Memory and Forgetting

Memory and Forgetting: Ruptures, Gaps, and National identity

A research project in collaboration with Daisy Neijmann. Sponsered by EDDA-Centre of Excellence.

This project will explore the role of memory and forgetting in the construction of national identity and understanding of the present. Trauma and sites of memory have played a key role in the collective construction of national pasts. The moral function of history is to compel us to confront what we wish to leave behind: societies must provide cultural forms and occasions for remembering the past, in order to rework it for the future. This project will investigate how two different societies, Icelandic and Spanish, are beginning to deal with the consequences of gaps, ruptures, and silences in national memory in order to engage in societal reckoning in the wake of social crisis. The aim of the project is to demonstrate how memory and forgetting may help these societies come to terms with the past, by addressing questions of guilt and responsibility in order to achieve healing and unity, and how this process manifests itself in different textual media: testimonial, autobiographical and fictional.

British war graves in Fossvogur cemetery, Reykjavík

Memorial revealed in October 2011 at an university in Madrid