9.3 (Re)presenting the modern past

Understandings of the modern past are communicated in numerous ways and, through research, it is possible to understand how this past is presented, how its presentation changes from context to context and how the present and future are contested through different representations of the past.

Recent research has, for example, done much to develop understanding of representations of the Highland Clearances in local and national museums, situating them both in relation to wider developments in heritage presentation and in relation to struggles over this past in the context of present-day concerns over land ownership and control, inequality and cultural and economic marginalisation (e.g. Macdonald 1997b; Gouriévidis 2010).

Research under this theme should analyse, de-construct and evaluate representations of the modern past in museums of different kinds, in art and literature, on film and TV, in other contexts and through other media and technologies. In particular, the focus should be on representations of the material culture of the recent past and the manner in which this material is tied to particular narratives of modern society and modern relationships with the material and natural worlds. Research should interrogate the relationship between representation of the recent past and the social, political and economic context of that representation.


See also the ScARf Case Study: The Callanish Blackhouse- contested representations of the recent past