Media and film studies

Media, Memory, History

Module code: P3072
Level 5
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

This module examines the relationship between history, memory and media. Its starting points are; (i) The media are historical artifacts, forged and developed in historical contexts that they also influence. (ii) Access to history is mediated through various technical and cultural systems e.g. television, print, and networked and mobile media. Media systems capture, store, and re-disseminate material that may be returned to us as collective or individual memories for instance through family photographs, or through the annual collective commemoration of official memorial days. The relationship between history and memory is thus bound up with how media systems become embedded cultures. (iii) New media in particular, produce new kinds of artificial memory and thus may intervene in new ways in the making of history.

The module will address some of the questions arising around media, history and memory through sessions including explorations of prosthetic memory, war memories and memorials, the history of the invention of the media, memory damage and the politics of omission, family histories and migration patterns as photographic record, race and mediated memory, and questions of the convergence of the archive and the network which mean media records of events are simultaneously stored and represented.

Module learning outcomes

  • Critical understanding of the role of the media in the making of social and individual memories
  • Critical understanding of the relationship of the media to the processes through which history is made
  • Ability to apply underlying concepts and critically apply them to explore varying situations where memory, history and the media intersect
  • Understanding the limits of various critical approaches to analysing media systems, particularly in relation to questions of scale and access