Remaking Memory and the Agency of the Aesthetic

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This article examines the role of the creative arts in renegotiating the border between memorable and unmemorable lives. It does so with specific reference to the (un)forgetting of the colonial soldiers in European armies during World War One. Focussing on the role of aesthetic form in generating memorability, it shows how the creative use of a medium can help redefine the borders of imagined communities by commanding the attention of individual subjects and hence providing conditions for a cognitive and affective opening to the memory of strangers. It concludes that future studies of transformations in collective memory should take a multiscalar approach which takes into account both the shifting social frameworks of memory and the small changes that occur in the micro-politics of viewing and reading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-23
Number of pages14
JournalMemory Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2021


  • World War One
  • colonial soldiers
  • defamiliarisation
  • memorability
  • multiscalar analysis
  • resonance


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