After a mixed experience as co-editor of a Lieux de mémoire-volume on Luxembourg1, I tried in the last years to reflect more on the history and the circulation of this concept in Europe.
The abstract of a chapter I published in a book edited by Stefan Berger and Bill Niven reads as follow:
If an imaginary European History Academy had to choose the word of the last 20 years in historiography, then undoubtedly lieux de mémoire – realms of memory, or Erinnerungsorte in German – would be on the short list. The writings of Pierre Nora on lieux de mémoire have successfully created a meta-concept able to unite the growing studies on memory. Rarely has a notion coined by one person spread so rapidly through the Western academic world. But the homonym of the translations can be treacherous, hiding a heterogeneity of meanings. The following chapter will try to answer three questions. In which intellectual context did the original lieux de mémoire emerge? What was the discursive subtext of the whole enterprise? And how was the theoretical frame translated into practice? In a second step, I will try to trace the European success of the concept by analysing how the French paradigm of lieux de mémoire was introduced into other national historiographic traditions.
If you want to read the whole article, click here.
- Kmec S., B. Majerus, M. Margue, et P. Peporté (dir.), Lieux de mémoire au Luxembourg. Usages du passé et construction nationale, Luxembourg, Saint-Paul, 2007.