Fragment(s) of Memory(ies): The enduring question of space and storytelling (Introduction to special issue)

Aya Nassar, Mayada Madbouly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


For decades, the twin issues of remembering and memorialising space on one hand, and forgetting and neglecting on the other hand, have been intertwined with attempts at carving spaces for memory. While many initiatives and actions have grappled with these questions, this special issue asks: What animates these endeavours? What does the act of remembering promise? How does forgetting operate as an ever-present looming threat? How are the stories of the past told? Where? By whom? Within which contexts? And to what effects? These concerns are by no means new. In asking these questions we acknowledge that spaces of memory are complex: actors include the state and its staging of its official story, different articulations of nationalism, various spaces of nostalgia, academics like us who are ever-so- fascinated by writing ourselves in the question of the past and its afterlives, as well as activists, practitioners, and social media users. The past, as many have noted, is not only contested, but it also haunts the present and provides certain promises for an imagined future. This issue responds to the increasing awareness of the fragmented and incomplete nature of storytelling, the lack of accessibility of archives, and the overwhelming dominance of specific regimes of memory. The contributors reflect on the fragmentary practices and articulations that compel various actors, or “memory agents”, to do memory work: political, academic, artistic, activist or otherwise.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Journal Égypte/Monde arabe/CEDEJ
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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