Things to Remember: Materiality, Memory and Identity
We remember the past materially. That is to say, the objects with which we surround ourselves are laden with memories. Some objects we preserve, others we throw away. Certain objects we cherish as our inheritance, while we are less attached to others. When we recall the past or want to share a memory with friends and family, we use photographs or souvenirs that we bought on a holiday trip. Over time, these objects will define what we will remember of the past, as well as how we remember it. Likewise, memorials and monuments are collective expressions of the will to remember particular events and, simultaneously, forget others that we deem less important or too disturbing to recall. Still, sometimes events that we choose to forget about manifest themselves unexpectedly in the form of objects we come across in the depth of wardrobes and drawers while moving house or, in a radically different context, a mass grave giving evidence of genocide at an unlikely location. While we reconnect with the past through objects, recent theories of material culture demonstrate that the material world is not simply a tool for us to remember but it can also build memories on its own. Recent scientific achievements, as well as the advance and ubiquity of digital devices at our disposal, bear testament to the ability of objects to remember for us, rather than we remembering through them.
This summer course aims to introduce students into cutting-edge research that combines the recent achievements of Cultural Memory Studies and Material Culture Studies. Collectively known as the material turn in the humanities and social sciences, the recent upsurge of interest in materiality has given rise to a variety of theories, ranging from Bill Brown's "Thing Theory" through various forms of New Materialism, that have significantly influenced research into cultural memory over the past years. This course sets out to acquaint students with this rich body of research and theory in the form of lectures and seminars. In addition, the layered history of the city of Nijmegen and its surroundings yields a variety material remains to explore from the ancient Romans to the memorialization of the city's destruction during World War II. We will visit these sites in the form of field trips designed to apply and "test out" the theories discussed in classroom settings.
After this course you are able to:
- Reflect critically on diverse practices of remembering in the material world
- Identify the role of power relations in practices of memory
- Apply theoretical perspectives and methodological tools to studying memory and materiality to diverse cultural contexts
- Raise questions and articulate problems pertinent to the fields of Memory Studies and Material Culture Studies
- Advanced bachelor
For whom is this course designed
The course caters to a wide range of students interested in cultural memory, history, anthropology, archaeology, and material culture. Students with a background in the humanities as well as the social and natural sciences will equally benefit from the course.
Students are expected to have completed at least two years of their BA studies and should have a good command of English (at least B2).
Dr. László Munteán
Cultural Studies (ACW)
The course fee includes the registration fee, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.
€ 360 early bird - deadline 1 April 2017 (10%)
€ 340 partner + RU discount (15%)
€ 300 early bird + partner discount (25%)
Number of EC
2 ECTS credits
For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.
This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here: