Catholic academic to give talk on importance of memory

A New Zealand Catholic academic, who is interested in public uses of the past and how communities make sense of violence and trauma, will give at talk at Devonport, on Auckland’s North Shore, in late February.

Dr Rowan Light (Photo: University of Auckland)

The talk by Dr Rowan Light, an Auckland University historian of memory and commemoration, is titled: “Why memory matters.”

It will take place at 7pm on February 24 at St Leo’s Hall, Devonport. All are welcome and parking is available at the school off Owens Rd, which runs off Lake Rd. There is a gold coin koha.

Dr Light, a former student of St Leo’s School in Devonport, and of Rosmini College in Takapuna, said: “By exploring some of the local stories that have shaped the communities of Devonport, we can see that, just as personal memory is key to the way we construct our identity over our lifetime, so too the collective memory of our communities links us to each other and provides a vision of continuity in the face of radical discontinuity in our everyday lives.”

“My most recent article was published in the special First World War issue of Journal of Australian Studies exploring the scripts of remembrance of 19th and 20th century violence in Māori Television Anzac Day broadcasts since 2006,” he said.

Dr Light’s doctoral research explored imperial and post-imperial remembrances of the First World War, in particular, the emergence of post-war national commemorations from 1965 to the Anzac Centenary in 2015.

The memory of “the long nineteenth century” is a key research interest.

“My essay ‘Unknown Anzacs: the politics and performance of bodily repatriation and state formation’, was awarded the Ken Inglis Postgraduate History Prize and published in Australian Historical Studies in 2018. ‘Unknown Anzacs’ explored the connections between nineteenth and twentieth-century histories of violence through a comparative and transnational lens,” Dr Light said.

“I have also published in Australian Historical Studies, the Melbourne Journal of History, and the New Zealand Journal of History, as well as reviewing for Men and Masculinities. My ‘public impact’ writing in New Zealand Herald, Dominion Post and The Press has contributed to the evolving debate about public monuments and New Zealand’s colonial history,” he said.

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NZ Catholic Staff

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