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PL50785: Memory culture - memory politics

[Page last updated: 05 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: ES 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Essay (ES 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: The unit aims to familiarise students with key theoretical debates in interdisciplinary memory studies and to provide them with an opportunity to apply critically the insights which emerge from these debates to case studies in Europe and beyond. The unit will focus in particular on the role of politics, the state, museums, media and the arts in the fashioning of collective memory, and on the relationship between collective memory and identity construction. It will also familiarise the students with the historical development of different forms of collective memory.

Learning Outcomes: At the end of the unit, students will be able to:
* Critically engage with the insights of memory studies and apply those insights to case studies;
* Analyse the role of different actors in the construction of collective memory as an element of identity construction;
* Assess and interpret the historical development of different forms of collective memory.

Skills: The key skills the unit will hone and further develop are:
* Advanced research skills in identifying, locating and exploiting a wide range of descriptive, evaluative and theoretical literature.
* Intellectual skills of conceptual, original and independent thinking, critical analysis, synthesis and reasoned argument.
* Skills of assessment and judgement in relation to the soundness of competing arguments and scenarios, including the reporting and assessing of data.
* Generic and transferable skills related to the oral and written presentation of ideas.
* Skills of self-direction and time management.

Content: Topics will include: Collective memory and identity construction; collective memory in the transition to industrial modernity; constructing victimhood: from the commemoration of 'the fallen' to the 'traumatic' victim; museums and democracy: constructing the national culture; museums and globalisation: constructing postcolonial identities; memory and representation in cinema; conceptual and multimedia art: absence and trace; reconciliation and the 'politics of apology'; the heritage industry.

Programme availability:

PL50785 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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