Memory Politics and Identity – Interview with Dr. Markus Hallensleben

Markus Hallensleben is a professor in the Languages department at University of British Columbia.


In this interview, Dr. Markus Hallensleben shares how memory politics is embedded in narratives that construct identity. Oftentimes, there is a purpose behind this narrative, which can create insider and outsider groups. We should critically question who starts these discourses, who keeps them going, what the purpose behind the discourse is, and who would benefit from it. These questions help deconstruct what a ‘theatre of memory’ is. Dr. Hallensleben also stresses how memory politics is entangled in a Eurocentric and egocentric model; we picture society as a container to which we belong. However, ‘identity’ is not fixed as this model presumes. Identity is inherently flexible. As such, subscribing to a group identity can become a problematic concept. According to Hallensleben, we must therefore embrace a dynamic space when constructing and discussing identities.

This interview is part of the interview series ” Expert Voices on Memory Politics” realized with the financial support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Kanada and the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union. The interviews were recorded during the October 2022 conference “Addressing the Past – Shaping the Future”.