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Transcultural Memory


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Silke Arnold-de Simine (subject to change)
  • Assessment: a 5000-word essay (100%)

Module description

This module will explore theoretical concepts of 'cultural memory' and the interdisciplinary and dynamic field of memory studies. Over the course of the term we will look at social, cultural and political practices that produce 'a sense of the past' and are instrumental in the formation of identities, beliefs and ideologies. We investigate the relation between social and psychological dimensions of memory and between the politics and ethics of remembering and forgetting. We explore how memory content is produced, disseminated and secured with the help of case studies across a range of international locations and cultural forms.

The main questions we will address are how memories travel across national, ethnic and religious borders in a global context; how the palimpsestic layers of a place inform an 'archaeology of memory'; how contested versions of the past can create 'memory wars'; if the creative potential of art and new media can help to subvert hegemonic memories, and if the memory boom of recent decades has contributed to a commercialization of 'experiences of the past' in the heritage industry.

Indicative module content

  • Cultural memory: theories and concepts
  • Post-memory
  • Transgenerational haunting
  • Transcultural memory and its locations
  • Politics of memory I (gender, 'race', nation, ethnicity)
  • Politics of memory II
  • Memory, matter and place
  • Memory and migration
  • Making memories, making histories: interpreting the archive
  • Remediating memory in a digital age