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Media and Memory

Media and Memory

This project belongs to the following research constellations:



Ellen Rutten


Staff: Frank Huysmans, Frank van Vree, Eric Ketelaar, Ieme van der Poel, Pamela Pattynama, José van Dijck, Lisa Kuitert, Marie-Aude Baronian, Julia Noordegraaf, Nanci Adler, Marieke Bloembergen, Nathalie Scholz , Sophie Berrebi, Desirée Schyns




While museums, theme parks, re-enactment societies, historical novels and movies, cultural tours, antiquity markets and genealogical records attract more attention than ever before, cultural critics, philosophers and historians argue that we live in a culture of amnesia, and that historical consciousness is losing ground in western civilisation. The paradox seems to indicate that we are experiencing a process of structural change of social memory and historical culture, which overthrows ideas, concepts and hierarchies rooted in modern western culture of the eighteenth century. In this process, individual and collective memories are becoming increasingly intertwined with (and reliant on) media data and technologies. This project addresses the role of media in the way we remember past events and construct notions of self and community, trying to understand what forces and trends are determining our perception and conception of the past. We will welcome both theoretical, national (Dutch) and transnational perspectives on this theme.

The project will deal with the following issues:

  • the role of various media – from written and visual sources to digital media – in the shaping of individual and social memory and remembrance;
  • the role of technology in framing and storing information and memory;
  • the dynamics of cultural remembrance from an intermedial perspective, dealing with the question how different mnemonic practices interact with each over time and how cultural remembrance may be influenced by the introduction of new technologies;
  • the role and position of ‘memory institutions’, like archives, museums, digital collections etc.;
  • the poetics of representation of the past by media, its imagery, techniques of mise en scene and re-enactment;
  • the role of users of mediated memories and media technologies.


  • Organize regular meetings with the group, at least once every two months, to present and listen to each others work.
  • Initiate an international conference on Media and Memory in 2009-10, which will result in several collective and individual publications.
  • Apply for several NWO projects on memory and media through open competition and support VENI and VIDI applications.