MCH Seminar Series: Nostalgia: a ‘connective tissue’ for heritage and/or an aide to late capitalism?



Image credit: Nostalgia Shelf Eugene Kim

Wednesday 21 June, 1-3pm, Armstrong Building, 2.90

Nostalgia: a ‘connective tissue’ for heritage and/or an aide to late capitalism?

Prof Alastair Bonnett (Geography, Newcastle University)

Philippa Carter (PhD Researcher, Geography, Newcastle University)

Dr Sarah de Nardi (Geography, Durham University)


Prof Alastair Bonnett: ‘The nostalgic commodity: hyper-capitalism and yearning’

Late capitalism sustains the seemingly contradictory impulses to uproot the world and to commoditise memory into nostalgic products and experiences. This paper looks at how this paradox has been approached in Eve Chiapello and Luc Boltanski’s The New Spirit of Capitalism and suggests that capitalism and nostalgia may have closer and more creative ties that previously theorised.

Philippa Carter: ‘Encountering nostalgia in the Land of Oak and Iron’

My PhD project explores the ways in which landscapes are valued as heritage by communities and across generations. Taking the Derwent Valley, North East England as a case study and working in collaboration with the Land of Oak and Iron Landscape Partnership project the research will explore the ways in which people understand and engage with their local landscapes and how this is mediated by their family relationships and collective memories. Focusing on the ways in which memories of the industrial landscape are employed and deployed, transformed and translated within and between local communities, the project will particularly consider the ways in which nostalgia can play an active role in the construction of memory and heritage. In this talk I will consider some of the initial encounters I have experienced within the Land of Oak and Iron, and what the feelings of nostalgia expressed within these situations can reveal about how individuals and groups negotiate the past as part of constructing a shared heritage.

Dr Sarah de Nardi: ‘Mapping more-than-nostalgia: framing heritage co-production and heritage futures through community mapping’

Is nostalgia an affect? Or is it a performative mechanism enacted by heritage professionals and publics together, in order to get the ‘mood’ right? Like heritage co-production, nostalgia may work as a connective tissue between heritage publics, practitioners and heritage objects through materiality and imagination. In this talk, I argue that the process of co-producing, of making and negotiating heritage values, relies on more than verbal clues and sensory experiences that exceed the discursive and representational. I explore these clues through community-led memory mapping. Co-curated memory mapping may bring together the imaginative, the creative and the unspoken in a story that ‘illustrates’ present and future passions, dreams and statements as well as (or more than) simple nostalgia for a past.


The seminar is free and is open to all interested in attending. No need to book