History, University of Birmingham
In its current form, Germany’s dominant cultural memory manifests an attitude of ignorance towards German colonialism. Promoting a gravely ahistoric version of Germany’s past and the marginalisation of local communities descending from formerly colonised peoples, institutions are increasingly scrutinised by activists demanding genuine re-engagement with the past. My PhD will advance this debate by exploring the transformative potential of non-institutionalised memory activism to encourage the decolonisation of mainstream memory culture. This will involve an acknowledgment of the colonial period as a constituent of modernity, a re-assessment of authoritative knowledge and representation, and a critical self-reflection on the normativity of whiteness that excludes non-white perspectives and governs contemporary memory culture.