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Selective Memory: How does contemporary culture influence what we focus on from the past?

Giaconda's Blog

‘Memory studies is a new field, focused on how nations and groups (and historians) construct and select their memories of the past in order to celebrate (or denounce) key features, thus making a statement of their current values and beliefs. Historians have played a central role in shaping the memories of the past as their work is diffused through popular history books and school textbooks.‘

Some events in history are so momentous and so imbedded in the cultural framework of society that they will always have a relevance and remain ‘popular’ topics for debate. In British history over the last thousand years we might think of examples such as the Norman Invasion, the Black Death, The Reformation, The Glorious revolution, Empire etc… Although these topics are likely to be relatively well-known by most people interested in British history generally, our perspective on these events is likely to change depending…

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