Memory And Cultural Memory

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Postcolonial writing has concerned itself specifically with the recuperation of lost history. Cultural Memory studies is that burgeoning field of study which provides the important tools for understanding and ultimately deconstructing the configurations of nationalist and imperialist power embedded in the representation of the past which takes cognisance of the visceral experiences and the memories of resistances of the oppressed through generations (Gandhi 92). ‘Culture’ is a veritable social construct that is usually understood in and through the contents of its traditions—its modes of action, forms of language, aspirations, interpersonal relations, images, ideas and ideals. ‘Memory’ is the capacity to remember, to create and re-create our past. The substance of our very being is memory, our way of living is retaining reminders; articulating memory is our raison d’etre. The concept of ‘memory’ has often been deployed as a framework within which attention can be drawn to ‘hidden’ or ‘occluded’ aspects of the past, which are deemed of special importance to the (re)construction of identities of particular communities. Cultural memory is a concept introduced to the national academic disciplines by Jan Assmann and Aleida Assmann, who, in their seminal essay “Collective Memory and Cultural Identity” (1995) define it as “a collective concept for all knowledge that directs behaviour and experience in the interactive framework of a society and one that obtains through generations

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