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The Past in its Place: Histories of Memory in England and Wales


This five-year project will explore the ‘history of memory’ in a range of English and Welsh locales from the early medieval period down to the modern era. Drawing on the disciplinary perspectives of literary studies and archaeology, the project will identify and interpret textual and material ‘technologies of remembrance’, including texts, oral traditions, monuments and customary practices. PASTPLACE will transcend the boundaries of periodization and discipline to examine patterns of remembrance, re-imagining and forgetting over the longue durée.

Research will be organized in three strands with staggered start-dates, focusing on three types of locale strongly associated with cultural and individual memory. Strand 1 focuses on the history of death, burial and commemoration at a group of English and Welsh cathedrals. Strand 2 explores the interaction of medieval, early modern and modern people with sites of ancient habitation, including Roman settlements, Iron Age hill forts, and prehistoric tombs. Strand 3, ‘Topographies of Memory’, explores the organization of natural and historical landscape features in perceptual frameworks. Research in each strand will centre on six case studies drawn from across southern Britain, with clusterings in the southwest and the Welsh borders.

The project’s findings will be disseminated in three co-authored volumes, edited by the PI, under the general title The Past in its Place. Exemplifying a fresh interdisciplinary approach to the history of memory, the project aims to ignite further research both within Britain and overseas. With its cross-period approach, innovative combination of literary and archaeological perspectives and methodologies, and multicultural focus, this timely project addresses challenges at the frontiers of multiple disciplines.

Call for proposal

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The queen's drive northcote house
EX4 4QJ Exeter
United Kingdom

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South West (England) Devon Devon CC
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Suzie Masterman (Mrs.)
Principal investigator
Philip Schwyzer (Prof.)
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (2)