Public Memory Project
The study of public memory—the relationship with our shared past—has grown into an important topic across academic disciplines in recent years. Memory differs from traditional notions of history in that memories can change, transform or become altered over time. They can also be forgotten or recalled. The College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies (CRS) conducts many events and projects with Syracuse University and community partners under the auspices of the Public Memory Project, focusing on how memories of the past impact our political and cultural lives in the present.
Established in 2001, the project was initially conceived when organizers hosted a major academic conference on the topic “Framing Public Memory.” Its success created avenues to develop even more aspects to the project, including the conferences “Contesting Public Memories” (2005) and, most recently, “Visible Memories” (2008), which explored the intersections between visual culture and memory studies with particular focus on the ways in which memories are manifested and experienced in visible, material or spatial form. These conferences have spawned three acclaimed edited volumes:
Phillips, K. R. Ed. (2004). Framing Public Memory. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.
Phillips, Kendall, & Reyes, Mitchell (Eds.) (2011). Global Memoryscapes: Contesting Remembrance in a Transnational Age. Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press.
Demo, Anne, & Vivian, Bradford (Eds.) (2012). Rhetoric, Remembrance, and Visual Form: Sighting Memory. New York, NY: Routledge.
The project has also co-sponsored a major international conference with Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand with the theme “Contained Memory” in 2010. In 2013, the project will co-host a symposium at the Syracuse University London Centre connecting the SU project with similar work at Massey University (NZ), University College London, and York St. John University (UK).
Numerous visiting scholars and artists have been sponsored by the project including: Shimon Attie, Ariella Azoulay (Brown), Stephen Browne (Penn State), Maya Lin, WJT Mitchell (U Chicago), Carrie Mae Weems, and James Young (UMass)
In addition, the Public Memory Project also encompasses the work of CRS faculty as they explore multiple facets of public memory. Kendall Phillips, chair and professor, focused a public memory class on “Remembering Syracuse’s 15th Ward,” a project about the Jewish and African American neighborhood occupying the area now dominated by the Interstate 81 overpass and SUNY Upstate Medical University. Professor Amos Kiewe has worked with filmmaker, producer, and VPA artist-in-residence Keith Beauchamp to document unsolved murders of the Civil Rights era.
Additional relevant faculty publications:
Demo, A. T. “Afterimages in Spectacle Culture: Immigration Policy after Elián,” Rhetoric and Public Affairs (10) 2007.
Kiewe, A. (2011) “Time in Rhetoric: An Investigation into Temporal Probabilities in Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate” Journal of Communication and Religion, 34, 144-157.
Kiewe, A. (2004) “Framing Public Memory: Ronald Reagan Long Goodbyes.” In Framing Public Memory. Ed.
Kendall Phillips. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 248-266.
Jason Edward Black and Charles E. Morris III, Eds. An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk’s Speeches and Writings. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2013.
Charles E. Morris III, Ed. Remembering the AIDS Quilt. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2011.
Charles E. Morris III, “Sunder the Children: Abraham Lincoln’s Queer Rhetorical Pedagogy,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 99 (November 2013): in press.
Charles E. Morris III, Guest Editor, “Forum: Remembering AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP), 1987-2012 and Beyond” Quarterly Journal of Speech 98 (February 2012): 49-108.
Charles E. Morris III, “ACT UP 25: HIV/AIDS, Archival Queers, and Mnemonic World Making,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 98 (February 2012): 49-53.
Phillips, K.R. (2010). The failure of memory: Reflections on rhetoric and public remembrance. Western Journal of Communication, 74, 208-223.
Phillips, K.R. & Thomas, C. (2010). Remembrance, reclamation and redemption: The place of memory in Walter Mosley’s The Man in My Basement. In G. M. Reyes (Ed.), Public Memory, Race and Ethnicity (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010), 147-176.
Vivian, Bradford (2010). Public Forgetting: The Rhetoric and Politics of Beginning Again. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Vivian, Bradford “On the Language of Forgetting.” Review Essay. Quarterly Journal of Speech 95 (2009): 89-104.
Vivian, Bradford “Neoliberal Epideictic: Rhetorical Form and Commemorative Politics on September 11, 2002.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 92, no. 1 (2006): 1-26.