The dual concern of the Institute is to explore cultural identity and cultural memory: that is, the investigation of the diverse textual representational constructs and creations (e.g. traditions, myths, literary canons, and political institutions) by which national and other culture groups explore, criticise and renew their sense of identity and their public and private memories.

Our research comprises various perspectives, methodologies and theoretical frameworks, but at its core is a shared interest in interdisciplinary explorations of cultural identity and cultural memory. The Institute seeks to bring together different approaches in an innovative way and to engage with both the academic community and the wider public.

We wish to:

  • meet researchers from across the University with an interest in the topics of Cultural Identity and Cultural Memory
  • facilitate collaborative work and the building of research partnerships initially within the university, but with a view to creating wider research networks in the future
  • address and promote awareness of the importance of memory to our understanding of important societal and human questions (such as identity, conflict, how we remember, etc.)
  • Influence public discourse on identity and memory and their importance – engage in public debate and discussion
  • provide a forum for discussion of individual scholarship and collaborative work
  • explore the role played by different media in our understanding
  • provide support for PG students and colleagues
  • Share expertise and support colleagues involved in funding bids related to the themes of the Institute

We welcome staff and students from any discipline who would like to get involved.

Follow us on Twitter: @StCims

The History of the Institute

The Institute, previously known as the Cultural Identity Studies Institute (CISI) and the Institute of European Cultural Identity Studies (IECIS), was set up in 1998 for the study of the collective identities of the countries of continental Europe. As we have gradually expanded to refer to other culture-zones, including the Arabic- and Persian-speaking world; the ex-Soviet republics; Latin America; French-speaking Africa, Canada and the Caribbean; as well as Britain, in 2016 we dropped the “European” from the title, becoming the Cultural Identity Studies Institute. This year, we have expanded further to refer to the importance of memory in our understanding of identity in its many guises, we have adapted once again.

New Announcement: Two Upcoming Series in the Fields of Memory Studies

We wanted to take this opportunity to announce two new series upcoming series:

Brill’s Handbook Series in Memory Studies

In 2021 we have started working on the first volume in this series:

Memory Studies in Southeast Asia: A Handbook, and will soon expand to cover more regions to offer a comparative insight in how Memory Studies applied to different regions can offer new tools, approaches and insights to scholars working on Memory Studies at large.

Brill’s Handbook Series in Memory Studies is a multi-volume, multi-disciplinary, and transnational reference guide to the rapidly expanding field of memory studies in the global context. Mapping existing and new terrains in memory studies, the series approaches the question of memory regionally and thematically.

It offers comprehensive overviews of key debates, summarizes central theoretical insights, defines keywords, provides illustrative case studies, and identifies emerging directions in memory studies within and across regions and themes. The series features contributions from established and emerging scholars across different continents and disciplines who center memory in their analyses of the past, present, and future.


Mobilizing Memories

Memory is always moving ‒ between the individual and the collective, the local and the (trans)national, the past, the present, and the future. Remembering simultaneously creates and reveals connections across cultural, sociopolitical, and epistemological spheres. Such entanglements can be uneven or ambivalent in nature. Recent approaches frame and understand memory discourses as mobile, with the potential to mobilize individual and collective agency to serve diverging political ends.

Memory studies, consolidated as a field of research over the past few decades, remains a vibrant intellectual and political project, particularly since broadening its conceptual and contextual horizons beyond the received paradigms of nation, region, and culture. Responding to this development, the editors of this series are particularly interested in projects that adopt a comparative approach, bringing postcolonial, migration, transregional, social movement, and performance studies into dialogue with memory studies. In this vein, we welcome scholarly work which explores memory in relation to postcoloniality, transculturality, and intersectionality, as well as projects that interrogate how memories can be a resource for the future which they inevitably shape.