By Mieke Bal, Jonathan Crewe, Leo Spitzer
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Extra resources for Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present
In an important shift, Sturken proposes to bracket the issue of falsehood and truth, thereby liberating the question for scrutiny as a case of cultural memory. The lack of match between memory and experience, the evidence that memory can be expanded and displaced, suggest that reexamining this question is also a much-needed intervention in feminist theory. On the basis of the cases she examines, Sturken underlines the narrative nature of memory, and this not as a drawback but as a necessary aspect, helpful in overcoming trauma, yet also amenable to manipulation.
The need for integration of the traumatizing events of the past thus confirms the understanding of cultural memory on which this volume is predicated. First, the need is of the present, and requires incorporation of the past in it. In this sense, trauma can paradoxically stand for the importance of cultural memory. Second, the need for a second person to act as confirming witness to a painfully elusive past confirms a notion of memory that is not confined to the individual psyche, but is constituted in the culture in which the traumatized subject lives.
The tense relationship between here-and-now and there-and-then examined in Part II receives a complement in this part. The presentness of memory, in which the past is "adopted" as part of the present (as the object of its narrative activity), is emphasized here. This presentness raises the question of agency, of the active involvement of subjectsindividual and collective, always situated in the cultural domainwho "do" the remembering; it also solicits reflection on the value of memory for the culture in which the remembering "happens," and on the dangers of escapist nostalgia, self-aggrandizing monumentalism, or historical manipulation.
Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present by Mieke Bal, Jonathan Crewe, Leo Spitzer