Memory Studies in the Middle East: Where are we coming from and where are we going?

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Abstract

This article takes stock of the field of memory studies and where it has moved since the Arab uprisings. If the 1990s marked the first interest in memory studies, the 2000s opened the floodgates to a variety of approaches and localities. The aim is not to present a complete catalogue of memory studies in the Middle East, but rather to highlight some of the trends and patterns in the field and its development over time. It does so both by discussing key works and by focusing on an examination of memory studies about contemporary Lebanon. The article argues that memory studies in the 1990s drew on a particular understanding of transition that came to an abrupt end with the Arab Uprisings. 2011 marked a turning point both in the way the uprisings made scholars question the national framework previously privileged, and by stoking an interest in memories and histories of revolts other than those connected to the anti-colonial struggle. The latest wave of memory studies investigates the uses of online archives and the archive as metaphor for how storage functions for human memory, introducing new methodologies and theoretical directions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMiddle East Critique
Volume28
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)279-288
Number of pages10
ISSN1943-6149
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2019

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