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Un-settling memory: Cultural memory and post-colonialism [microform]
Bib ID 5740071
Format BookBook, MicroformMicroform, OnlineOnline
Lobe, Clifford
Online Versions
Description 241 pages. 
ISBN 9780612602076

In Illywhacker, memory is mediated by the material surfaces and infelicitous architectural spaces of the prison, a Pet Shop that becomes a national "gaol" and tourist attraction, the inhabitants of which embody and exhibit an amnesiac carceral unconscious. In Remembering Babylon the "order of things" in a settler invader community is un-settled by a colonial encounter with the ambivalent body of a hybrid or "in-between creature," a European male who has spent half his life with Australian Aboriginals. I read both novels not only as "places" of memory where Australia's penal-colonial past persists into the post-colonial present but also as places or texts where this persistence is interrogated.

In this view, the governing logic of memory is textual and selective; its location is at the level of culture, "in-between" the ideal and the material, "in-between" mind and matter; it operates in the mechanisms and matrices of signification and in the tropic processes and narratological shapings of condensation and displacement, repression and reconstruction. In Section One, I consider the theoretical implications and imbrications of "culture" and "memory" in the modern and postmodern periods. As secular concepts organized around the problematics of temporality, discourse, language, consciousness, subject and social formation, and so forth, "culture" and "memory" are linked together by re-presentation: by the social ways that we "mark" time and "fix" meaning in the present as inscriptions, as signs. In Section Two, I read memory in two post-colonial intertexts from the settler-invader society of Australia: Peter Carey's Illywhacker and David Malouf's Remembering Babylon.

Memory's representational forms, which always stand for something else, can thus be linked to the earliest models of writing as well as to the latest digital inscriptions or simulations: to Plato's use of the "seal" (seme or "sign") impressed in the wax-tablet; to Simonedes' architectural mnemonics; to Freud's Wunderblock or "mystic writing pad"; to the materiality of the sign and the inscribed sound-image; to the semiotic and cybernetic processes by which cultures acquire and re-construct meaning in time; to post-structural or deconstructive models of knowledge and language in which the textual logic of grammatology (palimpsest, trace, dialogism, intertext) displaces the phonologic of origin, essence, and auratic self-presence; and even to the icons and hypertext links of electronic information technologies.

Such self-reflexive thinking of the past and of the semiological and social organization of memory (theoretical and literary) is at the heart of cultural mnemonics: how we maintain our attachment to the past and, like Simonedes, remember---that is, speak "of" and "for" but not "with"---the dead. Memory's relation to the past, as one critic suggests, is not that of truth but of desire.

This dissertation considers cultural memory in theory and literature. It reads memory as a mediatory or discursive process of inscription and interpretation in both modernity and postmodernity. By locating memory in the secular and technological domain of culture rather than in the organic or metaphysical, rather than in psychical processes or in a mystical collective mind, I insist that memory is a representation---a relational process or tekhne of meaning-making that is organized by culture, by the sign system of the social.



Adviser: Stephen Slemon.

Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 62-05, Section: A, page: 1846.

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Alberta (Canada), 2000.

Reproduction Microfiche. Ann Arbor, Michigan : University Microfilms International. 
Subjects Anthropology, Cultural.  |  Literature, English.
Other authors/contributors University of Alberta (Canada)

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