Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

TRAN6009 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:

  • A broad range of theoretical work on memory from a range of disciplines.
  • The contradictory and problematic aspects of concepts of the national in cultural, social and political terms.
  • Transnationalism as a historically situated phenomenon.
  • The differences between national, international and transnational forms of memory.
  • The interaction of memory, in its various forms, with the formation, evolution and contestation of national identities.
  • The dynamics shaping how individuals, groups and national institutions draw on the past to legitimate contemporary concerns
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Engage in independent research
  • Take responsibility for your own learning
  • Develop a complex argument
  • Participate in group discussion, thus facilitating the learning of others
  • Present your ideas in writing and orally
  • Circulate your work electronically
  • Give a public presentation using appropriate resources
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Engage in discussion with the tutor and your peers
  • Present your ideas orally and in writing to your peers
  • Evaluate the oral and written presentations of your peers
  • Present a research paper orally and respond to question
  • Devise and develop an independent research project
  • Research and write a scholarly paper
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse critically and evaluate theoretical texts in a range of disciplines.
  • Consider the relationship of theoretical ideas to historical context.
  • Develop your own ideas on the role, limits and contradictions of memory as a tool through which to analyse nations, nationalism and transnationalism.
  • Identify and assess the different sources used for researching a memory project.
  • Discuss critically the relationship between memory and history


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

Teaching methods include • one weekly double session seminar • final oral presentation • individual consultation with module tutors and the module convenor Learning activities include • individual study and independent research • group discussion • oral presentation of a research paper • writing a substantial research paper

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Nora, Pierre (1996-8). Realms of Memory, 3 vols., trans. Arthur Goldhammer. 

Connerton, Paul (1989). How Societies Remember. 

Halbwachs, Maurice (1992). On Collective Memory. 

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

Confino, Alon (1997). Collective Memory and Cultural History: Problems of Method. American Historical Review. ,102 .

Vertovec, Steven (2009). Transnationalism. 

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


Assessment Strategy

The double session seminars will allow ample time for group discussion, encouraging you to engage in productive critique of the ideas expounded, and thus to assess a range of theoretical works on memory and the nation, while also developing these ideas further in order to make an original intervention in the field. Short oral presentations in relation to the weekly topics will require you to engage in detail with high-level theoretical works, both gaining knowledge of their content and evaluating their argument. You will be given the opportunity to research and informally present on topics that particularly appeal to you. This is designed to help prepare you to design your own research topic and paper as part of the formal assessment for the module. Informal, on-module feedback will be provided via these discussions and presentations. At the end of the module, you will develop a research question that will form the basis of the formal assessment component of the module. For the assessed oral presentation you will present, with prior agreement from the module tutors, a research topic that will go on to form the basis for the assessed research paper. The presentation will last no longer than fifteen minutes and provides you with an opportunity to receive feedback from both peers and module instructors, which you can then incorporate into the research paper. Through the oral presentation you will gain practice in making a public presentation, in responding to questions, as well as participating in discussion of papers by others. The research paper itself will provide the opportunity for independent research. It will also give you practice in developing a sustained, complex argument that engages critically with, and adds to, existing work in the field. While the module as a whole will expose you to work in a variety of disciplines, the research paper will give you the opportunity to develop expertise in a chosen area.


MethodPercentage contribution
Oral presentation 30%
Research paper  (4000 words) 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings