The CIMS Reading Group aims to stimulate interdisciplinary discussion about the importance of cultural identity and memory in society. We will take as our starting point for the sessions some canonical texts, as well as more recent interventions, and will explore these works and their implications for cultural understanding and change.

Upcoming Events: Semester 1, 2021-2022

Thursday 2 December 2021, 12:30 to 2pm (Online via Teams): On Astrid Erll’s Memory Worlds in Times of Corona. Online via Teams— Limited places. To register, please email

We are delighted to announce that the reading group on this date will be run jointly with the Centre for Memory Studies of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

Key reading:

Astrid Erll, “Afterword: Memory Worlds in Times of Corona,” Memory Studies 13, no. 5 (2020), pp. 861-874.

Questions to keep in mind:

  1. According to Erll, Memory Studies is “invested in the remembrance and resonance of historical events ex post facto.” With that caveat in mind, can Memory Studies still help us theorise in the uncertainty of the moment?


  1. Erll describes the corona pandemic as the “first worldwide digitally witnessed pandemic” and contrasts the apparent superabundance of corona-related data against the scarcity of information available during the Spanish Flu. Can the overflow of information impact the kinds of memory emerging from the present pandemic?


  1. In what ways has the disruption of ordinary life rhythms (i.e., routines or patterns) affected the dynamics of memory?


  1. What kinds of record of the Covid pandemic have been created by literature and film? How might they affect future memorialisations of this period?


  1. Are the experiences of some groups or individuals more likely to be remembered, while those others more likely to remain unheard or to become erased?


  1. Have protests during the pandemic evoked a memory of dignity of life—beyond mere biological life—that is worth preserving?


Suggested secondary readings:

  1. Chris Delanty, Six Political Philosophies in Search of a Virus.


  1. Tabish Khair, Inside the Tortoise: On the literary responses to the ongoing pandemic


  1. Interview with Amitav Gosh: ‘I suspect there will be a huge wave of novels about the pandemic’.


  1. Jamie Saxon, Making meaning of the pandemic ‘through the lens of literature’


  1. Natasa Gavrilovic, Teaching Literature in Times of Pandemic.


Please find our past events here.