Professor Sara Jones inaugural lecture

Arts Main Lecture Theatre (room 120)
Wednesday 30 March 2022 (17:30-18:30)

Join Professor Sara Jones for her inaugural lecture.

'Relations of remembrance'

How do we remember? How are our individual memories connected to those of our family, social group, society, culture and nation? How does memory travel across borders? Building on more than a decade of research in the field of Memory Studies, Sara Jones explores these questions with a focus on concepts of relationships and relationality. The individual remembers in a social context; their memories are related to those of their family and supported through different “mnemonic technologies” – tools that we use to memorialise and recall events and people (e.g., photographs, family names or rituals). In turn, individual and family memories are shaped by the society, culture and historical times in which they are produced and shared. Oral history can tap into those memories to uncover those attitudes and perspectives and to show how individuals bring the past into a relationship with the present.

The giving of testimony in post-conflict societies can play a similar role; survivors give an account of the violence they have experienced to an audience who is asked both to believe their story and respond to prevent a reoccurrence. Here too we see the importance of a dialogue and relationship of trust between speaker and listener. Memories of mass or state-supported violence – such as civil war, genocide, or human rights abuses – are often either supported or suppressed within national memory cultures. However, human rights abuses are also remembered at a transnational level within a global regime of “moral remembrance” (David, 2020) that prescribes particular standards for memorialisation. One result is an increasing collaboration across borders between activists promoting the remembrance of particular pasts; a practice that risks reinforcing relationships of coloniality between actors in the Global North and those in the Global South.

Please note this lecture will now be taking place on Wednesday 30 March, a week later than previously advertised.

Inaugural lectures are a landmark in academic life, held on the appointment of new professorships. Visit our College of Arts and Law Inaugural Lectures website to view the archive of previous talks from our academic staff. 

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