Mapping MemoryVisuality, Affect, and Embodied Politics in the Americas

Mapping MemoryVisuality, Affect, and Embodied Politics in the Americas

Kaitlin M. Murphy

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780823282548

Publisher: Fordham University Press


In Mapping Memory: Visuality, Affect, and Embodied Politics in the Americas, Kaitlin M. Murphy analyzes a range of visual memory practices that have emerged in opposition to political discourses and visual economies that suppress certain subjects and overlook past and present human rights abuses. From the Southern Cone to Central America and the US-Mexico borderlands, and across documentary film, photography, performance, memory sites, and new media, she compares how these visual texts use memory as a form of contemporary intervention. Interweaving visual and performance theory with memory and affect, Murphy develops new frameworks for analyzing how visual culture performs as an embodied agent of memory and witnessing. She argues that visuality is inherently performative; and analyzing the performative elements, or strategies, of visual texts—such as embodiment, reperformance, reenactment, haunting, and the performance of material objects and places—elucidates how memory is both anchored into and extracted from specific bodies, objects, and places. Murphy progressively develops the theory of memory mapping, defined as the visual process of representing the affective, sensorial, polyvocal, and temporally layered relationship between past and present, anchored within the specificities of place. Ultimately, by exploring how memory is “mapped” across a range of sites and mediums, Murphy argues that memory mapping is a visual strategy for producing new temporal and spatial arrangements of knowledge and memory that function as counter-practices to official narratives that often neglect or designate as transgressive certain memories or experiences.