Memory Studies and the Politics of Memory

Memory Studies and the Politics of Memory

The memory studies research cluster is made up of faculty staff, postdoctoral research fellows and postgraduate students working on cultural, political and transnational aspects of memory studies that span several continents, from the eighteenth century to the present day, often from an interdisciplinary perspective. Focal points include literary, cultural, comparative, gender and postcolonial studies, as well as film and media studies, critical theory, history, art history, politics, linguistics, English studies and psychology.



The Memory Studies research cluster, which is based in the Department of German Studies, has developed in recent years to become a significant faculty-wide group at Nottingham, as well as doing collaborative research with regional partners. It cooperates closely with colleagues at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Birmingham’s Memory Group. Many members are also part of the CAS (Centre for Advanced Studies) remembrance group. The cluster’s activities bring together researchers working on national and transnational aspects of memory, such as: European Fascisms and the Holocaust; the legacy of World War II in Europe and Japan; the Soviet Union; the former Yugoslavia; Post-Soviet Russia; (the demise of) the German Democratic Republic; colonialism and postcolonial migration; testimony and life writing; the genocide in Rwanda; British war memories; (gendered) narratives of catastrophe (9/11) and trauma; diasporic memories of South Asian American women; protest memory in the US; material legacies of problematic pasts in landscape; mnemonic spaces and urban memories; and memory in post-conflict cultures in Europe, the Americas, Africa and China.




Activities of the Research Cluster

Cluster activities include research symposia, conferences, and public engagement events, as well as regular workshops at which contributors meet around 8-10 times in each academic year.

International symposium “Memory and Postcolonial Studies: Synergies and New Directions ” (University of Nottingham, 10 June 2016), co-hosted with Nottingham’s Research Priority “Area Languages, Texts and Society ”.

Register for Memory and Postcolonial Studies symposium

Past events:

In September 2013 the cooperation with the University of Birmingham resulted in a joint workshop on “Genre and MemoryPDF file icon co-organised by Genre Studies Network (GSN) (UoB), Memory Group (UoB) and Memory Studies and the Politics of Memory (UoN).

Workshop on ‘Testimonies’, 23 June 2014 (UoB/UoN Research Sandpit Award) Abstract PDF file icon

One major international 3-day conference on Transcultural/Transnational Memories in 2015

Future activities:

The research group has been awarded AHRC funding for a network on “Culture and its Uses as Testimony”. The programme of activities will be announced shortly.



Significant results

Selected publications of the Reseach Cluster

Dirk Göttsche (German Studies), Remembering Africa. The Rediscovery of Colonialism in Contemporary German Literature (Rochester/NY: Camden House 2013).

Dirk Göttsche (German Studies), 'Colonialism and National Socialism. Intersecting Memory Discourses in Post-War and Contemporary German Literature',  Gegenwartsliteratur. Ein germanistisches Jahrbuch, 9 (2010), 217-242.

Dirk Göttsche (German Studies), 'The Place of Romanticism in the Literary Memory of the Anti-Napoleonic Wars (1848-1914): Roquette, Raabe, Jensen', in Dirk Göttsche und Nicholas Saul (eds), Realism and Romanticism in German Literature. (Bielefeld: Aisthesis 2013), pp. 341-384.

Paul D Grainge (Culture, Film and Media) (ed.), Memory and Popular Film (Manchester: Manchester University Press 2003).

Nicki Hitchcott (French and Francophone Studies), 'Between Remembering and Forgetting: (In)Visible Rwanda in Gilbert Gatore's Le Passé devant soi', Research in African Literatures 44(2) 2013,79-90.

Nigel Hunt (Medicine: Psychiatry/Applied Psychology), Memory, War and Trauma (Cambridge: CUP, 2010).

Katya Krylova (German Studies), Walking Through History: Topography and Identity in the Works of Ingeborg Bachmann and Thomas Bernhard (Oxford, Bern et al.: Peter Lang 2013).

Bram Mertens and Cristian Karner (German Studies/Politics) (eds), The Use and Abuse of Memory: Interpreting World War II in Contemporary European Politics (Somerset, NJ/US: Transaction Publishers 2013).

