Black Memory versus State Memory: Notes toward a Method
Abstract

Abstract:

In addition to providing some conceptual and theoretical cues from fiction, literary and visual criticism, history, and philosophy that treat the subject of memory, this paper provides an outline of a critical method to distinguish among various deployments of black memory. This paper highlights and explores some of the tensions between state and popular memory in the discourses of transnational black politics, as well as in the development and circulation of state sanctioned national history within national societies.

[We] need to distinguish, in talking about memory, between episodes you might call ‘in technicolor’, which I described because they seemed essential and worthy of record, and the grey material, ‘in black and white’, the everyday routine.

—Primo Levi, “Words, Memory, and Hope”