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Hey all, I'm looking to start reading some seminal works on memory and history to see if it can be adapted for ancient/Roman history. Anyone have some suggestions for the groundbreaking works of the study of memory for more modern history?

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Hi ! I'm no expert and I have never read this book (ok this is starting off bad, lol) but I vaguely remember one of my POIs at Emory writing something on memory. Clifton Crais. Entitled "History Lessons" but his other work is primarily on South Africa so not sure of the connection but I hope this helps you.

Cheers!

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Hey all, I'm looking to start reading some seminal works on memory and history to see if it can be adapted for ancient/Roman history. Anyone have some suggestions for the groundbreaking works of the study of memory for more modern history?

 

A lot of medieval stuff incorporates modern theory; check Smail, Daniel Lord. Imaginary Cartographies: Possession and Identity in Late Medieval Marseille. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000; Brown, Warren, Marios Costambeys, Matthew Innes, and Adam J. Kosto, eds. Documentary Culture and the Laity in the Early Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013; French, Katherine L. The People of the Parish: Community Life in a Late Medieval English Diocese. The Middle Ages Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001.

 

Also see much of the work of Amy Remensnyder, e.g. “Topographies of Memory: Center and Periphery in High Medieval France.” In Medieval Concepts of the Past: Ritual, Memory, Historiography, edited by Gerd Althof, Johannes Fried, and Patrick Geary, 193–214. Publications of the German Historical Institute. Washington: German Historical Institute, 2002.

 

A personal favorite of mine, and the best-written history book I've ever read is Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

 

I am assuming you've already read Clanchy, M. T. From Memory to Written Record: England, 1066-1307. 3rd ed. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.

Edited by telkanuru
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"Logically, there is no reason why the English language could not perfectly well render the actuality of trench warfare: it is rich in terms like blood, terror, madness, shit, cruelty, murder, sell-out, pain and hoax, as well as phrases like legs blown off, intestines gushing over his hands, screaming all night, bleeding to death from the rectum, and the like.

 

Logically, one supposes, there's no reason why a language devised by man should be inadequate to describe any of man's works." (184)

 

I mean damn.

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Tessa Morris-Suzuki is an amazing historian of modern Japan and Korea who works on memory. She recently wrote an article called "Heroes, Collaborators and Survivors: Korean Kamikaze Pilots and the Ghosts of War in Japan and Korea," which can be found in the book East Asia Beyond the History Wars. I would recommend it as a brief read that is very much worth the time.

Edited by L13
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I know these are out of your period, but two great books that talk about memory and history are David Blight's Race and Reunion and Grace Cho's Haunting the Korean Diaspora. Blight is a beautiful writer, and Cho's book is intense--it discusses transgeneration trauma due to memories of violence passed down by victims of the Korean War.

I actually have a list of books recommended to me by a prof whose work is primarily in memory studies, if I can find it I'll send it to you :)

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I took a class on defeat and memory that juxtaposed the civil war and Germany after WWII, not your topic but I can scrounge up the reading list. (Race and Reunion was actually one of the books.) I ended up writing about post-colonial Korea and remember using a really good book called Aesthetic Constructions of Korean Nationalism by Hong Kal.

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Seconding Race and Reunion. I also really like Brenda Childs Holding Our World Together.

 

IU's Center for History and Memory has a really great book list to start mining: http://www.indiana.edu/~cshm/books.htmlThey also publish a journal on the topic, which might have some articles by people working in your period.

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You may know about this already, but just in case: there was a recent edited volume titled Memory and History: Understanding Memory as Source and Subject, edited by Joan Tumblety. As someone who knew very little about 'memory studies', I felt it was a pretty good introduction. There is actually an essay in that volume about ancient Greece, so that might be of interest especially since you are looking to adapt this to Roman history.

 

There is also a great journal called History and Memory. It might be worth browsing through some recent issues to see what the state of the field is now and what kinds of work people are doing.

 

Finally, a lot of new theory work on memory is actually coming from Trauma theory and theories of historical trauma. This is pretty heavy-duty theory that I'm not very well-versed in. But, a good introduction is Trauma: Explorations in Memory, edited by Cathy Caruth. Be forewarned, though, that this requires delving into some very complicated Lacanian and Freudian critical theory work.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I second Blight's Race and Reunion. If you wanted to check out some theoretical works on history and memory, here are a few I used in preparing to begin a dissertation on historical memory:

 

Assmann, Jan, and John Czaplicka. “Collective Memory and Cultural Identity.” New German Critique 65 (1995): 125–133.

 

Burke, Peter. “History as Social Memory.” In Memory: History, Culture and the Mind, edited by Thomas Butler, 97–114. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1989.

 

Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook. De Gruyter, 2008.

 

Halbwachs, Maurice. On Collective Memory. Translated by Lewis A Coser. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1992.

 

Hutton, Patrick H. “Mnemonic Schemes in the New History of Memory.” History and Theory 36, no. 3 (1997): 378–391.

 

Hutton, Patrick H. “Recent Scholarship on Memory and History.” The History Teacher 33, no. 4 (2000): 533–548.

 

The Collective Memory Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

 

Till, Karen E. “Memory Studies.” History Workshop Journal 62, no. 1 (January 1, 2006): 325–341.

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A real classic and influential work, I think, is Yosef Yershulami's Zakhor 

http://www.amazon.com/Zakhor-Jewish-History-Lectures-Studies/dp/0295975199

 

He does cover the ancient period, medieval period, early modern, and modern. 

I second Zakhor as being a must-read. 

Something I also read that was amazing was James Young's At Memory's Edge: After-Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture. He looks at problems of history/memory through contemporary architecture and memorials. 

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A lot of modern First world War books deal with history and memory, especially in Canada. It was through the war that Canada truly became and independent country. There are quite a few books that discuss different ways the war has been remembered over time. One that comes to mind is Jonathan Vance's Death so Noble: Memory, Meaning and the First World War.

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Mary Carruthers- The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture

 

Mary Carruthers and Jan M. Ziolkowski, editors- The Medieval Craft of Memory: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures

 

More medieval based, but excellent!

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