Occupying memory : rhetorical studies for the 99%



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"Occupying Memory: Rhetorical Studies for the 99%" revitalizes rhetorical memory by emphasizing memory's rhetorical production and non-declinable relationship to forgetting, the persuasive force of local genealogy, and the capacity of memory to spur invention and civic intervention. "Occupying Memory" performs its revival of memory through theorization of the contemporary Occupy Movement. The first chapter, "Becoming Activist," argues that memories are rhetorically produced, and supports this supposition by analyzing various activist practices, icons, and experiences. I consider the discursive production of memory through Occupy's practice of the "human microphone," and the imagistic production of memory through images such as the Guy Fawkes Mask. I also consider forgetting in the production of memory, and analyze how subjects are compelled to action through "forgotten" affects and traumas that drive one to compose self-narratives. "Giving an Account of One's Wealth," strives to develop a strategy for teaching writing called "im-personal writing," and employs Percentile Narratives from the Occupy Movement throughout its implementation. I analyze existing narratives from multiple theoretical perspectives, and focus on how students can consider the rhetorical production of their memories while avoiding the pitfalls associated with "personal writing" such as the quest for authenticity. "The Infinite Archive," considers how the binary opposition between so-called "live" and "technological" memory deconstructs, and avers that the digitization of memory is an instance of "hyper-extension" rather than "externalization." I consider multiple cases of such extension in the form of social media archives including Twitter, live streaming video, and viral memes. The problem of digital forgetting and networked multitudes is likewise engaged. "Stiller than Still" contends that (singular) bodies and specific living structures can function as monuments oriented toward the future. I argue that the type of memory such monuments produce is a "common" rather than "public" memory, one that entails resistance to state control, participatory democracy, and the preservation of difference. I also consider the nature of "common" forgetting in relation to affirmation. The text culminates with "Beginning(s)," as I consider how rhetorical memory and the Occupy Movement open onto the future, as well as the relation between memory, social movements, nostalgia, and hope.