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From Saint Sava to Milosevic – The Pantheon of (Anti)heroes in Serbian Presidential Election (2017)

Abstract

This article aims to analyze the presidential campaign in Serbia (2017). It focuses on the presence of different significant figures from Serbian history and culture in the public sphere. It begins by presenting the pantheon of eminent figures in the history of Serbia. Next, the presidential election and its results are briefly described. Then, the text investigates the question what kind of eminent figures, by whom, and in which context were used in the last Serbian presidential campaign. The conclusion summarizes the specifics of the use of historical characters for political aims in that case.

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The Historical Taboo: Colonial Discourses and Postcolonial Identities in Belgium

Abstract

This article examines so-called colonial discourses in Belgium related to the former Sub-Saharan colony owned by Leopold II of Belgium which today is known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) or the Congo-Kinshasa. Having introduced the colonial history of the DR Congo from the 15th century until 1910, the study starts with a discussion of Van den Braembussche’s concept of a ‘historical taboo’ and four ways of engaging with such implicit interdictions. Finally, an empirical analysis of colonial discourses in Belgium from the 1890s until today will be presented in conjunction with Belgium’s linguistic-cultural division, taking into account age-related divergence.

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“Stop … and Remember”: Memory and Ageing in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Novels

Abstract

This article foregrounds representations of ageing and memory within Kazuo Ishiguro’s novels, particularly Never Let Me Go (2005) and, the less critically considered, The Buried Giant (2015). While criticism and reviews touch upon themes of ageing, loneliness, and loss of bodily function, scholars are yet to reveal either the centrality of this to Ishiguro’s work or how this might speak to real-life questions surrounding ageing. Few readers of Never Let Me Go realise that in writing it Ishiguro’s guiding question was ‘how can I get young people to go through the experience of old people’? The arguments here seek to restore such authorly intentions to prominence.

Ishiguro is more interested in socio-cultural meanings of ageing than biologically impoverished memories: this article examines the shifting relationships Ishiguro presents between memory and age as regards what happens to the ways in which memories are valued, and how people might be valuable (or not) for their memories. Interdisciplinary with age studies and social gerontology, this article demonstrates how Ishiguro both contributes to, and contends with, socially constructed concepts of ageing. In refocusing Ishiguro criticism onto reminiscence rather than nostalgia, this article aims to put ageing firmly on the agenda of future research.

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Memories from the Margins: Stories and Images of Urban Homelessness

Abstract

Among any city’s most wounded bodies and minds are the homeless - individuals who live on the streets, without any formal claim to place. For many of these individuals, the vessels of historical memory are not museums, or classrooms, or library archives, but parks, alleyways, and subway stations. As the numbers of homeless individuals increase dramatically each year, their social, physical, and psychological trauma increasingly characterizes urban life, even as their experiences fall to the margins of the city’s history and future. In response, this paper explores the merging of homeless histories with public history, through two interlocking projects carried out in Boston, Massachusetts - “Histories and Homelessness,” a community-based life-writing project, and “Images from the Streets,” a disposable-camera photography project - outreach and education projects, in which all participants are among the unsheltered homeless who spend their nights on heating grates, under highways, and in ATM kiosks. Together, these projects begin to map and make visible the landscape and memories of homelessness, as they are written and photographed by its inhabitants, and firmly situate these histories within the wider community. Recovering the personal and interpretive histories of homeless individuals, so intimately tied to “place,” creates a powerful strategy for expanding the history of the community to include voices and visions often excluded or left at the margins.

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Visualizing the Fight Book Tradition: Collected Martial Knowledge in the Thun-Hohenstein Album

Abstract

The Thun-Hohenstein album, long-known as the Thun’sche Skizzenbuch, is a bound collection of 112 drawings that visualize armoured figures at rest and in combat, as well as empty armours arrayed in pieces. The collection gathers drawings that span the period from the 1470s to around 1590. While most of the images were executed in Augsburg during the 1540s, the album’s three oldest drawings date to the late-fifteenth century. Two of these works, which form a codicological interlude between the first and second quires, find parallels in the illustrations of contemporaneous martial treatises. This article traces the pictorial lineages of these atextual images through comparative analyses of fight books produced in the German-speaking lands, and considers how the representational strategies deployed in martial treatises inflected the ways that book painters and their audiences visualized the armoured body. This exploration situates a manuscript from which one of the drawings derives, Peter Falkner’s Art of Knightly Defense, now in Vienna, within the Augsburg book painters’ workshops that would later give rise to the Thun album. Finally, this study considers how the transmission and representation of martial knowledge in late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Augsburg contributed to the later depictions of armoured bodies that populate the album.

Open access
Ars Memorativa, Ars Oblivionis in Middle English Religious Plays

Abstract

This paper investigates the multi-layered violence of religious representation in the late medieval York biblical plays, with a focus on the Supper at Emmaus. I read Emmaus (Y40), a play which commemorates the Crucifixion and openly encourages strong anti-Judaism, alongside scenes in an early predecessor pageant, The Crucifixion (Y35), within their contemporary devotional and mnemonic practices, i.e. the confessional Book of Margery Kempe and Thomas Bradwardine’s tract on ars memorativa. Emmaus in particular demonstrates how a fundamentally violent ars memorativa, the legacy of ancient rhetoric to the Middle Ages, also underpins the instruction of the laity in the basics of Christian faith, here with the aid of highly musical prosody and repetition, and thereby hones a biased, intolerant and violence-inured Christian collective memory. To study the York play’s position relative to late medieval mnemonic practices, I frame my analysis within memory studies, enriched with the more specific insights offered by social-psychological, neurobiological and cognitivist studies of memory.

Open access