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Andrea Smith

Since their arrival in France in the early 1960s, former settlers of Algeria have developed an array of private and public “sites of memory” projects that have remained unnoticed in wider French society or have been interpreted uncharitably. This article offers a new perspective on these projects. Informed by Maurice Halbwachs' concern with the material supports for collective memory and Sigmund Freud's insights on loss, I reinterpret them as stages in a work of mourning, and offer new insights on the wider question of France's relationship to its colonial past.

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Naughtiest Girls, Go Girls, and Glitterbombs

Exploding Schoolgirl Fictions

Lucinda McKnight

In this article I consider the white British and Australian schoolgirl through a notionally comparative study of Enid Blyton’s The Naughtiest Girl in the School (1940–1952) series and the contemporary Go Girl (2005–2012) series, texts spanning my lived experience as girl, mother, and teacher. Through incendiary fragments of memory and media, I, as researcher and writer, seek the girl addressed by these texts and consider the struggles, denials, and ambivalences that produce and are produced by reading the schoolgirl. This girl resists historical determinism, coalescing as contemporaneous past, present, and future as the reader performs her own girlhood through reading and writing. This creative analytical article notices the visual and physical manifestations of texts, as well as their linguistic discourses. Through this work, we perceive postfeminist entanglement in the ongoing re-configuration of the schoolgirl, with implications for policy and practice in education and for cultural and girlhood studies.

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“Communists” on the shop floor

Anticommunism, crisis, and the transformation of labor in Bulgaria

Dimitra Kofti

This article discusses perceptions of continuity and change as viewed from the shop floor of a privatized postsocialist factory. Neoliberal templates have reshaped the organization of production and resulted in a fragmentation of the workforce and new inequalities. These shifts, which have become main topic of everyday workplace conversation, have not generated critical commentary on wider encompassing neoliberal inequalities. Instead, critique has centered on the inequalities of “communism”. Workers talk about radical upheavals and successive crises but also emphasize significant continuities of power that have bridged socialism and neoliberal capitalism. Thus, even pro-market, neoliberal practices and forms of power are often described as “communist”, situated within an entrenched establishment that originated in the socialist era. Therefore, criticisms of neoliberal transformations are often framed in terms of an anticommunist rhetoric.

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Handmade Identities

Girls, Dolls and DIY

April Renée Mandrona

This article examines the connection between two discrete areas of inquiry—the study of dolls as it relates to the identity of young girls, and the contemporary DIY (do-it-yourself) craft movement. I identify how the activity of DIY doll-making might be useful for thinking about what it means to be a girl in relation to its offering a departure from the hyper-commercialized, ready-made dolls of the twenty-first century. The commercial doll has existed alongside its counterpart, the homemade doll, since the beginning of industrialization. In different ways both forms of the doll have played a significant role in the lives of young girls and they continue to shape both collective and individual identities associated with what we think of as being a girl. Tracing the act of doll-making and the residual influence of craft movements in my own childhood, I explore this notion of dynamic identity formation: I examine doll-making as a medium for artistic creation and narrative development with the potential to transform girlhood identities.

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On Memory Work in Post-communist Europe

A Case Study on Romania's Ways of Remembering its Pronatalist Past

Lorena Anton

Taking the memory of pronatalism in contemporary Romania as a case study, this article is an attempt to view the national politics of memory of contemporary Europe with regard to its communist past from an anthropological perspective. From 1966 to 1989, the communist regime imposed extreme policies of controlled demography in Romania, as it was imputed, for 'the good of the socialist nation'. Profamily measures were developed in parallel to the banning of abortion on request and the making of contraception almost inaccessible. The social remembering of such a difficult past is still a taboo in contemporary Romanian society. This general lack of public remembering, which is still playing a role in the current situation of Romania's reproductive health, is influenced by the interrelations between the different forms of pronatalist memory. The analysis is based on oral history fieldwork conducted between 2003 and 2008, and is theoretically informed by the interdisciplinary field of Memory Studies.

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Conceptual History, Memory, and Identity

An Interview with Reinhart Koselleck

Javiér Fernández Sebastián, Juan Francisco Fuentes and Reinhart Koselleck

Among the many subjects you have worked on throughout your career, we would like to concentrate on those related to the methodology of intellectual history, especially conceptual history. We will then go on to make you a few questions about your recent work on memory and identity.

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Helmut Peitsch and Joanne Sayner

This article examines two chapters from Martin Sabrow's 2009 edited volume Erinnerungsorte der DDR, one on antifascism and one on Buchenwald. These two case studies exemplify the complexities of the contemporary German memorial landscape. In particular, they thematize the remembrance of the Nazi past in the German Democratic Republic and how this GDR past has, in turn, been tendentiously remembered since unification. By examining the layering of memories in these two chapters, we argue that the theoretical models which often underpin contemporary German memory work, Sabrow's volume included, serve to obscure the role of the state as carrier of official memory. On the basis of this study, we show that concepts dominant in today's Germany promote a unified national narrative. In particular, terms such as the “culture of memory” (Erinnerungskultur) and cultural memory (kulturelles Gedächtnis) downplay conflicting, contentious and diverse memories relating to the GDR past. As such, the article provides a timely note of caution for memory studies and memory work, which increasingly applies these models to wider, non-German contexts.

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Eric Langenbacher

The Federal Republic of Germany—both before and after 1989—has been influenced deeply by collective memories of the Nazi period and the Holocaust, a seemingly "unmasterable past." In a first phase after unification, memory trends, which had their origin in the mid 1980s, continued, but a second period, beginning around the 1999 move of the capital back to Berlin, however, witnessed the erosion of this older trend and the delayed rise of new memory dynamics. Substantively, there have been three vectors of memory concerning Nazi crimes, German suffering, and the period of division, especially regarding the German Democratic Republic. In this article, I outline the major collective memory dynamics and debates, first from a qualitative and then from a more quantitative perspective where I analyze the holdings of the German National Library. I conclude that an intense period of memory work characterized the postunification years, but the peak of concern was reached several years ago and the German future will be much less beholden to the past. Given inevitable normalizing trends and the unintended consequences of the hegemony of Holocaust memory, Germany's difficult historical legacy increasingly appears to be disappearing or even mastered.

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Soixante ans après

pour un état des lieux de mémoire

Nathan Bracher

In reviewing various commemorations that highlighted the year 2005 in France, this article points out the major evolutions of memory visible primarily in the press and media coverage of these events. If public memory remains as highly charged and polemical as it was in the 1980s and 1990s, attention is clearly turning away from the Occupation and Vichy to focus more on Europe and on France's colonial past, as we see not only in the ceremonies celebrating the "liberation" of Auschwitz, the Allied victory over Nazi Germany, and the dedication of the Mémorial de la Shoah, but also in the many articles devoted to Russian and Eastern European experiences of the war, as well as to the bloody postwar repressions of colonial uprisings in Algeria and Madagascar. Now that racial and ethnic tensions are exacerbating an increasingly fragmented public memory, the work of history is more urgent than ever.

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Lia Friesem

More than other collective memories, the Holocaust is the most vivid memory in today’s Israeli existence. As a result of comprehensive official and unofficial memory work that utilizes the Holocaust as a political and educational tool, on the one hand, and due to the advent of the new media, on the other, its grip on everyday Israeli reality is only growing stronger. As part of a broader research project focusing on resistive cultural activity on Israeli Twitter, this article makes visible the striking omnipresence of the Holocaust on this social network, while maintaining that many of the ‘Holocaust tweets’ constitute an act of resistance. That is, users are engaged in oppositional decoding in a battle against the hegemonic Holocaust discourse.