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The University of Southampton

LANG6027 Memory in National and Transnational Contexts

Module Overview

Whether in the form of monuments, stories or rituals a desire to remember seems to be everywhere in most if not all contemporary nation states. In some respect this has been fuelled by the continually evolving international situation, which has posed a series of challenges to the construction and articulation of national borders and identities. In light of these developments, this module explores different facets of the relationship between memory and the nation from a variety of historical, political, social and cultural perspectives. It highlights the ways in which memory has been deployed by nations to buttress their legitimacy and to create unifying national narratives. However, it also interrogates the way these claims have been challenged and undermined by remembrance practices and mobilisations generated at the grassroots by memory activists and entrepreneurs. Additionally, the module will introduce you to the concept of transnationalism by considering cases where memories cross or transcend national boundaries and communities and the particular issues this raises for nation-states. Combining critical theoretical texts with a range of case studies, the module offers the opportunity to engage with complex questions surrounding the creation, articulation and contestation of national identities and notions of belonging.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • advanced conceptualisations, theories and debates around nationhood, identity and memory
  • a broad range of high-level theoretical work on national, international and transnational forms of memory, from a range of disciplines
  • working and thinking globally and across cultures, at an advanced level
  • the role of memory in the formation of nationhood and national identity, in cultural, social and political terms
  • how culture manifests and is disseminated through global exchange and encounter, at an advanced level
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • communicate a high-level academic argument in written and oral form
  • demonstrate confidence and skill when engaging in high-level academic discussion and debate
  • interpret and reflect critically, at an advanced level, on a range of global cultural texts/case studies
  • employ cultural theory in high-level analysis of cultural trends, narratives and texts
  • evaluate advanced theoretical approaches to nationhood, culture and identity
  • consider the relationship of theoretical ideas to historical context, at an advanced level
  • discuss critically, and at a high level, the relationship between memory and history
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • communicate complex, advanced ideas and arguments in an essay format
  • communicate advanced, complex ideas and arguments orally
  • identify, select and draw upon a wide range of printed and electronic sources
  • reach an advanced level of global and cultural awareness
  • manage deadlines and make effective use of your time
  • engage in advanced debate around complex, high-level ideas and theories
  • engage in high-level analysis of case studies and arguments


Typically the syllabus will cover: Part 1: Theories, concepts and debates Memory: An Introduction to Theory and Practice Problematising the Nation Transnationalism: Origins and Debates Part 2: The Nation State and Beyond Celebrating and Commemorating the Nation Conflict and National Memory: World War I and II The Holocaust as National Memory Colonial and Postcolonial Memories Memory and Migration Part 3: New Directions in Memory Multidirectional Memory Palimpsest Memories The Commodification of Memory Researching Memory: Sources and Methods.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, seminars and individual tutorials, alongside in-depth independent study.

Guided independent study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Confino, Alon (1997). Collective memory and cultural history: problems of method. American Historical Review. ,102 .

Nora, Pierre (1984-1992). Realms of Memory / Les lieux de mémoire, 3 vols. 

Vertovec, Steven (2009). Transnationalism. 

Rothberg, Michael (2009). Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization. 

Winter, Jay, and Emmanuel Sivan (2000). War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century. 

Connerton, Paul (1989). How Societies Remember. 

Halbwachs, Maurice (1950). On Collective Memory / Les cadres sociaux de la mémoire. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 70%
Individual Presentation  ( minutes) 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 70%
Individual Presentation  ( minutes) 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 70%
Individual Presentation 30%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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