Poslední úprava: Maria Alina Asavei, Ph.D. (13.04.2015)
Theorizing Memory: Social and Cultural Remembering
Course General Description:
It is often claimed that "memory is everywhere around us". At the same time the concept of "memory" appears to be used in a variety of contexts at the intersection of psychology, history, sociology, anthropology and cultural studies. This course attempts to critically survey the main theories and practices of social and cultural remembering. As Alon Confino posits, although the richness of memory studies and of the topics of inquiry are incontestable broad, the very notion of "memory" seems to be "more practiced than theorized" (Collective Memory and Cultural History: Problems of Method, 1997). We will attempt to survey and critically examine various empirical and theoretical approaches to memory in social sciences. The key questions leading this course will be: Who is the carrier of memory? What are the adequate methodologies for approaching social and cultural memory in empirical research? What does it mean to remember something you did not experience firsthand?
Teaching Format: mixture of lecture and seminar
Recommended Readings (available in the library):
Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989
Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1992
Barbara A. Misztal, Theories of Social Remembering, Philadelphia: Open University Press, 2003
James V. Wertsch, Voices of Collective Remembering, Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002
The Collective Memory Reader (Jeffrey K. Olick, Verend Vinitzky-Seroussi and Daniel Levy eds.), Oxford University Press, 2011, available online at: http://booksy.cf/books/The%20Collective%20Memory%20Reader%20-%20Olick%20.pdf
Course Requirements: Attendance is not optional. Reading of all assigned texts is required. For each text, a presenter will be selected in advance. Presentation and critical discussion of the assigned text should normally last for 20 minutes. The presenter should summarize the text’s main argument and the key concepts, identify what is unclear and what should be further investigated and list questions for following discussion. A final paper (3000 words) closely linked to the issues discussed in class is required.
Final Grade Distribution:
Class participation 20%
Student Presentation 30%
Final Paper 50%
Final Paper: The final paper can address the following issues: a critical reading of one of the papers discussed in class; a detailed analysis of a site of memory or memory event (including film, monuments, rituals, state-sponsored commemorations, theatrical plays, exhibitions, etc) using the ideas, concepts and frameworks we have discussed in class, or a comparison between two memory practices or sites of memory which relate to a certain historical event. The final paper should start with a paragraph that provides an overview of the whole paper and end-up with a meaningful conclusion. All your statements must be supported by evidence.
Week 1: Introduction, Course Expectations, Discussion of Some Basic Theories and Concepts in the Field of Memory Studies, Definitions of Various Types of Memory.
Readings: No Readings
Week 2: The Recent Memory Boom, the Role of Memory in Social Sciences and Theoretical &Methodological Challenges
Kerwin Lee Klein, "On the Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse", Representations, Winter 69, 2000, pp.127-150
Jeffrey K. Olick and Joyce Robbins, "Social Memory Studies: from "Collective Memory" to the Historical Sociology of Mnemonic Practices", Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 1998, pp. 105-40 (Jstore)
David Berliner, "The Abuses of Memory: Reflections on the Memory Boom in Anthropology", Anthropological Quarterly, Vol.78, No. 1, 2005
Week 3: Social Memory: Individualistic and Collectivistic Understandings of Social Memory.
Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1992, pp. 37-51
Jeffrey K. Olick, "From "Collective Memory: The Two Cultures" in The Collective Memory Reader (Jeffrey K. Olick, Verend Vinitzky-Seroussi and Daniel Levy eds.), Oxford University Press, 2011, pp.225-229.
Peter Burke, "History as Social Memory", Memory, History, Culture and the Mind, Oxford, New York: Basil Blackwell, 1989, pp. 97-113.
Week 4: Collective Memory and Cultural Remembering
Alon Confino, "Collective Memory and Cultural History: Problems of Method", American Historical Review, Vol.102, No.5, December, 1997, pp. 1386-1403. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=00028762%28199712%29102%3A5%3C1386%3ACMACHP%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Y
Jan Assmann, "Collective Memory and Cultural Identity", pp.125-133, available at: http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/201/articles/95AssmannCollMemNGC.pdf.
