How do we remember?

Anna Sima Davids Thomsen, Robin Houselstein & Sebastian Alexander Frier Harttung

Studenteropgave: Fagmodulprojekt


This project examines the political discourses, national memory narratives, and sociocultural
practices present in the controversy, and riots surrounding the removal of General Robert E.
Lee’s commemorative statue in Charlottesville, VA. The project also discusses how these
elements influence national memory narratives concerning the American Civil War. This is
done through the analysis of the statue, and the Civil War Trails plaque in Emancipation Park in
Charlottesville, using the critical, multimodal discourse analysis method, as composed by David
Machin, Andrea Mayr and Gill Abousnnouga. It also analyses three articles, written in
connection to the debates concerning the removal of the statue, using Norman Fairclough’s
concepts of discourse and sociocultural practice. Furthermore it outlines Benedict Anderson’s
theory on national identity and theories on memory politics, cosmopolitan memory and
collective memory by Daniel Levy, Natan Sznaider and Lorraine Ryan. It concludes that there
are different discourses and sociocultural practices present as well as contesting memories
concerning the Confederacy in the statue and the articles; that the way in which we chose to
remember is connected to our identity; and that the Confederacy is an ingrained part of some
American groups national identity. Other groups seem to share a sense of cosmopolitan
memory values and morals, that influence the perception of their own history. These discourses
are fighting for hegemony and sole-ownership of the national memory narrative surrounding
the American Civil War. Furthermore, our analysis shows that nationalism in the US peaks
during times of civil unrest, demonstrating another contributing factor to the Charlottesville riot.

UddannelserKultur- og Sprogmødestudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor
Udgivelsesdato18 dec. 2017
Antal sider50
VejledereRandi Lorenz Marselis & Susanne Jacobsen Perez


  • Charlottesville
  • Robert E. Lee
  • Confederate
  • Critical multimodal discourse analysis
  • memory politics
  • national identity