Public Memory in Communication and Culture

ENG-R 355 — Fall 2019 — Themester

Days and Times
11:15 A.M.-12:30 P.M. TR
Course Description

This course takes a rhetorical perspective on the contested nature of public memory in
the United States. We will examine what public memory is, how it is perpetuated in societies, how and why it is configured to privilege some historical interpretations over others, and how it is modified over time. Ultimately, this course asks the related questions: How do our public memories shape us as American citizens? How do those memories shape our relationship to ourselves, to others, to the state, the nation, and the world? What are the implications of the personae shaped for us through public memory? We will be especially interested in examining how rhetorics of public memory incline (or disincline) people toward particular kinds of public action. This semester we will examine various media of memory such as museums, popular film, memorials, living history museums, children’s toys and collectibles, television, tourist souvenirs, and more.

Instructor: Cynthia Duquette Smith