Universiteit Leiden

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Modern and Contemporary Studies (1800−Present)

Memory and Identity

Memory and Identity is one of the six research themes of the LUCAS Modern and Contemporary cluster.

In constructing their identities, both collectively and personally, communities and individuals strongly rely on cultural memories. Iconic events, such as conflicts, victories, and moments of intense socio-political change, result in feelings of shared trauma, pride, nostalgia or loss. Such events help construct cultural identities through remembrance and commemoration as well as forgetting and reimagining. These processes are mediated and produced through stories, movement, and artefacts. Narratives, films or monuments not only reflect but also produce memory with different cultural or political effects and affects. Research within this theme aims at furthering our broader societal understanding of memory work and studying how the past is engaged with as a positive resource in building national and transnational communities as well as identities, through projects, for example, on nostalgia, memory of transition, and celebrity studies. The interaction between cultural heritage, memory, and identity is approached by analysing media such as literature, visual arts, film, digital media, archives and museums.

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