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Doing Memory

Teaching as a Discursive Node

Alexandra Binnenkade

This article outlines the “discursive node” as an approach to a cultural analysis of how memory is being done in history classrooms. Teaching is a practice embodied in the interactions between teachers and their audiences, between texts, imagery and institutional formations, and between material and immaterial participants in an activity that entails not only knowledge but also emotions, experience and values (Henry Giroux). Discursive nodes are useful metaphors that enable research of a phenomenon that is ontologically and empirically fluxional, heterogeneous, unstable, situative and fuzzy—memory.

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War Memories and Online Encyclopedias

Framing 30 June 1941 in Wikipedia

Mykola Makhortykh

This article examines how digital media interact with collective memories and teaching practices by exploring a selection of Wikipedia articles that describe the capture of Lviv by the Germans on 30 June 1941. This event constitutes an important episode in the history of Ukraine and a complex case of violence that produced several controversies concerning the national historiographies of the Second World War in the post-Soviet region. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative metrics, this article investigates how the event is represented in different language versions of Wikipedia and assesses what kind of memory is produced by each of them.

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Blurred memories

War and disaster in a Buddhist Sinhala village

Mara Benadusi

This article analyzes the regimes of truth and efforts at falsification that emerged aft er the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, where the experience of fear, the blurring of memory, and the fabrication of identity became normalized during the course of a long civil war. By shedding light on the memorialization processes in a Buddhist Sinhala village on the border of the northeastern Tamil zones, the article shows how the tsunami has reinforced governmental devices for controlling peoples and territories, insinuating itself into the core of the enduring process of securitization of fear in Sri Lanka. Yet, however much the politics of memory tends to cloud matters, the article also demonstrates that it never goes uncontested, as long as subjects can channel their capacity for action in unexpected directions.

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Instrumentalising Media Memories

The Second World War According to Achtung Zelig!

Maaheen Ahmed

Krzysztof Gawronkiewicz and Krystian Rosenberg’s Achtung Zelig! recounts an unabashedly absurd story about the Second World War, involving an encounter between a Nazi commander who was a former clown and a Jewish father and son with monstrous faces. To understand the construction and function of the Polish comic’s narration of the war, this article introduces the concept of media memories. Such memories encompass techniques and works that ‘haunt’ cultural productions. Achtung Zelig! interweaves key media and contexts, layering its story through the media memories of carnivals, comics (e.g. Maus) and films (e.g. The Great Dictator). In instrumentalising media memories, the comic engages in a heavily mediated dialogue with the issue of representing traumatic realities.

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Victor Jeleniewski Seidler

What is Jewish about memory and how does it relate to questions of justice and redemption? Within European modernities we learn to think of ourselves as rational selves and within a liberal moral culture to put the past behind us, so making it difficult to engage with the traumatic histories of the Shoah and the moral challenges it offers to European moral traditions. Does Judaism provide a critique of secular moral traditions and open possibilities for an embodied ethical tradition that values memory and so engagements with the past, while reminding us that ‘not to know sufferings means not to be human’? (Genesis Rabbah 92:1).

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Collecting and Memory

A Study of Travel Archives

Lee Arnold and Thomas van der Walt

People’s travel collections serve as a memory aid to help them write travelogues, novels, or scientific reports when they return home. They may also have merely been a way to document a voyage or journey for future generations. Under the surface of any of these end uses is simply the need to collect, the need to hold on to memory—in the form of material culture, ephemera, photographic documentation or assiduous note taking. Travel archives are the materials (either in manuscript form or printed ephemera) that document the purposeful travel of an individual or group. Like family papers, they may be perceived as having limited value beyond their fellow travelers or family members. Irrespective of the motivation of the traveler, these collections often end up in repositories. How an archivist deals with this material is crucial to its future use.

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Memory, History, and Ego-Histoire

Narrating and Re-enacting the Australian Freedom Ride

Ann Curthoys

This article explores the intersections between history, memoir, and collective memory. It re ects on my experience of writing, as both historian and former participant, about the 1965 Australian Freedom Ride, which protested racial discrimination against Aboriginal people. It also traces the ways in which memory of and discourse about that event has changed over time: how it was and is remembered and understood, and the di erent uses made of the event by Aboriginal people, educators, and historians.

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War and Memory

The Israeli Communist Commemoration of the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1986

Amir Locker-Biletzki

The Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939 aroused strong responses in the Jewish Yishuv in Palestine. The support for the Spanish Republic—prevalent in the Zionist left as well as among the Communists—resulted in young Jews and Arabs volunteering to fight in Spain. These volunteers, primarily Jewish Communists, became part of a cult created around the war by the Communist Party. This article will examine the content of this cult while relating it to parallel groups in the West and in East Germany. Through this analysis, the ideological elements, heroes, modes of memory, and dissemination of the memory of the war will be explored.

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Felicitas Macgilchrist, Barbara Christophe and Alexandra Binnenkade

This special issue of the Journal of Educational Media, Memory and Society explores memory practices and history education. The first point of departure for the texts collated here is that memory (whichever concept we use from the current range including collective memory, cultural memory, social memory, connected memory, prosthetic memory, multidirectional memory, travelling memory and entangled memory) is a site of political contestation, subject formation, power struggle, knowledge production, and community-building. Our second point of departure is that history education is a site where teachers and pupils as members of distinct generations engage with textbooks and other materials as specific forms of memory texts that guide what should be passed on to the younger generation. As editors, we solicited papers that investigate how what counts as “worth remembering” in a given context is reproduced, negotiated and/or interrupted in classrooms and other educational practices. This introduction aims to sketch the overarching understanding of memory practices which guide the contributions, to point to the purchase of attending explicitly to the “doing” of memory, to highlight the difference between our approach to history education and approaches focusing on historical thinking, and to introduce the six articles.

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Educating Educators of Memory

Reflections on an InSite Teaching Program

Joanne Sayner

This article reports on a continuing professional development program run by the Imperial War Museum in London for educators involved in teaching about European memories. On the basis of two sites visited in Hungary which were elements of the educational program, the Memorial Shoes on the Danube Promenade and the Memento Statue Park, this article suggests that Alison Landsberg's concept of prosthetic memory can be applied to these sculptural monuments. It explores the political potential of empathy in transmitting diverse European pasts and of mapping individual performative responses to less familiar cultural contexts.