Lecture image placeholder

Premium content

Access to this content requires a subscription. You must be a premium user to view this content.

Monthly subscription - $9.99Pay per view - $4.99Access through your institutionLogin with Underline account
Need help?
Contact us
Lecture placeholder background
VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/kwyp-dk48

technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Changing Battles in a Decade of Centenaries in Ireland: The Role of Ritual in the Transmission of Historical Narrative


material culture/materiality

human rights


Over the past four decades, history, memory, and trauma have become privileged idioms through which political battles of all sorts are carried out (Comaroff and Comaroff 2012). From post-conflict human rights to artistic productions, and from textbooks to debates over reparations, politics increasingly revolves around felicitous performances of the past in the public sphere. This ongoing “memory boom” has inspired varying reactions from anthropologists (Winter 2001). For some, the demands of subaltern groups for political communities to recognize and respond to colonial and racialized state violence offers a potential corrective to long-denied truths (Sanford 2003). For others, the rise of identity-based-memory practices threatens to disrupt the critical, disciplined work of professional historians to discern past truths (Berliner 2005). Still others question the possibility of any historicist commitment to the truth (Palmié 2013). Yet even as this debate over the epistemological status of memory rages on, the object of analysis remains largely the same as it was at the dawn of memory studies: for the vast majority of anthropologists and policy makers alike, memory is a narrative that groups tell themselves in order to define their identity in the present (Halbwachs 1980). Taking as our point of departure Trouillot’s provocation to look at the “burden of the concrete” (1995, 22), this panel seeks to move beyond abstract debates over the epistemological status of memory and history in order to center the material conditions through which artists, activists, and scholars produce experiences of truth about and responsibility for past violence. In focusing on the materiality of historical experience, we call attention to the relationships of past and present, truth and trust through which the past becomes present in diverse ethnographic settings. This panel asks: How do certain concrete sites of historical production come to matter or be neglected in the process of historical production? How do varied media - be they documents, archives, monuments, bodies, virtual spaces, or artistic productions - not only convey narratives about the past but also shape people’s experience of the past in the present? And how do these material sites become venues for building trust or expressing suspicion about the truth-values of history? Further, how do these sites shape commemorative practices and how do those practices in turn shape the quality and experience of the site?


Transcript English (automatic)

Next from AAA Annual Meeting 2021

Memories in the Flesh: Reconstructing Palestinian History in Exile
technical paper

Memories in the Flesh: Reconstructing Palestinian History in Exile

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

Michal Ran-Rubin

18 November 2021

Similar lecture

Building Past-Futures: Implications of Competing Constructions of the Past for (Non-)Independence in Kanaky/New Caledonia
technical paper

Building Past-Futures: Implications of Competing Constructions of the Past for (Non-)Independence in Kanaky/New Caledonia

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

Chris Green

18 November 2021

Stay up to date with the latest Underline news!

Select topic of interest (you can select more than one)


  • All Lectures
  • For Librarians
  • Resource Center
  • Free Trial
Underline Science, Inc.
1216 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001, USA

© 2023 Underline - All rights reserved