1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Memory Activism

Edited By Yifat Gutman, Jenny Wüstenberg Copyright 2023
    598 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This Handbook is the first systematic effort to map the fast-growing phenomenon of memory activism and to delineate a new field of research that lies at the intersection of memory and social movement studies.

    From Charlottesville to Cape Town, from Santiago to Sydney, we have recently witnessed protesters demanding that symbols of racist or colonial pasts be dismantled and that we talk about histories that have long been silenced. But such events are only the most visible instances of grassroots efforts to influence the meaning of the past in the present. Made up of more than 80 chapters that encapsulate the rich diversity of scholarship and practice of memory activism by assembling different disciplinary traditions, methodological approaches, and empirical evidence from across the globe, this Handbook establishes important questions and their theoretical implications arising from the social, political, and economic reality of memory activism.

    Memory activism is multifaceted, takes place in a variety of settings, and has diverse outcomes – but it is always crucial to understanding the constitution and transformation of our societies, past and present. This volume will serve as a guide and establish new analytic frameworks for scholars, students, policymakers, journalists, and activists alike.


    Aleida Assmann

    Introduction: The Activist Turn in Memory Studies

    Yifat Gutman and Jenny Wüstenberg

    Part 1: Debates

    Editors: Yifat Gutman and Jenny Wüstenberg

    Introduction: Contentions over Memory Activism

    Yifat Gutman

    1.Decomissioning Monuments, Mobilizing Materialities

    Ann Rigney

    2. Populism and the Collective Past: Revisionism or Memory Activism?

    Sebastiaan Faber

    3. Unlocked Memory Activism: Has Social Distancing Changed Commemoration?

    Orli Fridman and Sarah Gensburger

    4. Memory vs. History: The Politics of Temporality

    Alison Landsberg

    5. Regimes of Temporality

    Mischa Gabowitsch

    6. Memory Activism in History

    Joanna Wawrzyniak

    7. Transnational Memory Activism and Performative Nationalism

    Jie-Hyun Lim

    8. Intersectionality and Memory Activism

    Red Chidgey

    9. Activist Voices: What Is at Stake – A Short Manifesto for Activist Memory Studies

    Anna Reading

    Part II: Actors and Agency

    Editor: Irit Dekel

    Introduction: Agent, Structure and Subjectivity

    Irit Dekel

    10. Implicated Subjects

    Jennifer Noji and Michael Rothberg

    11. Extreme Right

    Sophie Schmalenberger, Christoffer Kølvraa, and Bernhard Forchtner

    12. Communities

    Małgorzata Bakalarz Duverger

    13. Coalitions

    Esther Dischereit

    14. Scholars

    Nil Mutluer

    15. Conservatives

    Francesca Polletta and Alex Maresca

    16. Border-Crossers

    Öndercan Muti

    17. Ghosts

    Jessica Auchter

    18. Anti-Neoliberals

    Raimundo Frei, Carolina Aguilera, and Manuela Badilla

    19. Activist Voices: Post Heroes

    Nora Amin

    20. Activist Voices: Museum Entrepreneurs

    Tali Nates and Chaya Herman

    Part III: Institutions and Institutionalization

    Editor: Joanna Wawrzyniak

    Introduction: Definitions and Contestations

    Joanna Wawrzyniak

    21. Administration

    Sara Dybris McQuaid and Sarah Gensburger

    22. Law

    Marta Bucholc

    23. States

    Damani J. Partridge

    24. Political Parties

    Kate Korycki

    25. International Organizations

    Katherine McGregor

    26. Redress Economies

    Piotr Filipkowski and Joanna Wawrzyniak

    27. Activist Voices: Education – Interview with Tanja Vaitulevich

    Joanna Wawrzyniak

    28. Class

    Till Hilmar

    29. Family

    Lars Breuer

    30. Religion

    Zuzanna Bogumił

    31. Slavery

    Ana Lucia Araujo

    32. Empire

    Meghan Tinsley

    33. Colonialism

    Julia C. Wells

    34. Museums

    Amy Sodaro

    Part IV: Spaces

    Editors: Yifat Gutman and Jenny Wüstenberg

    Introduction: Constructing Spaces of Memory Activism

    Jenny Wüstenberg

    35. Migrant Spaces

    Yasemin Yildiz

    36. Urban Spaces

    Christian Wicke

    37. Queer Spaces

    Kate Davison

    38. (De)Colonial Spaces

    Tricia E. Logan

    39. Post-conflict and Mid-conflict Spaces

    Yifat Gutman

    40. Deindustrialized Spaces

    Stefan Berger

    41. Sacred Spaces

    Lia Kent

    42. Indigenous Spaces

    Kerri Malloy

    43. Mediated Spaces

    Noam Tirosh

    44. Clandestine Spaces

    Shepherd Mpofu

