Media Anthropology represents a convergence of issues and interests on anthropological approaches to the study of media. The purpose of this reader is to promote the identity of the field of study; identify its major concepts, methods, and bibliography; comment on the state of the art; and provide examples of current research. Based on original articles by leading scholars from several countries and academic disciplines, Media Anthropology provides essays introducing the issues, reviewing the field, forging new conceptual syntheses.
Chapter 19: Finding Aids to the Past: Bearing Personal Witness to Traumatic Public Events
Finding Aids to the Past: Bearing Personal Witness to Traumatic Public Events
We find the past compelling because of what it tells us about the present. It is no wonder, then, that nearly everyone with a voice claims territory in it—wide-ranging collectives such as nation-states; large-scale interested groups bonded by ethnicity, class, and race; professional communities driven by expertise, such as that of historians, filmmakers, and journalists. Each strives to colonize connections to the past as a way of lending credence, cohesion, or even a simple perspective to life in the present.
However, the past's compelling aspects—in particular, its lived and experienced dimensions—do not begin when we position ourselves as members of groups. Rather, they ...