Memory and Migration:

multidisciplinary approaches to memory studies

by Julia Creet (Editor), Andreas Kitzmann (Editor)

The link between memory and place has historically attended the study of memory in every sense: in its contents (our attachment to memories of home); in its practices (place as an aid to rote memorization); in its externalizations (monuments and museums); in its linguistic expressions (“I can’t quite place you”); and, in its psychological and physiological theorizations (the conscious and unconscious brain as the loci of memory, firing across well- or little-used synaptic gaps). As Natalie Zemon Davis and Randolph Starns put it, “Proust’s petite Madeleine, Maurice Halbwachs’s seminal work on the ‘social frames’ of collective memory, and even cognitive studies and biological research on the ‘location’ of memory in the brain are all reminders that memory seeks its local habitations.” The contributors to Memory and Migration explore this crucial observation about the locations of memory in relation to a pressing contemporary question: How do we understand memory that has migrated or has been exiled from its local habitations? It would be a simpler question if mobility and distance weren’t generally understood to produce “artificial” memory, or something akin to history. But, in this volume we argue that migration rather than location is the condition of memory. Between times, places, generations and media, from individuals to communities and vice versa, movement is what produces memory—and our anxieties about pinning it to place. How then do we understand the fixity of place in memory, intensified in an age of mass migrations? Now Available in Paperback.

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