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Cultural Memory and Memory Cultures (1)

Cultural Memory and Memory Cultures: Devices, media (literature, art, ritual, architecture, music, and historiography as memory), institutions, and functions.

In memory cultures, a common 'past' is constructed and interpreted from the stance of the relative 'present,' the 'present' is logically placed within a time-line, and the 'future' given a situated perspective. Cultural memory is a type of collective "Sinnbildung über Zeiterfahrung" (Rüsen). This process of constructing collective memories' content – which itself varies over time and across cultures – fullfils essential functions within culture, such as the transmittal of values and norms, or the foundation and stabilization of collective (social, ethnic, national) identities.

GGK's Section 1 brings together historians, literary scholars, orientalists, and political scientists to discuss the forms and functions of collective memory construction and work with the defining theories of memory from cultural studies. It is particularly in conjunction with the computer age, with the medial paradigm shift and widespread habits of information sharing, that the challenges of tracking memory culture across innovations in recording, storing, and transmission become more pressing than ever. At the heart of the section's work is the collaborative analysis of the media of collective memories, their characteristics in different cultural contexts, and their historical development and social functions.


Section leader:

  • Jan Rupp