Astrid Erll, "Cultural Memory Studies: An Introduction (Towards a Conceptual Foundation for Cultural Memory Studies)", Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook, Astrid Erll and Ansgar Nünning (eds.), Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 2008, pp. 1-19.
Week 5: Remembering Other People’s Memory: Post-memory (mediated memory) in Contemporary Visual Culture
Marianne Hirsch, "The Generation of Postmemory", Poetics Today, 29 (1), 2008, pp.103-128, permanent link: http://www.columbia.edu/~mh2349/papers/generation.pdf
Carolina College of the Art, Visual and Critical Studies Lectures Series: "The Holocaust Effect in Contemporary Art": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSEwi9CoZ2E
Dora Apel, Memory Effects: the Holocaust and the Art of Secondary Witnessing, Rutgers University Press, 2002 (especially the Introduction ("The Artist as Secondary Witness", pp.3-9), and chapter 2 "Picturing the Vanished/Transgressing the Present", pp. 43-72)
Week 6: The Dialectic between Nostalgia and Memory (and Forgetting)
Svetlana Boym, "Nostalgia and Its Discontents", The Hedgehog Review, 7 (18), permanent link: http://www.iasc-culture.org/eNews/2007_10/9.2CBoym.pdf
Manuela Marin, "Between Memory and Nostalgia: The Image of Communism in Romanian Popular Culture. A Case Study of Libertatea Newspaper", Palimpsest, No.5, December, 2013, available online at: http://www.transfam.socjologia.uj.edu.pl/documents/32445283/42fed4c0-76ea-405b-b0c9-132b4c74137c (A CASE STUDY)
Week 7: The Transition from National to Cosmopolitan Memory Cultures
Pierre Nora, "Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire", Representation, No.26, (Spring, 1989), pp.7-24, Stable URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/2928520
Daniel Levy and Natan Sznaider, "Memory Unbound: the Holocaust and the Formation of Cosmopolitan Memory", European Journal of Social Theory, 5 (1), 2002, pp. 87-106, available online at: http://www2.mta.ac.il/~natan/memory%20unbound.pdf
Week 8: Transmission of Memory
Jack Goody, "Memory in Oral and Literate Traditions", The Collective Memory Reader (Jeffrey K. Olick, Verend Vinitzky-Seroussi and Daniel Levy eds.), Oxford University Press, 2011, pp.221-224.
Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember, The Collective Memory Reader (Jeffrey K. Olick, Verend Vinitzky-Seroussi and Daniel Levy eds.), Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 338-343.
Week 9: Memory and Commemoration
Anna Kaminsky, "Visible Memories-Memorial Sites Commemorating the Victims of Communist Regimes in Central Europe", European Network Remembrance and Solidarity Reading Room, 2011, available online at:
Uilleam Blacker, "Spatial Dialogues and Holocaust Memory in Contemporary Polish Art: Yael Bartana, Rafal Betlejewski and Joanna Rajkowska", Open Arts Journal, Issue 3, Summer 2014, pp. 173-187, available online at:
Week 10: Memory and Politics
Michael Foucault, "Film in Popular Memory: An Interview with Michael Foucault", The Collective Memory Reader (Jeffrey K. Olick, Verend Vinitzky-Seroussi and Daniel Levy eds.), Oxford University Press, 2011, pp.266-267
Maria Mälksoo, ‘The Memory Politics of Becoming European: The East European Subalterns and the Collective Memory of Europe’, European Journal of International Relations, 15, No. 4, 2009, pp. 653-680
available online at: http://www.memoryatwar.org/pdf/malksoo_ejir_dec_2009-1.pdf
Week 11: Critical Evaluations of the Collective Memory Studies: theoretical and methodological challenges
Wulf Kansteiner, "Finding Meaning in Memory: A Methodological Critiques of Collective Memory Studies, History and Theory, Vol. 41, No.2, (May, 2002), pp. 179-197 (Jstor)
Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others, Picador, 2004 (or available online)
Concluding Remarks, Discusson on Final Papers