the transformation of the Iron Curtain from divisive border into a European-wide, transboundary biodiversity conservation project uses transcendence as a key argumentative structure, which has implications for how we understand the human relationship with the environment, history, and memory

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Keywords: Cold War; European Green Belt; environmental memory; juxtaposition; material rhetoric; transcendence

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2019

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