Places of Public Memory: The Rhetoric of Museums and Memorials
Published by: University Of Alabama Press
Imprint: University of Alabama Press
Sales Date: 2010-08-02
Published: August 2010
296 Pages, 152.00 x 228.00 x 30.40 mm, 26 Illustrations
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Though we live in a time when memory seems to be losing its hold on communities, memory remains central to personal, communal, and national identities. And although popular and public discourses from speeches to films invite a shared sense of the past, official sites of memory such as memorials, museums, and battlefields embody unique rhetorical principles.
Places of Public Memory: The Rhetoric of Museums and Memorials is a sustained and rigorous consideration of the intersections of memory, place, and rhetoric. From the mnemonic systems inscribed upon ancient architecture to the roadside accident memorials that line America's highways, memory and place have always been deeply interconnected. This book investigates the intersections of memory and place through nine original essays written by leading memory studies scholars from the fields of rhetoric, media studies, organizational communication, history, performance studies, and English. The essays address, among other subjects, the rhetorical strategies of those vying for competing visions of a 9/11 memorial at New York City's Ground Zero; rhetorics of resistance embedded in the plans for an expansion of the National Civil Rights Museum; representations of nuclear energy-both as power source and weapon-in Cold War and post-Cold War museums; and tours and tourism as acts of performance.
By focusing on "official" places of memory, the collection causes readers to reflect on how nations and local communities remember history and on how some voices and views are legitimated and others are minimized or erased.
"This is a very interesting and diverse set of essays in the field of public history, which focuses our attention on fascinating case studies that have not been widely examined before. That alone makes this collection of interest to a broad readership."
-Journal of American History
"A timely and welcome addition to the literature on memory studies, Places of Public Memory seeks to marry memory studies with the methodology of the rhetorician. This exceptional book should be widely read by cultural historians, rhetoricians, students of public memory, designers of museums and public displays."
-Journal of Popular Culture
"Places of Public Memory, makes a compelling argument that rhetorical scholarship on public memory has yet to attend sufficiently to memory's material manifestations and the ways in which they shape affective experience. . . . Dickinson, Blair, and Ott offer an exhaustive literature review-useful to anyone interested in the study of public memory-to show that attention to the materiality of remembrance and the ways such materiality structures affective experience will significantly expand our current understanding of the rhetoric of public memory. . . . The eight essays comprising this volume constitute a real contribution to the study of rhetoric and public memory."
-Rhetoric Public Affairs