Franziska Meyer (German Studies) 'Sommerhaus, früher: Jenny Erpenbecks "Heimsuchung" als Korrektur von Familienerinnerungen', Gegenwartsliteratur. Ein germanistisches Jahrbuch 11 (2012), 324-343.

Franziska Meyer (German Studies), 'German writers remember 9/11: Katharina Hacker’s "The Have-Nots"', in Lucy Bond and Jessica Rapson (eds): The Transcultural Turn: Interrogating Memory Between and Beyond Borders (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 2014), pp 209-223.

Bill Niven (NTU, History), 'From countermemorial to combimemorial: developments in German memorialisation', Journal Of War And Culture Studies 6 (1) 2013, 75-91.

Bill Niven (NTU, History) and Stefan Berger (Ruhr Universität Bochum) (eds), Writing the History of Memory (New York: Bloomsbury 2014).

David Norris (Russian and Slavonic Studies) – is currently working on a book project: Haunted Serbia: Narratives of Memory, History and War.

Gareth Stockey (Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, Nottingham), Valley of the Fallen: The (n)ever changing face of General Franco’s monument (Nottingham: Critical, Cultural and Communications Press 2013).

Teodora Todorova (Culture, Film and Media) ‘Bearing Witness to Al Nakba in a Time of Denial’ in Dina Matar and Zahera Harb (eds): Narrating Conflict in the Middle East: Discourse, Image and Communication Practices in Lebanon and Palestine (London: I.B. Taurus 2013), pp 248-270.

Teodora Todorova (Culture, Film and Media), ‘Book Review of ‘Recording Memories from Political Violence: A Filmmaker’s Journey’ by Cahal McLaughlin (2010)’, Journal of Media Practice, 12 (2), 2012, 202-205.

Teodora Todorova (Culture, Film and Media) ‘Giving Memory a Future’: confronting the legacy of mass rape in post-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina’, in Journal of International Women’s Studies, 12 (2), 2011, 3-15.

Roger Woods (with Birgit Dahlke and Dennis Tate) (German) (eds), German Life Writing in the Twentieth Century (New York: Camden House, 2010). 



Doctoral Research

Past and present topics for postgraduate reseach

Shashi Assella:South Asian American women's fiction: Identity formation and creation of the South Asian American women in the diaspora through memory and nostalgia (Spanish Portuguese and Latin American Studies)

Helen Budd: Memory and the politics of gender: East and West German narratives of the Deutsche Wehrmacht in war novels and films of the 1950s (German Studies)

Jesse Gardiner (2013): Memorialisation of playwrights in the Soviet Union during the thaw (Russian and Slavonic Studies)

Catherine Gilbert: Writing Trauma: Silence in Rwandan Women’s Testimonial Literature (French and Francophone Studies)

Jenny Graaf (2013): After the Expulsions: The Lost German Heimat in Memory, Monuments and Museums (German Studies)

Ute Hirsekorn (2008): Autobiographical Texts of GDR State Officials and Party Functionaries - Aspects of a Leadership Mentality (German Studies)

Sophia Mason: Women, political struggle and testimonio (Spanish Portuguese and Latin American Studies)

Jing Meng: Negotiation of modernity in China: Reconstructing the past on screen (Culture Film and Media/Critical Theory)

Dagmar Paulus (2013): (Anti-) Heroism and the Politics of Memory: Wilhelm Raabe’s Historical Novellas (German Studies)

Stefanie Petschik (2013): British War Memory as Discourse: The Interrelation of Nationalism and Biopolitics (Critical Theory)

Victoria Smith (2008): Representations of Memory in Transition: National Socialism in Contemporary (Auto)Biographical Writing in German (German Studies)

Benjamin Taylor: The use of photography in Nabokov's memoir and narrative fiction (Russian and Slavonic Studies)

Laura Todd: National mythologies and the remembrance of the past by young people in Russia and Serbia through film (Russian and Slavonic Studies)

Sachiyo Tsukamoto: Creations of collective memories of the “comfort women” in Japan and the role of international and domestic NGOs (History)



Memory Studies and the Politics of Memory

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

The University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD