The Routledge Handbook of Memory Activism  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Memory Activism

ISBN 9780367650391
Published February 15, 2023 by Routledge
598 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents


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

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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 Porta, Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy