Skip to Main Content

It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Core 154 SW - Social Memory (Shetler Fall 2019)

Where to start

In addition to the many sample topics provided by your professor, this guide contains a lot of ebooks, databases and other library resources that might help spark your interest. If you are still trying to figure out your topic, try browsing the various primary sources available. Because many primary sources remain in non-digital form, finding a good set of primary sources can be challenge. However it is much easier to find secondary sources. So try browsing the primary sources listed on the left hand navigation. Or check out some of the sources below for further inspiration.

Remember these are the guidelines your professor has created in regards to choosing a topic for this paper. It needs to be an argument that fits the following criteria:

  • includes a social aspect of memory, not analysis of individual memory alone
  • is a case study of social memory related to a particular historical event at a particular place, or a particular scientific study of social memory
  • makes critical use of primary sources related to that event
  • explores arguments and evidence that would challenge the thesis
  • comes from a particular disciplinary approach but brings in other disciplines
  • brings an analysis rooted in comprehension of the larger scholarly debates

Other places to browse for topic ideas

Try browsing this international bibliography of sources from the field of Memory Studies. Remember, if the library doesn't already have access to any of these, we are happy to request them on your behalf through our interlibrary loan program.

The periodical Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society devoted an entire issue to the topic of Gender and Memory. Browse the entire issue, or check out some of these individual articles:

Example Topic with preliminary sources

How we remember the terrorist attacks of 9/11

You could research how media influences the memory of this event. Or some other aspect of different populations remember this event. Here are some sources that might go along with this topic:

Secondary sources
  • The Falling Man - an essay written in 2016 that touches on how we remember 9/11, the role photographs play in our collective memories and history in general.

  • Sather-Wagstaff, Joy. 2011.Heritage That Hurts : Tourists in the Memoryscapes of September 11. Heritage, Tourism & Community. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.
    Memorial sites, sites of dark tourism, are vernacular spaces that are continuously negotiated, constructed, and reconstructed into meaningful places. Using the locale of the 9/11 tragedy, Joy Sather-Wagstaff explores the constructive role played by tourists in understanding social, political, and emotional impacts of a violent event that has ramifications far beyond the local population.

  • Stubblefield, Thomas. 2015. 9/11 And the Visual Culture of Disaster. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    The day the towers fell, indelible images of plummeting rubble, fire, and falling bodies were imprinted in the memories of people around the world. Images that were caught in the media loop after the disaster and coverage of the attack, its aftermath, and the wars that followed reflected a pervasive tendency to treat these tragic events as spectacle. Though the collapse of the World Trade Center was "the most photographed disaster in history," it failed to yield a single noteworthy image of carnage. Thomas Stubblefield argues that the absence within these spectacular images is the paradox of 9/11 visual culture, which foregrounds the visual experience as it obscures the event in absence, erasure, and invisibility. From the spectral presence of the Tribute in Light to Art Spiegelman's nearly blank New Yorker cover, and from the elimination of the Twin Towers from television shows and films to the monumental cavities of Michael Arad's 9/11 memorial, the void became the visual shorthand for the incident. By examining configurations of invisibility and erasure across the media of photography, film, monuments, graphic novels, and digital representation, Stubblefield interprets the post-9/11 presence of absence as the reaffirmation of national identity that implicitly laid the groundwork for the impending invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Primary sources