Dr. Keith Phelan Gorman
- Special Collections & University Archives, University Libraries
- Professional Librarian, 2016
The Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past
by Pierre Nora
I can still vividly recall the excitement of being in a graduate seminar group in Madison, Wisconsin and receiving a package from a friend living in Paris, France. The package contained a collection of essays assembled by the historian Pierre Nora about French national identity and collective memory. My seminar group immediately chose to adopt Nora’s Les lieux de mémoire as the central text for that semester’s discussion. As the group "unpacked" this enormous work, my understanding of the creation of French republican civic culture as well as the interplay between history and memory in modern society evolved. Nora and his contributors brought alive the idea and power of "sites of memory" (rites, monuments, textbooks, songs, and symbols) that could shape a shared political identity. The reading of this work also challenged me to consider what voices and memories were missing. It was a transformative moment for me.
View title in library catalog