Anna Reading (King’s College London):

The Anti-Social Life of Memory

Keynote Lecture of the Mnemonics Summer School 2017

Frankfurt, Goethe University Campus Westend, IG 1.314

09 September 2017, 9:30 am

Abstract: The Anti-Social Life of Memory

If, metaphorically, memory has a vibrant social life then memory also has a troubled anti-social life. This keynote examines the anti-social life of memory. This is the life of memory that causes annoyance and disapproval; the life of memory that is disorderly and rebellious, the life of memory that opposes mnemonic laws and protocols; the life of memory that robs and thieves from the imaginary; and the life of memory that sulkily rejects mnemonic company, refusing to mix with the life of other memories; the life of memory beyond the human, separate as water, resolute as rock.

And, if memory does have such a (dis) associative life, then how can this be understood? What modes of analysis might the 21st century ‘mnemologist ‘ develop to understand the anti-social life of memory’s moments of refusal, of lawlessness, of theft? How does the inclusion of the anti-social life of memory call for new kinds of methods and modes of analysis: ones that disrupt the discrete methods of the social sciences; approaches that unsettle the human-centricity of the humanities to activate creative and divergent vantage points on memory’s complex life.

Anna Reading is Professor of Culture and Creative Industries at King’s College London. She is also a journalist and playwright. Before joining King’s College, she was a researcher at the University of Westminster (1992-1995) and a Lecturer in the Department of English Literature at the University of Lodz (1988-1989). She directed the Centre for Media and Culture Research, which she founded, at London South Bank University from 2009 to 2011 and was a member of the Institute of Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney from 2010 to 2012. Among her recent publications in the field of memory studies are Gender and Memory in the Digital Age (Palgrave, 2016), her co-edited volume Save as… Digital Memories (Palgrave, 2009) with Joanne Garde-Hansen and Andrew Hoskins, and The Social Inheritance of the Holocaust: Gender, Culture and Memory (Palgrave, 2002).

Click here to see a video recording of the keynote lecture.