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The Memory of Slavery in Liverpool in Public Discourse from the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day

Moody, Jessica (2014) The Memory of Slavery in Liverpool in Public Discourse from the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis maps the public, collective memory of slavery in Liverpool from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day. Using a discourse-analytic approach, the study draws on a wide range of ‘source genres’ to interrogate processes of collective memory across written histories, guidebooks, commemorative occasions and anniversaries, newspapers, internet forums, black history organisations and events, tours, museums, galleries and the built environment. By drawing on a range of material across a longue durée, the study contributes to a more nuanced understanding of how this former ‘slaving capital of the world’ has remembered its exceptional involvement in transatlantic slavery across a two hundred year period. This thesis demonstrates how Liverpool’s memory of slavery has evolved through a chronological mapping (Chapter Two) which places memory in local, national and global context(s). The mapping of memory across source areas is reflected within the structure of the thesis, beginning with ‘Mapping the Discursive Terrain’ (Part One), which demonstrates the influence and intertextuality of identity narratives, anecdotes, metaphors and debates over time and genre; ‘Moments of Memory’ (Part Two), where public commemorative occasions, anniversaries and moments of ‘remembrance’ accentuate issues of ‘performing’ identity and the negotiation of a dissonant past; and ‘Sites of Memory’ (Part Three), where debate and discourse around particular places in Liverpool’s contested urban terrain have forged multiple lieux de memoire (sites of memory) through ‘myths’ of slave bodies and contestations over race and representation. Through its approach, structure and methods of analysis, this thesis argues that Liverpool’s memory of slavery has been complicated by varying uses of the past alongside contemporary circumstance and context. However, and as the long durée approach has demonstrated, ongoing engagements with this history continue to impact and influence subsequent commemorations, creating mnemonic legacies across time. Additionally, the memory of slavery in Liverpool has been further complicated by the ongoing memory of context; the place of other significant moments in the city’s social, economic, political, and, especially racial history. The discourse-analytic approach, moreover, demonstrates memory’s active and interactive dynamics, which incorporate broader societal discourses, and reveal the social processes of collective memory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Slavery, Memory, Public History, Heritage, Museums, Liverpool History
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605469
Depositing User: Ms Jessica Moody
Date Deposited: 27 May 2014 12:27
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6151

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