reading notes – memory

As i was reading on qualitative research methods, i came across a talk by feminist scholar Cynthia Cockburn. These ideas seem interesting to consider for my research but more so, they spoke to me about what i have been doing (exploring might be more accurate) here…

It’s common ground among memory researchers that a given memory shouldn’t be taken as “truth” but rather as evidence, to be interrogated, mined for its meanings and its possibilities. A memory should be seen as something to be critically interpreted in terms of both form and content. Both individual and collective memories of given events and moments change with the passage of time. Memory studies aren’t just concerned with the past. The crucial thing is they’re about the relationship between past and the present.

and later:

And as to the photographs… They may seem like representations of historical events and moments that may be understood at a glance – but photos are tricky things. They’re not transparent in this way. […] A photograph is contradictory because on the one hand it has a secure indexicality, it can be traced back to an actual time and place. But perversely, its meaning actually changes as time passes.

(Source : « Using photography in connection with social research »,

deuil impossible

[…] peut-on espérer que celui ou celle qui a perdu un enfant puisse desserrer quelque peu le nœud qui lie la souffrance et la fidélité à la mémoire? Il semble tout d’abord que ne plus être accablé serait comme renier l’attachement à celui ou celle qui s’en est allé. Il faut que tout à chaque instant nous rappelle l’absence. Rien ne doit être modifié de la vie de l’enfant perdu. La vie doit s’arrêter.

François Roustang, « Deuil impossible », dans Jamais de la vie : écrits et images sur les pertes et les deuils. 2001, p.17-18.


my tentative translation:

[…] can we hope that someone who has lost a child may loosen the knot tying suffering and loyalty to memory? At first, it seems that not being afflicted would be like disavowing our attachment to the lost one. All moments need to be reminders of their absence. Nothing can be modified from our lost child’s life. Life must stop.