Cultural Memory, Rhetoric, and Literary Discourse


Dr. Jeroen Jansen and Dr. Kristine Johanson

Members of the research group

dr. P.A.L. Bijl
dr. M. Hogenbirk
dr. J. Jansen
dr. K.A. Johanson
prof. dr. J.T. Leerssen
dr. B. Noordenbos
dr. Y. Rodríguez Pérez

Description of the research programme of the research group

“Cultural Memory, Rhetoric, and Literary Discourse” is interested in and explores the intersections of these subjects in and beyond the early modern period and the Dutch Golden Age particularly. Recognizing the growing discipline of Memory Studies and recent theoretical approaches to memory, this group pursues, and is grounded in, a literary-historical approach to cultural memory studies. As such, one interest of the group is how this particular approach can inform or enlighten our investigations.
The research questions raised by the group’s investigations into the relationship between cultural memory, rhetoric, and literary discourse include:

  • How is cultural memory shaped by literary discourse?
  • How can, and how does, rhetorical analysis inform our understanding of the construction of cultural memory?
  • In what way can assumed author’s strategies (argumentation, framing) within cultural memory be analyzed and mapped?
  • What is the relationship between constructions (literary, rhetorical) of time and cultural memory?
  • How does nostalgia inform cultural memory, and how reliant are rhetoric and literary discourse on nostalgia to craft cultural memory?

By asking these questions, we hope to attend further to how byproducts of cultural memory—historiography, nation-building, political discourses—are interconnected with language and literature.

Envisaged results

Individual and collaborative projects will result in:

  • Peer-reviewed articles
  • A monograph or edited collection
  • Conference papers and lectures
  • Symposia/colloquia
  • Special edition of a journal to emerge from conference papers or symposia
  • Individual research fellowships pursued to complete work at the British Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Huntington Library, or elsewhere.

Work plan and time schedule

2016: UvA and external members confirmed, initial investigations begun, possible late-autumn workshop and planning commencing for 2018 colloquium.
2018: First colloquium held in the late spring; journals approached about special edition. Articles published and conference papers delivered. Discussion and planning of 2018 conference.
2018: Autumn conference. Articles published, international and domestic lectures and papers continue to be given.
2019: Monograph completed. Edited collection, the result of the 2018 conference, completed and sent to publishers.

Societal relevance

Investigating how cultural memory is constructed is an investigation into how cultures understand and identify themselves, and for that reason is this project socially relevant. Its research outcomes will contribute to the ongoing conversations happening around, and about, the nature of cultural identity and the role of cultural memory in shaping that identity. These outcomes will be available in Dutch and English and made further accessible by the organization of public lectures or possible events coordinated with cultural institutions in Amsterdam.

Published by  Amsterdam School of Historical Studies

9 June 2016