The dynamics of cultural remembrance: an intermedial perspective

Paulus Bijl (MA)


project: ‘Emerging Memory: Photographs of Colonial Atrocity in Dutch Cultural Remembrance’ (PhD project)

Supervisors: Prof. Ann Rigney, prof. Frank van Vree

Paulus Bijl studied Dutch Literature and Literary Studies in Amsterdam (VU), Utrecht, and Los Angeles (UCLA). He was a visiting research scholar at Columbia University in New York.

In my thesis I investigate the subsequent appearances in Dutch cultural memory of a number of photographs of colonial atrocity made in 1904 in the Dutch East Indies. I follow these photographs during the last century as they were framed, and reframed by different textual and visual contexts, media, social scenes, and distributions of the sensible: the implicit rules which condition what is available to sense perception (Rancière). In both the academic and the broader social scene, my study seeks to change thinking about memory and forgetting. It does so in two ways: by interrogating the logic of dominant accounts of memory and forgetting – a logic I see defined by a binary opposition between these two concepts – and by developing concepts that can more accurately describe the complexity of the dynamics between these two phenomena.

I published an article on photography and colonial conceptions of time in Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory, ed. Astrid Erll and Ann Rigney, 2009. Its title is “Old, Eternal, and Future Light in the Dutch East Indies: Colonial Photography and the History of the Globe.”