Collective Memory and Digital Media Archives – University of Copenhagen

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Collective Memory and Digital Media Archives

PURPOSE: this project explores a new set of challenges which digital online archives present to media historiography. It is stipulated that media historians are confronted with a set of problems for their practices due to the substantial gap between the impact of digital media on popular memory and scholarly historiography about past media. The purpose of this on-going historiographical project is to present a range of possible responses to the challenge media historians face in the new digital age by suggesting new ways to study (and engage with) digital media’s relation to social memory. 

METHOD: current understandings of digital archives as revolutionizing scholarly historiography are investigated and contrasted with findings that show how digital archives on their own make little difference to scholarly media historiography. This lack of impact on academic historiography is analyzed in relation to social memory, because it makes a sharp contrast to the digital media’s significant impact on collective mnemonic practices. A possible answer to the question of how media historians should respond to the challenges they face in the new digital age is looked for in the corporate, political and economical structures related to the digital universe that governs the content. The reason for this particular focus is that these structures can be seen as setting the course for online digital processes that are active history-producing entities themselves.

FUNDING: this project is part of a research project funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research and the European Commissions Marie Curie CIG & COFUND actions.

CONTACT: Assistant Professor Helle Strandgaard Jensen,, tel. +45 35329430.