Memory and Identity

Term: Fall 2012

Subject Code: GSOC

Course Number: 5082

This course offers a multifaceted and interdisciplinary look at the relationship between memory and identity. We will primarily focus on the interaction between collective memory and forms of political identity such as nationality, citizenship, and ethnicity.

We will first critically engage with different theoretical approaches to collective memory. In this section, we will, for instance, consider debates on the relationship between individual and collective memory as well as discussions on the relationship between history and memory.

We will then proceed with the institutionalization of collective memory in the process of the construction of collective identity. We will focus on sites of memory such as commemorations, education, archeological excavations, and the media.

In our analysis of the institutionalization of memory, we will cover a wide range of issues. We will, for example, consider how memory fosters communal identity and political membership. On the other hand, we will look at what and whom official history excludes or marginalizes. We will also explore mnemonic battles fought within political communities.

In addition, we will analyze means through which memory is reproduced, contested and disseminated. We will take a close look at the role of narratives in transmitting memory. We will also trace patterns and variation in the forms of collective memory.

We will then turn our attention to how institutionalized memories affect political culture and identity. In this section we will discuss the role of memory in political discourse, political configurations, identity politics, intractable conflict, and conflict resolution.

By reading works on different cases and from different humanities and social science disciplines, we will bring together diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of memory and identity, and enhance our understanding of their interaction.  

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