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The Lives of ObjectsMaterial Culture, Experience, and the Real in the History of Early Christianity$
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Maia Kotrosits

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226707440

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226707617.001.0001

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Histories Unwritten in Stone

Histories Unwritten in Stone

The Frustrations of Memorialization

(p.67) 3 Histories Unwritten in Stone
The Lives of Objects

Maia Kotrosits

University of Chicago Press

This chapter shows how practices of memorialization, especially ancient epigraphic practices, attempt to reckon with the effects of political ruination. It culls a variety of forms of ancient and contemporary memorialization alongside ancient inscriptions; chronicling how these forms of memorialization cannot capture the life they long to capture. Memorialization means speaking for and about something or someone that has passed, an attempt to generate meaning, often narrative meaning, around it or them. But memorialization also carries out elegiac work for forms of sovereignty: attempts to sustain, mark, or narrate a life often also subtly register the costs of political domination. These forms of memorialization are frustrated not just by the refusal of the past to be or stay past, but also by an inability to manage the terms of disappearance and survival.

Keywords:   memorialization, monuments, epigraphy, healing gems, Gospel of Mark, sovereignty, