Mass demonstrations are newsworthy. But how are they remembered when they are no longer news? Social movements are usually studied in terms of their emergence and subsidence. Despite recognition that activists are ‘inspired’ by precedents, the afterlife of activism in story and image has never been systematically explored. ReAct claims that knowledge of this cultural memory is needed for a full understanding civil resistance.
The project will provide the first in-depth account of the remembering and forgetting of activism in Europe since the late 19th century. It will reveal continuities and changes in how protest has been depicted in different media regimes; demonstrate the role of texts, images, and commemorative practices in conveying the memory of protest to later generations; and show how this memory feeds back into later movements at home and abroad.