Zahlavi

Department of Memory Studies

Department of Memory Studies

Memory has become a crucial research topic in humanities and social sciences in the course of the past few decades due to their comprehensive character. The rediscovery of memory is associated with the transformation of these disciplines, paradigm changes, and modernization processes; nevertheless, it also depends on technological progress and a sense of urgency to capture memories of surviving witnesses of crucial historical events and processes of the 20th century.

The department of memory studies focuses on the ethnological research of memory as a specific source for the reflection of culture, a way of life connecting the past with the present, and a dynamic phenomenon that reflects social and cultural changes and transformation processes within the present-day society. The department focuses on the study of historical continuity and discontinuity, on the functions and relations of various memory media (such as oral tradition, manuscript, picture, print, and other mass media), on memory production and construction in direct interaction with the people involved as well as in the online spaces, on the temporal, spatial, and social dimensions of memory, on the institutional dimension of remembering, and on the understanding of memory as an instrument of the political practice of the present. The centre of attention is both the memory content (the representation of the past of both tangible and intangible character) and the memory processes and media, as well as the culture of remembering.

The scholarly activities of the department focus primarily on the study of forms of intersubjective shared memory. In the field of cultural memory, the department studies such traces of the past that transcend the memory of individuals shared with contemporaries, and such forms of behaviour that aim to preserve these traces. In the field of communicative memory, the department predominantly uses methods of oral history, in order to study the formation and transmission of generational and intergenerational issues, the understanding of everyday life, and the interpretation of historical processes and events of the 20th century. Dealing with the study of politics of memory and the culture of remembering, the department focuses on the public use of the past and ways in which this use becomes part of the collective consciousness of the whole society or a particular social group. Finally, in the field of landscape memory, the department deals with the components of nature and culture that contribute to an important role of landscape as a basic frame of human life and a chronicle of events and stories.

 

Current and future research agenda:

  • Research of family memory and intergenerational transmission
  • Culture of remembering of selected social groups
  • Transformation of ethnic and cultural traditions within present-day society
  • Customary and ritual culture and festivities
  • Identity formation aspects of memory and forgetting
  • The past in contemporary narrative culture and on-line communication
  • Cultural stereotypes and mental images
  • Landscape memory