The term ‘‘rhetorical resources’’ is borrowed, with thanks, from con-
versations with Norman Rosenberg. By this term, I mean those evoca-
tive rhetorical conventions that come to stand, as a kind of shorthand,
for larger stories and meanings.
A useful definition of ‘‘collective memory’’—sometimes also called
‘‘social memory,’’ ‘‘popular memory,’’ ‘‘public memory,’’ or ‘‘historical
memory’’—is presented by Zelizer, ‘‘Reading the Past against the
Grain’’: ‘‘Collective memory comprises recollections of the past that
are determined and shaped by the group. By definition, collective
memory thereby presumes activities of sharing, discussion, negotia-
tion, and, often, contestation. Remembering becomes implicated in a
range of other activities having as much to do with identity formation,
power and authority, cultural norms, and social interactions as with
the simple act of recall. Its full understanding thus requires an appro-
priation of memory as social, cultural, and political action at its broad-
est level. . . . From the perspective of memory studies, the most
promising discussions in the academy have granted a fluidity to the
distinction between history and memory’’ (pp. 214–216).
There are a number of di√erent, sometimes interrelated, traditions in
writings on historical memory. For my project the seminal work by
Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, has proved most useful. Halbwachs
was the first sociologist to theorize memory as a social activity—that is,
how di√erent memories persist in individuals who identify them-
selves with di√erent groups, depending on their particular pres-
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