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Lecture by Istvan Rev

Thu February 5th 2009, 4:00pm

A History of the Emergence and Phenomenal Success of Memory as a Discursive-Frame 

The subject of the lecture is the emergence of memory-life. I consider the early 1980s to effectively bring the twentieth century to a close.  In this time of the collapse of Communism it became obvious that the Utopian experiments, based on continuous, deep state intervention on the macro-sphere, could no longer be sustained. Memory as a discursive frame became available and readily usable for anybody, for millions of people, who lost their future because they lost their past, both in the East and West, and especially in East and Central Europe. By making use of the readily available Memory frame, they managed to find a past under a new description. Memory has emerged as a tool with which to reimagine and represent both individual and collective identity. Instead of analyzing notions of individual or collective memory, I will focus my talk on the emergence of Memory as a discursive and existential frame. I will closely examine the emergence of a specific interactive type, The Survivor, The Living Memorial, who considers it as his or her obligation to bear witness to his or her refashioned, newly found past. 


Istvan Rev is Professor of History and Political Science at the Central European University, Budapest, where he is also the Academic Director of the Open Society Archive. He has been a visiting faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley on several occasions. Since the early 1980s, Rev has published widely on the political cultural, and architectural history of Hungary and other Eastern bloc countries. He is the author of "Retroactive Justice" (Stanford University Press, 2005). He edited the special issue of Representations on "Monumental Histories"(1991).

The lecture is preceded by a workshop at 10 a.m. Both events take place in Building 460, Room 429 (Terrace Room). For more information contact cosana [at] (Cosana Eram).

Sponsored by Contemporary History and the Future of Memory, a project of the DLCL Research Unit.