Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies


23 May 2022
15:15 - 17:00
Ravensteynzaal (1.06), Kromme Nieuwegracht 80

Public Lecture by Karunika Kardak: Opening up the Archive: History, Memory and Fiction in Contemporary Uruguay

Karunika Kardak’s upcoming book, Memory, Identity and the Historical Novel in Uruguay: Opening up the Archive 1985-2010 (Legenda, 2022), explores how Uruguayan historical novels reassess the nation’s foundational myths in the aftermath of a violent and repressive dictatorship (1973-1985). It examines how historical novels document the evolving nature of the memory of Uruguay’s nineteenth century and direct the reader towards new and renewed ways of remembering the past.

Dr. Kardak’s talk at the Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies will explore how literature, especially historical fiction, can serve as a space to redefine narratives of cultural memory and identity. It will discuss how historical novels engage with not only archival works but also challenge memory-making apparatuses such as textbooks, commemorations and material culture like monuments and museums. With Uruguayan historical fiction as a starting point, she will examine how literature reinterprets the presence and absence of historically marginalised people within the archive whilst confronting the politics of remembering and forgetting. In other words, as literature contests the past and the archive, it becomes both, to use in Renate Lachmann’s terms, a ‘culture’s memory’ and ‘an act of memory’ (2008).

Reindert Dhondt will respond to Karunika Kardak’s lecture.

Dr. Karunika Kardak completed her PhD in Hispanic Studies in 2019 at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After teaching Spanish language and literature at her alma mater in 2020, she joined the Institute of Modern Languages Research (University of London) as a Visiting Fellow in 2020-21. Her research interests include women’s writing in Latin America, historical fiction, theatre and memory studies.