Cultural Memory: From the Threshold of Literacy to the Digital Age

  • Patrick H. Hutton


I address changing conceptions of collective memory in light of advances in the technologies of communication, with particular attention to the passage from orality to literacy, and in our times from print to electronic/digital culture. Central to this line of inquiry are the pioneering studies by German scholars Jan and Aleida Assmann on the concept of cultural memory, conceived as the elaboration of memorable heritage in canon and archive. I follow with a discussion of the implications of digital age media for understanding cultural memory, as memory studies escape their niche in historiography to become an interdisciplinary field. Here communication science plays a key role in rethinking the relationship between biological and artificial memory in the electronic archive.


Aleida Assmann Jan Assmann Canon and archive Cultural memory Digital age memory Mnemohistory Orality and literacy 

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick H. Hutton
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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