Monthly Archives: November 2015

Seminar Event: The Generational Transmission of Memory and Identity through ‘Family Heritage’

The Generational Transmission of Memory and Identity through ‘Family Heritage’
Anne-Marie Kramer (University of Nottingham)

Date: 2 December 2015

Time: 17:30

Venue:  Past & Present Room 202, 2nd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House
This paper will explore the generational transmission of memory and identity through a focus on the role of ‘family heritage’. It will analyse what form remembrance practices take, map and problematize the relationship between the family and public archive/history in understanding and interpreting the legacy of the past, and begin to tease out some consequences of these acts of ‘remembrance’. It will therefore ask a number of related questions. First, what forms of ‘value’ accrue to family history and heritage? Second, what does performing ‘remembrance’ mean in this context, and what role are texts and material objects expected to play in ‘remembering’? Third, who and what is remembered, to what ends, and with what effects? Fourth, what role does family history and heritage play in reproducing and/or challenging official histories, and how do such projects imagine the relationship between individual, family, community and ‘nation’? Lastly, how are these practices of remembrance used to re/construct relationships and connectedness in the past/present/future, between and among the generations?

Anne-Marie Kramer is a Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham.

Seminar Event: Homesick for Yesterday: A history of the “nostalgia wave” in the 1970s and 80s

Homesick for Yesterday: A history of the “nostalgia wave” in the 1970s and 80s

Tobias Becker (German Historical Institute, London)

Date: 4 November 2015

Time: Wednesday, 17:30

Venue:  Past & Present Room 202, 2nd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

All throughout the 1970s and 80s intellectuals in the United States, Britain and West Germany complained about a “nostalgia wave”, an almost pathological yearning for a sentimentalised past that afflicted Western societies. Initially they found nostalgia mainly in pop culture’s return to its own past, particularly the revival of the 50s in rock music, film and on TV. Soon, however, the “nostalgia wave” manifested itself in the booming antiques trade, the success of the conservation movement and the popularity of historical books, museums and exhibitions, in short, what Robert Hewison dubbed the “heritage industry”.

Tobias’s paper looks at the discourse, the manifestations and the contemporary explanations of the “nostalgia wave”. It argues that the nostalgia discourse was partly a reaction to the popularisation and democratisation of history: a means to reinstate the interpretative authority of academic history by discrediting the grass-roots engagement with history and the appropriation of scholarly practices by amateurs. However the popular interest in the past was also indicative of changing concepts of time. Drawing on the works of Hartmut Rosa and François Hartog, the paper understands the “nostalgia wave” as an expression of a new, presentist “regime of historicity” that emerged as a result of accelerated social change.

Tobias Becker is a research fellow at the German Historical Institute London, where he works on the “nostalgia wave” in the 1970s and 80s. Publications include Inszenierte Moderne. Populäres Theater in Berlin und London, 1880-1930 (2014); Popular Musical Theatre in London and Berlin, 1890-1939 (ed. with Len Platt and David Linton, 2014).