Memory and History: Understanding Memory as Source and Subject (Routledge Guides to Using Historical Sources)

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9780415677127: Memory and History: Understanding Memory as Source and Subject (Routledge Guides to Using Historical Sources)

How does the historian approach memory and how do historians use different sources to analyze how history and memory interact and impact on each other?

Memory and History explores the different aspects of the study of this field. Taking examples from Europe, Australia, the USA and Japan and treating periods beyond living memory as well as the recent past, the volume highlights the contours of the current vogue for memory among historians while demonstrating the diversity and imagination of the field.

Each chapter looks at a set of key historical and historiographical questions through research-based case studies:

  • How does engaging with memory as either source or subject help to illuminate the past?
  • What are the theoretical, ethical and/or methodological challenges that are encountered by historians engaging with memory in this way, and how might they be managed?
  • How can the reading of a particular set of sources illuminate both of these questions?

The chapters cover a diverse range of approaches and subjects including oral history, memorialization and commemoration, visual cultures and photography, autobiographical fiction, material culture, ethnic relations, the individual and collective memories of war veterans. The chapters collectively address a wide range of primary source material beyond oral testimony – photography, monuments, memoir and autobiographical writing, fiction, art and woodcuttings, ‘everyday’ and ‘exotic’ cultural artefacts, journalism, political polemic, the law and witness testimony.

This book will be essential reading for students of history and memory, providing an accessible guide to the historical study of memory through a focus on varied source materials.

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About the Author:

Joan Tumblety teaches History at the University of Southampton. Her previous publications include, Remaking the male body: masculinity and the uses of physical culture in interwar and Vichy France (OUP, 2012) and she is currently working on health cures in early to mid-twentieth century France.


'Now that memory studies have become mainstream in historical scholarship, there is a glaring need for this well organized and engaging introduction to the sophisticated theory and methods that undergird them. Tumblety has produced a work that is the ideal starting point for anyone interested in the burgeoning field of historical memory.'

W. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina, USA

"Memory and History leaves this reader with the impression that work with sources of and about memory is charged with dilemmas of interpretation, ethics, scale and truth―and therein lies its strength. This primer does much to present the current state of the field and the role of oral sources in working with historical memory. It encourages students to make their own contributions to meaningful ongoing debates."

 Rosamund Johnston, New York University, USA

"[This] book appropriately strives not to reify memory but to historicize it and to locate its complexities in historical processes."

Sean Field, University of Cape Town, South Africa



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