Historicising Memory Essay

2010 Words9 Pages
Historicizing Memory: A battle for meaning I. Introduction Since the 1990s, memory studies have become a popular field regrouping specialists of increasingly diverse intellectual expertise. German scholar Aleida Assmann posits that this investment in studying memory can be explained by various factors such as the legacies of great tragedies in the twentieth century (most notably the Holocaust), the fall of “grand narratives” (hastened by the end of the Cold War and the democratisation of former Communist states in Eastern Europe) and by the digital revolution which has challenged previous ways of communication and sharing information. Transitional justice in former dictatorial states notably in Latin America and the ever-increasing importance…show more content…
Historicising Memory: Jelin In a book designed to “problematize, raise questions and to offer reflections that simulate further study and dialogues” Argentine historian and sociologist Elizabeth Jelin gives a thought-provoking discussion on how scholars might apprehend memory. Her emphasis on historicising memory is noteworthy and will be the overarching theme of this essay. While works on collective memory are often interested in the manifestation of such memories (that is, how collective memory is represented), Jelin advances that concern should also be raised on how these very representations change with time and relate to positionality. As she states: “the past is gone, it is already de-termin(at)ed; it cannot be changed. The future, by contrast, is open, uncertain and indeterminate. What can change about the past is its meaning, which is subject to reinterpretations, anchored in intentions and expectation towards the…show more content…
Stern explores how Chileans have struggled to come to terms with their recent violent past following the 1973 coup against Salvador Allende. In each of the three books, Stern centres his analysis on a specific historical interval and reveals the complexity of Chile’s memory battle. In the first addition to the book series, Remembering Pinochet 's Chile: On the Eve of London 1998, Stern studies the memory question in period preceding Pinochet’s 1998 arrest in London. Stern’s very method is one which puts historicisation at its very center. Stern contends
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