Begin by establishing a familiarity with the concepts of historicity and collective memory – particularly within the overarching literature of cultural and national identity. Porter (2009) is a good example, as it analyzes the symbolic meanings of specific monuments and architectural iconography as they relate to the changing political and cultural relationships between Macau and China over several centuries.
Types of topics include: an analysis of a particular museum – how are events portrayed, what is left out or distorted; changing urban political landscape – removing old monuments, replacing with new ones; changing meanings of historical places (such as the Forbidden City and/or Tiananmen Square); demolition/re-purposing of neighborhoods; and performances with historical references (such as the opening performance of the Olympics in Beijing) in historical spaces.
In order to aid in your research, consider using common concepts and terms used in article titles and within abstracts, keywords, and subject terms: public memory; social memory; commemoration; ____ memory (architecture of, landscapes of, spaces of, practices of); remembering; monuments; monumentality; memoro-politics; memorabilia; invented traditions; and forgetting. Terms in the list above may be found in article titles, abstracts and texts. Although related articles appear in a wide range of social science and interdisciplinary publications, journals focusing on such research specifically include: History & Memory; Memory Studies; Memory; and Public Historian. To locate area-specific articles, add: China; Chinese; Taiwan* to your search. When you do, you may need to limit your search results by language.
French historian Pierre Nora, whose work focuses on locations of collective memory such as monuments, wrote seminal articles and books on the topic. The most commonly cited work relates to what he calls “les lieux de mémoire” – “the places of memory”. His work is in the French school of “new history,” and thus assumes some familiarity with post-modern theory; some parts of the text may be difficult to follow. (Indeed, often scholars who make reference to his work have not read it.) For background in the concepts related to this assignment, you may find Nora’s work and related resources useful. I recommend struggling with Nora in the most concise and accessible article discussing the topic:
Nora, P. (1989). Between memory and History: Les lieux de mémoire. Representations(26), 7-24
Some of the recommended concepts from the Unit 1 literature review List (pick 3) and incorporate in the paper.
Cartography (map-making, the power of visual representations of locations, boundaries, etc.)
Distinguishing between space and place
The “Other” (capital O)