1st Edition

Remembering Social Movements Activism and Memory

Edited By Stefan Berger, Sean Scalmer, Christian Wicke Copyright 2021
    334 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    334 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Remembering Social Movements offers a comparative historical examination of the relations between social movements and collective memory.

    A detailed historiographical and theoretical review of the field introduces the reader to five key concepts to help guide analysis: repertoires of contention, historical events, generations, collective identities, and emotions. The book examines how social movements act to shape public memory as well as how memory plays an important role within social movements through 15 historical case studies, spanning labour, feminist, peace, anti-nuclear, and urban movements, as well as specific examples of ‘memory activism’ from the 19th century to the 21st century. These include transnational and explicitly comparative case studies, in addition to cases rooted in German, Australian, Indian, and American history, ensuring that the reader gains a real insight into the remembrance of social activism across the globe and in different contexts. The book concludes with an epilogue from a prominent Memory Studies scholar.

    Bringing together the previously disparate fields of Memory Studies and Social Movement Studies, this book systematically scrutinises the two-way relationship between memory and activism and uses case studies to ground students while offering analytical tools for the reader.

     1 Memory and social movements: an introduction 1

    Stefan Berger, Sean Scalmer and Christian Wicke

    2 The ascension of ‘comfort women’ in South Korean colonial memory 26

    Lauren Richardson

    3 The past in the present: memory and Indian women’s politics 41

    Devleena Ghosh and Heather Goodall

    4 History as strategy. Imagining universal feminism in the women’s movement 60

    Sophie van den Elzen and Berteke Waaldijk

    5 ‘The memory of history as a leitmotif for nonviolent resistance’ – peaceful protests against nuclear missiles in Mutlangen, 1983–7 83

    Richard Rohrmoser

    6 Atomic testing in Australia: memories, mobilizations and mistrust 95

    David Lowe

    7 ‘The FBI Stole My Fiddle’: song and memory in US radical environmentalism, 1980–95 113

    Iain McIntyre

    8 Memory ‘within’, ‘of’ and ‘by’ urban movements 133

    Christian Wicke

    9 Memory as a strategy? dealing with the past in political proceedings against communists in 1950/60s

    West Germany 156

    Sarah Langwald

    10 ‘We believe to have good reason to regard these comrades, who died in March, to be ours.’ The remembrance of the Märzgefallenen by workers’ organizations during the Weimar Republic 180

    Jule Ehms

    11 Memory as political intervention: labor movement life narration in Australia, Jack Holloway and

    May Brodney 199

    Liam Byrne

    12 Remembering the movement for eight hours: commemoration and mobilization in Australia 219

    Sean Scalmer

    13 The memory of trade unionism in Germany 240

    Stefan Berger

    14 Protest cycles and contentious moments in memory activism: insights from postwar Germany 260

    Jenny Wüstenberg

    15 Social movements, white and black: memory struggles in the United States South since the Civil War 280

    W. Fitzhugh Brundage

    16 Afterword: the multiple entanglements of memory and activism 299

    Ann Rigney


    Stefan Berger is Professor of Social History and Director of the Institute for Social Movements at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Germany. He is also executive chair of the Foundation History of the Ruhr, and an honorary professor at Cardiff University in theUK. His books on social movements include (with Holger Nehring) The History of Social Movement in Global Perspective (2017).

    Sean Scalmer is Professor of History at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His books on social movements and politics include Dissent Events (2002), Activist Wisdom (2006), Gandhi in the West (2011), On the Stump (2017), and Democratic Adventurer (2020).

    Christian Wicke is Assistant Professor of Political History at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He wrote Helmut Kohl’s Quest for Normality (2015). He recently edited (with Ulf Teichmann) an issue of Arbeit-Bewegung-Geschichte on the relationship between ‘old’ and ‘new’ social movements (2018/III).