Camp de Rivesaltes: The Topography of French Cultural Memory
My research concentrates on the relationship between memory of the Second World War and decolonisation in contemporary France. My project is site-based, focusing on the Rivesaltes Memorial Museum, a site of internment throughout the 20th Century. Drawing on methods from a wide range of disciplines, my research will interrogate how the museum conveys the interlocking histories and memories of Vichy, the Holocaust and the Algerian War and how this impacts upon French identity today. Through archival research, participant observation and interviews I will develop an understanding of how interpretations of past conflict, internment and the Other impact upon present discourse in French society.
To develop an understanding of the French memorial landscape in the contemporary period
To understand the links between the history and memory of the Vichy period and the Algerian War
To assess the ways in which visitors consume and interpret the site at Rivesaltes as a lieu de mémoire
To locate and contextualise Rivesaltes as a site of memory within the French memorial landscape and the wider European landscape.