© 2018

Cultural Memory, Memorials, and Reparative Writing


  • Explores the topic of affective memory as it relates to slavery and racism in the Americas

  • Contributes to scholarship in trauma studies and cultural memory studies

  • Makes connections to current debates about memorials and cultural memory in the United States


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Erica L. Johnson
    Pages 1-6
  3. Erica L. Johnson
    Pages 7-31
  4. Erica L. Johnson
    Pages 33-56
  5. Erica L. Johnson
    Pages 57-93
  6. Erica L. Johnson
    Pages 95-100
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 101-112

About this book


Cultural Memory, Memorials, and Reparative Writing examines the ways in which memory furnishes important source material in the three distinct areas of critical theory, memoir, and memorial art. The book first shows how affect theorists have increasingly complemented more traditional archival research through the use of “academic memoir.”  This theoretical piece is then applied to memoir works by Caribbean writers Dionne Brand and Patrick Chamoiseau, and the final case study in the book interprets as memorial art Kara Walker’s ephemeral 80,000 pound sugar sculpture of 2014. Memory as method; memory as archive; memorial as affect: this book looks at the interplay between archival sources on the one hand, and the affective memories, both personal and collective, that flow from, around, and into the constantly shifting record of the past. 


affect theory memory studies memorial art affective memory memoirs life writing personal memory trauma studies slavery in the Americas racism in the Americas Equal Justice Initiative Kara Walker

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Pace UniversityNew YorkUSA

About the authors

Erica L. Johnson is Professor of English at Pace University in New York.  She is the author of books including Caribbean Ghostwriting (2009), and co-editor of Memory as Colonial Capital (2017) and The Female Face of Shame (2013).

Bibliographic information


“In Cultural Memory, Memorials, and Reparative Writing, Erica Johnson invigorates both memory studies and affect theory through thoughtful attention to how affect shapes archives and constructions of memory.  Urgent and eloquently argued, this book highlights Caribbean and U.S. memories of slavery, violence, and injustice in theoretical writings, memoirs, and memorials to trace the emergence of counter-archives that practice repair.” (Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University, USA, and author of The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust (2012))

“Interdisciplinary and international in scope; enviably concise in surveying, and astute in selecting and deploying, a wide range of scholarship; nuanced in demonstrating a reparative reading practice across different modalities; and elegantly persuasive in arguing ‘the affective archive’ as method, Professor Johnson’s book makes productive reading for anyone interested in coming to terms, through cultural and memorial practices, with the afterlives of slavery.” (Donna Palmateer Pennee, Western University, Canada)