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History, Memory and Identity in Jordan

Wann 28.05.2008
von 06:00 pm bis 08:30 pm
Wo Zentrum Moderner Orient, Kirchweg 33, 14129 Berlin
Name Dr. Sonja Hegasy
Contact Email
Kontakttelefon Tel.: 030 - 80307 223
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Lecture by Prof. Irène Maffi (University of Lausanne)

Collective memory is a very complex object of study. Since the publication of the works of Maurice Halbwachs many scholars have analyzed how a group’s past is transmitted from one generation to the other in different social and cultural contexts. Material objects play a crucial role in the transmission of the social memory at least in the modern world. In order to illustrate this aspect, I will analyse the case of Jordan and try to show how the heritage has been fabricated and used to build a national past and a common identity. The creation of a “national memory” in the Jordanian Kingdom is especially interesting because it is a State created by the British less than a century ago and because at least half of its population is of Palestinian origin. How to build a shared identity for the citizens of this new political entity? How to identify a collective past for a people which were far from acknowledging a shared experience? These were the main issues the Hashemite monarchs had to face after Independence if they were to build a postcolonial nation state.

Prof. Irène Maffi is Assistant Professor in social anthropology at the University of Lausanne. She is a specialist of the Near East where she has been doing research since 1997. Irène Maffi is the author of „Pratiques du patrimoine et politiques de la mémoire en Jordanie. Entre histoire dynastique et récits communautaires“ published in 2004 at Payot, Lausanne.


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