Professor Emily Keightley - Inaugural Lecture

Remembered futures: the politics of memory in a mediated world.

Contemporary public discourse is awash with cliches and maxims about the past. While we are routinely reminded of George Santayana’s warning that ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’, cultural critics have also wryly observed that in a world of ever quicker cultural recycling, ‘nostalgia ain’t what it used to be’. Public celebration and despair at our collective relationship with the past sits alongside a common-sense understanding that personal memory is a rather separate process. An individual faculty, the activation of which can be pleasurable, painful or uncomfortably inadequate but readily taken for granted. It is usually only when the biological processes of aging result in its inexorable decline that we are confronted with the centrality of memory for our own sense of self over time, our capacity to engage with close others, and our ability to connect with wider communities of experience.

In her inaugural lecture, Professor Emily Keightley will explore how the vitality of memory across the scales of our experience, from the most intimate individual recall to public forms of commemoration is inextricably linked to our identity at personal, collective, and public levels. She will discuss the role of communication in the performance of remembering, particularly the significance of media in mobilising the past in the present and allowing us to orientate ourselves to imagined futures. Finally, she will discuss her research on the ways in which power of different kinds is articulated in and through practices of remembering and she will discuss the possibility of developing ethical and political analyses of contemporary memory.

The event is free but please book for catering purposes. Those attending online, will receive a Microsoft Teams Link before the event.


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