MC436      Half Unit
Mediating the Past

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Omar Al-Ghazzi


This course is available on the MA in Modern History, 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.

This course is 'controlled access', meaning that there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted. If the course is oversubscribed, priority will be given to students with the course listed on their Programme Regulations. Whilst we do our best to accommodate all requests, we cannot guarantee you a place on this course.


There are no formal pre-requisites, but students are required to prepare a statement of no more than 200 words in response to the following question, which must be submitted when selecting this course on LSE for You: Briefly explain what you hope to learn from the "Mediating the Past" course.

Please do not email the teacher with personal expressions of interest as these are not required and do not influence who is offered a place.

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 configuraitionsconfigurations shape understandings and experiences of time? How do we learn about history through media and why does that matter? How do memories and experiences of colonialism impact collective understandings of history and national futures? In addressing these questions, this course centres temporality in the study of 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 temporality and politics, such as colonialism/postcolonialism, nationalism, authoritarianism, collective actionactivism, 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 communication technologiesy 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 technologiessocial media 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 interdisciplinary perspective of communications and media studies.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the WT.

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce one research proposal.

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 History 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).
  • Rao, R. (2020). Out of time: the queer politics of postcoloniality. Oxford University Press.
  • 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. (2010). About to die: How news images move the public. Oxford University Press.


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

Key facts

Department: Media and Communications

Total students 2022/23: 42

Average class size 2022/23: 14

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication