Jeffrey Olick is a professor of sociology and history at the University of Virginia. His publications include In the House of the Hangman: The Agonies of German Defeat, 1943-1949 (Chicago 2005); The Politics of Regret: On Collective Memory and Historical Responsibility (Routledge 2007); and The Collective Memory Reader (with Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi and Daniel Levy, Oxford 2011), as well as two translations and critical editions (with Andrew Perrin) of Frankfurt School work on public opinion (Harvard 2010, 2011).
Abstract: Across numerous disciplines, scholarly interest in the past three decades has converged around the concept (or concepts) of memory. What are the sources of this interest? What opportunities does it present, and what obstacles does it face? In particular, Olick explores two issues. First, he asks to what extent the waning of a “memory boom” in public culture will alter the landscape of scholarly memory studies. And second, he inquires into the conditions – intellectual and institutional – that hinder the consolidation of memory studies as a relatively coherent field, and he explores some solutions, as well as the desirability of such consolidation.