Description - Prosthetic Memory by Alison Landsberg
Prosthetic Memory reveals the transformative effect that modern mass culture has had on our relationship to the past. The book argues that mass cultural forms such as cinema and television in fact contain the still-unrealized potential for a progressive politics based on empathy for the historical experiences of others. Instead of compartmentalizing American experience, the technologies of mass culture (and the constant stream of images and narratives about the past they generate) make it possible for anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender, to assimilate as deeply felt personal experiences historical events through which they themselves did not live. Landsberg examines three specific cases in which memory transmission, for historical reasons, became enormously problematic: U.S. immigrants in the 1910s and 1920s; African Americans after slavery; and the Holocaust. The book relies on a broad range of texts, including films, fictional and autobiographical narratives, newspapers, and magazines, as well as museums and memorials, in order to uncover the formation and potential of privately felt public memories.
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Columbia University Press
Publisher: Columbia University Press
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Author Biography - Alison Landsberg
Alison Landsberg is assistant professor of American cultural history at George Mason University. She lives in Arlington, Virginia.