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Intercultural Memories

Contesting Places, Spaces, and Stories


Edited By Ahmet Atay, Yea-Wen Chen and Alberto González

Collective remembering is an important way that communities name and make sense of the past. Places and stories about the past influence how communities remember the past, how they try to preserve it, or in some cases how they try to erase it. The research in this book offers key insights into how places and memories intersect with intercultural conflicts, oppressions, and struggles by which communities make sense of, deal with, and reconcile the past. The authors in this book examine fascinating stories from important sites—such as international commemorations of Korean “Comfort Women,” a film representation of the Stonewall Riots, and remembrances of the post-communist state in Albania. By utilizing various critical and cultural studies and ethnographic and narrative-based methods, each chapter examines cultural memory in intercultural encounters, everyday experiences, and identity performances that evoke collective memories of colonial pasts, immigration processes, and memories of places and spaces that are shaped by power structures and clashing ideologies. This book is essential reading for understanding the links between space/place and cultural memory, memories of nationally, and places constituted by markers of ethnicity, race, and sexuality. These readings are especially useful in courses in intercultural communication, cultural studies, international studies, and peace and conflict studies.
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Introduction: Intercultural Communication, Memory, and Stories



We begin our introduction with a story. After all, our stories that we narrate and share are based on our memories. We story our memories to keep people, places, and events alive and sometimes relevant. We remember details that might have been forgotten as we narrate our stories both verbally and visually.

The idea behind this project dates back to 2015 when Alberto González conceptualized a panel on public memory and intercultural conflict for the annual Central States Communication Association (CSCA) conference. In 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the three of us along with other members of the panel presented our own work. The panel attracted a large audience, and the presentations were received enthusiastically. We carried out more conversation on intercultural communication and the concept of memory throughout the conference. Soon after the conference, we decided to reformat our panel and explore the role of memory in cultural communication and feature pieces that theorize the notions of “memory and remembering.” Moreover, we were interested in presenting case studies that employ some of these theorizations but also discuss the links between culture and memory and illuminate different aspects of public and personal memory. Hence, this book was born out of our curiosity about the past and how we remember it as well as the cultural politics surrounding what we remember and what we forget. It also shows our commitment to further stretch the scholarly reach...

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