The Social Construction of Memory
Remembering and forgetting, usually thought of as individual matters, have social dimensions as well. In this course, we analyze the theoretical foundations of memory as a collective process. Through the classic writings of Halbwachs, Benjamin and more recent theorists, we consider how memory is constructed, its functions for social cohesion, its durability and dynamics. We confront classic approaches with recent writings that treat collective memory as multivocal and divisive, and analyze their contribution to the formation of national, ethnic, and gender identity. In addition to written texts, we consider the uses and impact of film and other media on the construction of memory and history.