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.
Teaching as a Discursive Node
The Rotterdam Bombardment in Local Memory Culture and Education from 1980 to 2015
This article analyses three local educational projects about the Nazi bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940, all of which took place from 1980 to the present day in the context of the dynamic memory culture of the bombardment. These three contexts testify to a process by which memory, increasingly derived from authentic locations and objects instead of individual memories, is put to use in education. Moreover, increased awareness of the disappearance of eyewitness generations means that young people are becoming key consumers and auxiliary producers of memory.
On Reproducing, Destabilizing and Interrupting Majority Memories
Johanna Ahlrichs, Katharina Baier, Barbara Christophe, Felicitas Macgilchrist, Patrick Mielke and Roman Richtera
This article draws on memory studies and media studies to explore how memory practices unfold in schools today. It explores history education as a media- saturated cultural site in which particular social orderings and categorizations emerge as commonsensical and others are contested. Describing vignettes from ethnographic fieldwork in German secondary schools, this article identifies different memory practices as a nexus of pupils, teachers, blackboards, pens, textbooks, and online videos that enacts what counts as worth remembering today: reproduction; destabilization without explicit contestation; and interruption. Exploring mediated memory practices thus highlights an array of (often unintended) ways of making the past present.
Reflections on the Temporal and Visual Enframings of Violence in the Museum of Memory in Uruguay
The "museums of memory" (museos de la memoria) have become ambiguous and con ictive sites that articulate the demand for remembrance and oblivion as regards the recent past of state authoritarianism and dictatorships in Latin America. This article seeks to disentangle ways of reading one of these spaces of memory, the Museo de la Memoria in Montevideo, Uruguay, paying special attention to a particular exhibition wing entitled The Prisons and to a temporary art installation by Daniel Jorysz, entitled Ver … dad, exhibited in an open space adjacent to the museum from September to November 2010. Analyzing the museum collection and establishing a counterpoint with the art installation, the article searches for the ways in which (hi)stories are made perceptible within these practices both on the inside and outside, and expose the conflicts that arise in the process.
Intergenerational Remembrance in Post-communist Romania
Codruta Alina Pohrib
This article traces different appropriations of intergenerational memory in post-communist Romania in three non-formal educational texts: the pop-up book The Golden Age for Children; Ȋn faţa blocului (Outside the apartment building), a collection of outdoor games that defined the generations of the 1970s and 1980s; and Elev în Comunism (Students during the communist regime), which comprises first person narratives by teenagers imagining their lives as pupils under communism. I flesh out the stakes involved in correcting, repurposing, or capitalizing on nostalgic remembrances of the communist past, which are or may be passed on to children by their parents who grew up under communism, paying close attention to expectations from and pressures on the family as a privileged site of memory transmission.
Opportunities and Challenges to Breaching Hegemonic Remembering
This article is an epistemological reflection on memory practices in the construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of collective memories of a historical event involving collective violence and conflict in formal and informal spaces of education. It focuses on the 1947 British India Partition of Punjab. The article engages with multiple memory practices of Partition carried out through personal narrative, interactions between Indian and Pakistani secondary school pupils, history textbook contents, and their enactment in the classroom by teachers. It sheds light on the complex dynamic between collective memory and history education about events of violent conflict, and explores opportunities for and challenges to intercepting hegemonic remembering of a violent past.
Taking as its starting point the current debate over the significance of history in the National Curriculum for England, this article examines the place of the country's colonial past in its national culture of memory. In the context of debates about educational policy and the politics of memory concerning Britain's colonial heritage, the author focuses on the transmission and interpretation of this heritage via school history textbooks, which play a key role in the politics of memory. This medium offers insight into transformations of the country's colonial experience that have taken place since the end of the British Empire. School textbooks do not create and establish these transformations in isolation from other arenas of discourse about the culture of memory by reinventing the nation. Instead, they reflect, as part of the national culture of memory, the uncertainties and insecurities emerging from the end of empire and the decolonization of the British nation's historical narrative.
Reflections on an InSite Teaching Program
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.
Framing 30 June 1941 in Wikipedia
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.
Teresa Oteíza, Rodrigo Henríquez and Claudio Pinuer
The purpose of this article is to examine history classroom interactions in Chilean secondary schools in relation to the transmission of historical memories of human rights violations committed by Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship from 1973 to 1990. Corpora of this research are comprised of history lessons filmed in the two types of public schools that coexist in the Chilean educational system, namely government subsidized and partially subsidized schools. This research draws on linguistics resources framed by the sociosemiotic perspective of systemic functional linguistics. We incorporate into this theoretical framework the notions of semantic gravity and semantic density from legitimation code theory in order to understand the variations of levels of specialization and abstraction that build cumulative knowledge and ideological cosmologies when one is dealing with a sensitive and complex aspect of Chilean society.