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Communicating Memory & History

Edited By Nicole Maurantonio and David W. Park

Communicating Memory & History takes as its mission the job of giving communication history its full due in the study of memory. Taking three keywords—communication, history, and memory—representing related, albeit at times hostile, fields of inquiry as its point of departure, this book asks how the interdisciplinary field of memory studies can be productively expanded through the work of communication historians. Across the chapters of this book, contributors employ methods ranging from textual analysis to reception studies to prompt larger questions about how the past can be alternately understood, contested, and circulated.

Communicating Memory & History is ideal for teaching, including case studies that elaborate different ways to approach issues in memory studies. While some foundational knowledge would be useful, it is possible to use the text without extensive knowledge of the literature. This book is of particular interest to professors, graduate students, and advanced undergraduate students of communication and media studies, as well as scholars and students in cultural studies, history, and sociology—disciplines where one finds steady consideration of issues related to communication, communication history, and memory.

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Postscript: Once A Margin, Always A Margin (Barbie Zelizer)


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Postscript: Once A Margin, Always A Margin


In popular, scientific and some scholarly discourses, margins are a cause for skepticism, uncertainty, error and concern. Geographic margins are often seen as the productive site for illicit or dangerous behavior, while economic ones forecast changes associated with market constraints. Some domains try to control margins, as in agricultural field margins producing habitat to sustain biodiversity or health practitioners employing them to impede the spread of abnormal growth. Margins, then, are widely seen as potentially powerful and threatening entities that provide functional demarcations between separately distinct environments. If they can be successfully managed or controlled, however, the complications typically associated with them can be harnessed into productive forms.

This is worth thinking about, for rarely are margins hailed as valuable in and of themselves. Rather, the characteristics of adjacent domains tend to drive their evaluation, giving them shape, function, texture, impact, and even possibility. Anthropologist Mary Douglas intimated as much, when she famously noted that “dirt is matter out of place.”1

On Margins and Knowledge Formation

The broad contours of knowledge formation provide little exception to circumstances fostering the margin’s ambivalent status, for they too have not given margins their due as independent entities. Though margins are central to Thomas Kuhn’s focus on the incremental pace of paradigm change,2 they have been positioned more broadly as a challenge to fundamental notions of...

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