Collective Memory

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Abigail Stackowitz

Professor Michael Miller

WRIT 231

22 February 2013

Entering the Conversation: Collective Memory and National Identity

In the first few weeks of this class, we were given three sources that have a common theme between them and in this paper, I will discuss what it is, and what that theme means for us. The theme that has been predominate in our sources is: collective memory and how it is presented to use as a nation. First off in my paper, I'm going to describe what collective memory is and some of the examples that were given to us in our sources. Secondly, I'm going to argue that collective memory only benefits the ones who can make money off of the event in question. Lastly, I'm going to explain events in which collective memory will help our future generation of leaders and lawmakers not make the same mistakes.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of collective memory is: "the memory of a group of people, passed from one generation to the next." (Definition of Collective Memory in Oxford Dictionaries) This definition is pretty vague and, without having some examples, pretty hard to wrap your head around. Some of the events that might be considered part of our collective memory are: The Holocaust, The Civil War, World War I and II, the assassination of Martin Luther King Junior and 9/11. While most people alive today weren't alive during any of these events, the majority of the events that were previously listed are mostly sad and depressing events to remember. In one of our readings, by Jill Edy, she states "the past appear regularly in the news in three basic forms: commemorations, historical analogies, and historical contexts." (Edy). After reading this article, I realized that the reason most of the events that are considered to be collective memory is because they fall into one of the categories that Edy describes in her article. Basically, collective memory is only collective memory because of...
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