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A collection of essays by prominent scholars from many disciplines on the construction of public memories.
The study of public memory has grown rapidly across numerous disciplines in recent years, among them American studies, history, philosophy, sociology, architecture, and communications. As scholars probe acts of collective remembrance, they have shed light on the cultural processes of memory. Essays contained in this volume address issues such as the scope of public memory, the ways we forget, the relationship between politics and memory, and the material practices of memory.
Stephen Browne's contribution studies the alternative to memory erasure, silence, and forgetting as posited by Hannah Arendt in her classic Eichmann in Jerusalem. Rosa Eberly writes about the Texas tower shootings of 1966, memories of which have been minimized by local officials. Charles Morris examines public reactions to Larry Kramer's declaration that
Abraham Lincoln was homosexual, horrifying the guardians of Lincoln's
public memory. And Barbie Zelizer considers the impact on public memory
of visual images, specifically still photographs of individuals about to perish (e.g., people falling from the World Trade Center) and the sense of communal loss they manifest.
Whether addressing the transitory and mutable nature of collective memories over time or the ways various groups maintain, engender, or resist those memories, this work constitutes a major contribution to our understanding of how public memory has been and might continue to be framed.