Research: Looking deeper into the meanings of “memory”

I’ve been looking into the idea of memory, and have discovered some fascinating texts that discuss interpretations of memory, history, and oral stories. In one book, memory and history are compared to “colliding worlds” (attributed to Sam Wineburg), a comparison that I think is really quite striking in its imagery. Geoffrey Cubitt is leery to use the word memory as an overarching catch-all when discussing history. In his book History and Memory, Cubitt says that “if we must regard [memory] as a thing, we should think of it as a thing like a chemical element, never appearing in a pure state, but always mixed up in other things.”

Cubitt goes on to argue that, “memory is not, in the end, a thing to be pinned down, like a moth in a cabinet…we approach an understanding of [memory] through the use of models, through analogy, through metaphor.” I think that art and its role in memory is a very important vein of thought to consider in my own film. Film, in its nature, lends itself to visual metaphors and transience, and I think that’s why it is such an interesting way to talk about memory. I hope to have such a dialogue in my film.

Below I’ve listed some of the other texts I have been reading for inspiration/research:

History and Memory, Geoffrey Cubitt

Homestead, William Serrin

Talking Steel Towns, Ellie Wymard

Articulating the Values of Labor and Laboring: Civic Rhetoric and Heritage Tourism, James Catano

The Oxford Handbook of Oral History, edited by Donald A. Ritchie


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