On Monday April 22nd, 13:15 I will be presenting part of my dissertation at the Huizinga PhD symposium. Actually, I won’t present a particular part (as in a specific chapter), but rather one of the dissertation’s key underlying thoughts.
Essentially it comes down to the idea that memory scholars have usually thought about cultural memory as a process in the present, whereas I study the dynamics which evolve when the remembered historical figure (FDR in my case study) tries to influence this (from his perspective) future process. Cultural memory changes dynamically over time, depending primarily on what a society or memory community at a particular moment needs to remember. On the other hand, remembrance can also be consciously guided, in Roosevelt’s case for instance by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and the Roosevelt Institute, which were either set up by FDR himself (FDR Library) or continue to be directed by his grandchildren (Roosevelt Institute).
Each presentation at the symposium is subsequently commented on by a referent, a senior from the presenter’s own field. In my case this is Ann Rigney, whose recent The Afterlives of Walter Scott (2012), suggests something similar – that Scott actually influenced his own position in cultural memory – though of course in very different ways than Roosevelt.
It’s still possible to register for the symposium!