Not available in 2021/22
MC436      Half Unit
Mediating the Past

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Omar Al-Ghazzi


This course is available on the MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and UCT), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Data and Society), MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research), MSc in Media, Communication and Development, MSc in Politics and Communication and MSc in Strategic Communications. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course starts with the premise that the understanding of the past and the future is socially-constructed, mediated, and shaped by power relations within the present. It critically explores cultural, political and technological issues in relation to the passing of time. It addresses questions such as: How do different kinds of media represent and structure collective notions about time whether in relation to the present, the past or the future? How do power relations shape understandings and experiences of time? How do we learn about history through media and why does that matter? How does the trauma of colonialism impact collective understandings of history and national futures? In addressing these questions, this course makes creative connections between various topics in media and communication studies. It introduces students to the field of collective memory, differentiating it from history and historiography. It then considers critical issues within the relation between history, memory and politics, which are colonialism/postcolonialism, nationalism, collective action, trauma, witnessing and war. The second part of the class focuses on the analysis of technology and media in the ways they contribute to the social construction of time. It addresses how privilege and access to technology regulate the speed and slowness of people’s lives. It moves on to exploring how particular media conventions represent temporality, with a focus on news media, digital technologies and popular culture. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify key debates in the study of time and temporality, particularly as approached from the disciplinary perspective of communications and media studies.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and flipped-lectures delivered as online videos. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce one 1500 word essay.

Indicative reading

  • Badiou, A (2012). The rebirth of history: Times of riots and uprisings. Verso Books. 
  • Boym, S. (2008). The future of nostalgia. Basic Books.
  • Chakrabarty, D. (2009). Privincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton University Press
  • Diouf. M. (2003). Historians and Histories: What For? African Historiography: Between the State and the Communities. International Institute of Social History, South-South Exchange Programme for Research on the Histoy of Development.
  • Hage, G. (2009). Waiting out the crisis: On stuckedness and governmentality. Waiting, 97.
  • Hobsbawm, E., & Ranger, T (Eds.). (2012). The invention of tradition. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Keighley, E., & Pickering, M. (2012). The Mnemonic Imagination. Palgrave Macmilan, London.
  • Khayyat, M., Khayyat, Y., & Khayyat, R. (2018). Pieces of Us: The Intimate as Imperial Archive. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies, 14(3), 268-291.
  • Mark, J. (2010). The unfinished revolution: Making sense of the communist past in Central-Eastern Europe (p.8). New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Martin-Barbero, J. (1993). Communication, culture and hegemony: from the media to mediations. Sage Pubns. 
  • Nelson, A. (2008). Bio science: Genetic genealogy testing and the pursuit of African ancestry. Social Studies of Science, 38(5), 759-783. 
  • Nora, P. (1989). Between memory and history: Les lieux de mémoire. Representations.
  • Olick, J. K., Vinitzky-Seroussi, V., & Levy, D. (Eds.). (2011). The collective memory reader. Oxford University.
  • Özyürek, E. (2006). Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey. Duke University Press Books.
  • McClintock, A., & Robertson, G. (1994). Soft-soaping empire: Commodity racism and imperial advertising (pp. pp-131). London: Routledge.
  • Misztal, B. (2003). Theories of social remembering. McGraw-HIll Education (UK). 
  • Najmabadi, A. (1996). “Is our name remembered?”: Writing the history of Iranian constitutionalism as if women and gender mattered. Iranian Studies, 29(1-2), 85-109.
  • Sharma, S. (2014). In the meantime: Temporality and cultural politics. Duke University Press.
  • Smith, R. M. (2003). Stories of peoplehood: The politics and morals of political membership. Cambridge University Press.
  • Strassler, K. (2006). Reformasi Through Our Eyes: Children as Witnesses of History in Post Suharto Indonesia. Visual Anthropology Review, 22(2), 53-70.
  • Trouillot, M. R. (1995). Silencing the past: Power and the production of history. Beacon Press.
  • Zelizer, B. (1998). Remembering to forget: Holocaust memory through the camera's eye. University of Chicago Press.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2020/21: 58

Average class size 2020/21: 15

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication