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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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Introduction: Remembering Communication History (Nicole Maurantonio / David W. Park)


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Introduction: Remembering Communication History


On August 11 and August 12, 2017, white supremacists convened in Charlottesville, Virginia under the guise of a “Unite the Right” rally, attracting neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) to the University of Virginia and Downtown Mall less than a mile from campus. The rally’s stated purpose was to protest the removal of a monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee as well as the removal of Confederate monuments across the United States. The ensuing violence, enacting racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hatred, culminated in the death of one counter-protester, Heather Heyer, and the wounding of several others. Like many, both near to and far from Charlottesville, we bore witness to the graphic photographs and streaming videos of the violence on television and on the internet.

While the ability to bear witness to the violence in Charlottesville as it unfolded—and re-watch it afterward—is a reality of the 21st century media landscape, one of the most profoundly disturbing facets of the violence in Charlottesville was its familiarity. The scene in Charlottesville was resonant. News reports recounted, “the weekend’s events [featuring Nazi sympathizers] [were] particularly wrenching in Germany, a nation still seared by the darkest chapters of its past.”1 In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to remark, “We know Canada isn’t immune to racist violence & hate....

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