Curating Memory: 9/11 Commemoration and Foucault's Archive
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This study of commemoration of 9/11 on the 10th anniversary is performed at the intersection of public memory and rhetorical studies. Examining the role of the individual within public memory, this study furthers both fields by expanding on the definitions, processes, and negotiation between official and vernacular discourse. With a theoretical frame work that uses Foucault's concept of discursive archive, rhetors involved in the creation of public memory are framed as curators of a discursive archive of 9/11 memory. The role and limitations of the curatorial role is explored in three cases studies: a local ceremony, national newspapers, and Twitter hashtags. The study finds that there is a complicated interaction between vernacular and official memory and narrow definitions of the terms are not sufficient to describe the processes through which individuals take part in public memory. Rhetors involved in the public memory process may take on complex and ambiguous roles within the entangled discourses of official and vernacular memory. Within these case studies, individual curators crafted messages about the 10th anniversary of 9/11 that reify the importance of individuals tied to particular groups, urge for unity, and focus on the ten years since the tragedies.
Rowe, Sara 1988- (2012). Curating Memory: 9/11 Commemoration and Foucault's Archive. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from