chapter  6
Memory and the city
BySimon Sleight
Pages 33

Densely populated, cities are also thickly inhabited by memories. This chapter explores the processes by which some aspects of the past are physically or emotionally inscribed into the built landscape, while others are overlooked or forgotten. It seeks to determine who gets to influence acts of concerted remembering, considers the actions of those who contest or adapt ‘official’ versions of historical memory, and assesses the place of intangible and intersectional memories amidst ever-evolving city settings. Taking a comparative and international view, the chapter addresses the past as it lives and dies in the modern city. Ranging from Japan via Australia and on to Europe, South Africa and the United States, the analysis takes in street names, archaeological digs, sites of memory including graveyards and Ground Zero, and ephemeral ‘traces’ of memory. Surveying a diverse urban scene, the lecture offers some methodological pointers for engaging with memory and the city, ponders the contributions of significant scholars including Halbwachs, Hayden and Huyssen, and evaluates the first-hand experiences of walking city streets to bear witness to the past residing in the present.