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GCSC KNL | Roundtable: Dynamics of Memory Across Media

Part of GCSC (Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture) Keynote Lecture Series


Jun 17, 2024 from 06:00 to 08:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)


Online only (BBB)

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The rise of digital media and Artificial Intelligence in the 21st century changed the way events are memorialized in the world. Suddenly, it is possible to share massive amounts of photos, videos, reels, and stories — in most cases for free. One can witness in real-time a variety of events ranging from letters and diaries to socially relevant situations, such as wars, demonstrations, and political decision-making processes, among others. The memorialization of events has become instantaneous and more accessible than ever. These acts of memorialization have also had multiple social and cultural implications and effects, from highlighting the struggle of groups, giving voice to activists, and recording the actions of governments and authorities. However, it has also arguably shortened the half-life of these memories, as the next event rolls on.  The variety of topics is extremely wide, as well as the strategies to position a discussion, discourse, opinion, or interpretation. One relevant example, appealing to historical recounts, is the Instagram account of Sophie Scholl, an account promoting a kind of collective memory exercise in Germany[1]. But who is producing what content with which purpose? How does New Media, such as social media and podcasts, challenge, contribute to, and change forms of remembering? Which dynamics can be identified? And how do they relate to old types of media, such as print and broadcast media? These and more questions will be discussed by scholars and students from an interdisciplinary perspective in the Round Table reflecting on the relationship between Media and Dynamics of Memory. The goal of this academic space is to ponder, on the one hand, what Aleida Assmann defines as the “absolute present”[2] through the permanent content creation and consequently memory erasure; on the other hand, the approach of new forms of memorialization as a mechanism to remember everything at any time. Thus, how memory performs in Social Media and Artificial Intelligence and interacts with traditional types of media will be at the core of the discussion, where the forms of memorialization are traced, linked, and disputed, from letters, archives, novels to social media content creation through videos, photographs, and posts that combine the private and public together.



[2] Assmann elaborates on this in her "Texts, traces, trash: The changing media of cultural memory"(1996). While the point is made with regards to the relationship between mass media and totalitarian regime, it could also be applied to the current forms of memorialization using new media


// Prof. Dr. Astrid Erll (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany), Michelle Janning (Whitman College, USA), Prof. Silvana Mandolessi (KU Leuven, Belgium) & Dr. Arththi Sathanathar (University of Groningen, Netherlands)


Organised with Research Area 1 (Cultural Memory Studies), in cooperation with Research Area 5 (Media and Multiliteracy) and Research Area 7 (Global Studies and Politics of Space) & the „Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform“