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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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2. Archiving ISIS: Metastasized Archives, Lieux de Futur, and Endless War (Piotr M. Szpunar)


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2. Archiving ISIS: Metastasized Archives, Lieux de Futur, and Endless War


The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS; also known as ISIL, the Islamic State, or, derisively, Daesh), violently burst onto the world scene in 2013. Since then much has been made of the group’s ability to use digital media to galvanize sympathizers from around the world. While Twitter has been pressured to delete ISIS-related accounts, the group’s English-language digital magazines—first Dabiq and now Rumiyah (a significant titular shift explored below)—have encountered a different fate. ISIS has found itself a curious archivist.

The magazines are catalogued and made available to the public for download by the Clarion Project. A conservative non-profit that distributes Islamophobic films, its advisory board has included the likes of Frank Gaffney, Ted Cruz’s foreign policy advisor during the Republican primaries in 2015 who is noted for his ties to a variety of conspiracy theory groups (e.g., Steve Emerson’s “Investigative Project”) and his belief that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated all levels of American government. Given that the magazines feature field reports, quasi-theological musings, political diatribes, and ideas for attacks—which underwrite the fundamental anxiety surrounding their distribution, the potential for the digital to translate into action (“internet auto-radicalization”)—the Clarion Project’s practice might strike one as odd. Yet, making sense of the archival practice of the Clarion Project provides an opening through which to examine the relationship...

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