Remembering Hope: The Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe

ERC Advanced Grant for Ann Rigney

G20 protest don't be stupid
G20 protest don't be stupid

Mass demonstrations make headlines, but then seem to disappear. How are these demonstrations remembered when they are no longer news? That is the central question in the ERC project recently awarded to Prof. Ann Rigney. The ERC Advanced Grant (€2.5 million) is a five-year grant allocated to researchers whose ground-breaking work opens up new directions in their field.

The project Remembering Activism: The Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe (ReAct) hypothesizes that protest has an afterlife in cultural memory in the form of the stories told about them. Knowledge of this cultural memory is needed for a full understanding of civil resistance.

Media and the arts

ReAct will demonstrate the role of the media and the arts in turning protest into stories, and show how the memory of earlier activists influenced later generations. The focus will be on protest movements in Europe, from the Paris Commune to the recent Occupy movements, and from print to social media.

Role of memory in activism

The result will be a new understanding of the role of memory in activism and of the stories that sustain citizenship in today’s world. This interdisciplinary project brings together comparative literature, cultural memory studies, and the study of social movements.

Prof. dr. Ann Rigney
Prof. Ann Rigney

Ann Rigney

Prof. Ann Rigney is professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University, and is currently also Head of the Department of Languages, Literature, and Communication. She was trained at University College Dublin (MA hons) and the University of Toronto (PhD) in English, French, and Comparative Literature.

Her research explores the intersections between narrative, collective identity, and contestations of the past across a wide range of media and cultural practices.  She has played a leading role in the development of the field of cultural memory studies, as founder of the Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies, as coordinator of NITMES, and as project leader in the EU-COST project In Search of Transcultural Memory in Europe.

She has published widely on modern memory cultures and theories of history. Her many publications include Imperfect Histories (2001), The Afterlives of Walter Scott (2012; 2017), Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Memory (ed. with A. Erll, 2009), Transnational Memory (ed. with C. De Cesari, 2014), and Commemorating Writers in Nineteenth-Century Europe (ed. with J. Leerssen, 2014). She is a member of the KNAW and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by Aarhus University.