Memory, the full picture?

Kathleen McKinnon

The discussion of memory is important in the topic of populism, because as has been seen throughout the course, often the backing for ideology is a historical narrative. As the Moses article points out in the Catechism Debate, that this type of historical manipulation like romanticizing of the past, leads to things like radicalization which can end in extremes like Auschwitz. The manipulation of history always has the potential of spiraling to extremes since it can create polarizing images as well as images of the past that are incomplete giving people a sense of pride or a sense of not being acknowledged. 

I think the discourse last week on the differences between right and left-winged nationalism and their similarities might also point to history being used on both sides for their particular advantage. Firstly the right in idealism with a push to return to the “way things were” and the left in emphasizes things that need to be “fixed.” Memory is a tool that is tied heavily to emotion so it is no surprise how divisive it can be, although this is not a European phenomenon and is experienced all over the world, the memory of specific European events like the Holocaust can be very difficult to navigate with respecting memories and moving on from the past and perhaps this is how memory begins to be selective.

One Reply to “Memory, the full picture?”

  1. I agree that memory is closely tied to emotion and can heavily influence how people remember certain historical events. Selective memory can make it difficult to use historical events to compare to modern day as each person will remember and experience an event differently.

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