Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Memory Cultures: heritage, identity and power
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2500 Words  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Seen exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2500 Words  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Seen exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the relationships between history, memory, and place, and in particular the power relations and identity narratives inscribed in the historical landscape.

Critically discuss the complexities of our situated encounters with the past and evaluate a range of theoretical and applied approaches to the production of the historical landscape.

Demonstrate an ability to critically interrogate the taken-for-granted, common-sense meanings and messages inscribed into and drawn from particular sites of memory.

Demonstrate competencies in reading, writing, the analysis of texts and the historical landscape as well as practice in independent study.

Brief description

This module offers students an opportunity to explore a broad spectrum of theoretical and applied debates that surround studies of memory and its links with contemporary culture and politics. Drawing on a wide range of international examples, it examines the sites, technologies, politics and processes associated with various preservation and commemoration endeavours. Specifically, the ways in which groups and individuals struggle to gain authority to selectively represent and narrate their pasts will be discussed throughout alongside a concern with the practices of institutions in their efforts to reconcile problematic social memories. Case studies explore themes including identity, subjectivity, embodiment, belonging, materiality, performance, scale, and the commodification of the past. The module develops substantive knowledge of topics introduced to students in 2nd year modules Placing Politics (GS23020) and Placing Culture (GS20520). It also provides students with a range of critical approaches, concepts, vocabularies and ways-of-thinking about the "presentation of the past", the politics of heritage and the spatiality of memory. Throughout the module, student skills in analysis, written and oral communication will be developed through an engagement with both textual material and reflexive considerations of their own encounters with sites of memory.


  1. Approaching memory, space and time (introduction to key debates)
  2. Memory and the Self: critical perspectives on memory and subjectivity.
  3. Collaborative Memories: public memories, social memories, collective reminiscence, commemoration and performance.
  4. The politics of memory: spatializing history/spatializing identity
  5. Economies of memory: the heritage industry and past as commodity.
  6. Contesting Memories I: silence, forgetting, dissonant pasts, counter-memories and the politics of difference.
  7. Contesting Memories II: therapeutic landscapes, trauma, reconciliation and healing
  8. Materializing Memory: objects and technologies of remembrance
  9. Environmental Memories: contesting natures in the construction of national parks
  10. Haunting memories: ghosts, specters and places of enchantment

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Written communication skills will be developed and assessed through the examination as well as through the assessed essay. Oral communication skills will also be developed through group discussion in lectures.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students should implicitly develop their skills in this area through the organization of free-time reading and exam and essay preparation. Not explicitly developed through the module.
Information Technology Students will be directed to material from the internet that is relevant to lecture topics. They will also have the opportunity to develop IT skills by using the internet as a source for primary and secondary materials in preparation for the assessed essay.
Personal Development and Career planning Not explicitly developed through the module. The content of lectures and reading may indirectly encourage students to reflect on their own beliefs and views and may identify potential career paths for some.
Problem solving Problem solving will be indirectly addressed through some lecture content, essay assignments and class-based discussions but will not be explicitly developed in the module.
Research skills Students will be encouraged to develop independent research skills through collating material from library and internet sources, and through the analysis of primary sources. The opportunity that the module offers for practicing these skills will be especially useful for students wishing to conduct research or study at postgraduate level. Research skills will be assessed by means of the coursework essay.
Subject Specific Skills The module will enable students to practice subject-specific skills which they have developed in years one and two, including techniques for analyzing historical and cultural texts. Students will develop their analytical skills through class-based discussions and in their assessed essay and examination.
Team work Students will have the opportunity to develop team-work skills through group-based exercises and discussion in lectures.


This module is at CQFW Level 6