Object, Memory, History


Object, Memory, History examines the interactions between written, visual and material culture in north-western Europe ca 850-1250. In many societies, all these elements of recording the present and the past existed, and material and visual culture often mediated the social memory of past events before written histories were created. Yet modern disciplinary boundaries frequently militate against exploring these different types of evidence, their relationship with each other, and the wider cultures of memory. As a result, archaeological, literary, historical and art historical understandings of how communities constructed their pasts–and hence their identities–all too commonly exist in splendid isolation, each unaware of what the other could contribute. This prevents us from grasping the complexity and richness of practices central to how communities function. Constructing a usable past, expressing it with and in relation to artefacts, objects and monuments, remains an essential tool with which communities define themselves as legitimate and as distinctive from those around them. Moreover, in a European context, the period under consideration forms the focal point for many modern discourses of nationhood. Thus it is imperative that new and innovative ways are developed with which to answer questions of such pivotal importance, and in relation to so crucial a period in the formation of modern Europe.

This project provides novel directions to understand how the past was remembered and how history was created in times of transitions. It aims to consider how material, written and visual cultures created memory cultures to control remembrance of the past and its impact on later perceptions of history and identity. With this, the project intends to develop a new framework for inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches and theories to understand not only the medieval past but also the many ways in which history is created and understood.
Effective start/end date6/01/201/09/22