    45. Activist Voices: Singing Spaces – Interview with Rana Sulaiman

    Hussam Mohammed Rekani

    46. Post-Soviet Spaces

    Mischa Gabowitsch

    47. Latin America

    Silvana Mandolessi

    48. North America

    Jenny Woodley and Jenny Wüstenberg

    49. The Arctic

    River Ramuglia

    50. Africa

    Duane Jethro

    51. Middle East and North Africa

    Norman Saadi Nikro

    52. South East Asia

    Kar Yen Leong

    53. East Asia

    Joohee Kim and Ilyeong Jeong

    54. Oceania

    Steven Ratuva

    55. East-Central Europe

    Barbara Törnquist-Plewa

    56. Post-German Spaces

    Kornelia Kończal

    Part V: Sites and Practices

    Editors: Kaitlin M. Murphy and Kerry Whigham

    Introduction: Memory Activism as Embodied Practice

    Kaitlin M. Murphy and Kerry Whigham

    57. Memory Sites

    Kerry Whigham

    58. Mapping Memory

    Kaitlin M. Murphy

    59. Activist Voices: Nomadic Monuments – Interview with Aida Šehović

    Kerry Whigham

    60. Museums and "Curatorial Activism"

    Erica Lehrer

    61. Tours and Tourism

    Virág Molnár, Karolina Koziura, and Franziska König-Paratore

    62. Performance

    Leticia Robles-Moreno

    63. Reenactment

    Brigette Walters

    64. Activist Voices: The 1965 Events in Indonesia

    Baskara Wardaya

    65. #memoryactivism and Online Commemoration

    Orli Fridman

    66. Digital Campaigns, Forums, and Archives

    Emilie Pine

    67. Literary Memory Activism

    Astrid Erll

    68. Anniversaries and National Holidays

    Rosanne Kennedy

    69. Activist Voices: Art

    Anna Di Lellio

    70. Exhumations

    Marije Hristova

    Part VI: Normative Dilemmas

    Editor: Benjamin Nienass

    Introduction: Democratizing the Past?

    Benjamin Nienass

    71. Memory and Illiberalism

    Julian Göpffarth

    72. Memory, Pluralism and White Supremacy

    P.J. Brendese

    73. Memory Activism and the Global Production of Knowledge

    Ruramisai Charumbira

    74. Between Conflict and Consensus

    Benjamin Nienass

    75. Between Ownership and Appropriation

    Jonathan Bach

    76. Between Agency and Suspension

    Irit Dekel

    77. Activist Voices: From Civil Revolt to Established Institutions

    Thomas Lutz

    78. Activist Voices: Memory Activism with and against the State – Interview with Sergio Beltrán-García

    Alexandra Délano Alonso and Benjamin Nienass


    Yifat Gutman is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the New School for Social Research in New York (2012). Her research focuses on memory activism and political change in and after ethnonational conflict.

    Jenny Wüstenberg is Professor of History and Memory Studies and the Director of the Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory at Nottingham Trent University. She is Co-Founder and Co-President (2016–2022) of the Memory Studies Association, as well as the Chair of the COST Action CA20105 on Slow Memory (2021–2025).

    "More than a roadmap to memory activism or an account of its revitalizing effects on Memory Studies, this Handbook offers an illuminating set of reflections on the import and reach of activist memory projects across the globe and across the political spectrum. Here, scholars and activists alike will find essential examples, caveats, provocative questions, and forms of inspiration for the work ahead."

    Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University, USA

    "Key issues and debates in the field of memory studies are presented here from a pioneering vantage point – that of memory activism. The experiences and dilemmas covered in this Handbook come from across the globe and offer multiple mirrors in which to reflect on and enrich one’s own findings and perspectives. A must for researchers, practitioners, and activists!"

    Elizabeth Jelin, Centro de Investigaciones Sociales (IDES-CONICET), Argentina

    "Late to develop, the attention to memory is quickly spreading in social movement studies. This Handbook of Memory Activism offers a most relevant contribution on how mnemonic and political changes are connected, and on the arenas, the actors, and the places of memory practices ‘in action’. It comprehensively demonstrates how memories of past struggles affect contentious politics and democratic developments more broadly."

    Donatella della PortaScuola Normale Superiore, Italy

    "[The handbook identifies] the new ‘turns’ and provide[s] a wealth of approaches to the study of memory in IR, playing an important role in shaping the field. [It is] a very useful resource to anyone new to the study of memory in IR."

    International Affairs, 99:6 2023, Dovilė Budrytė, Georgia Gwinnett College, USA and Vilnius University, Lithuania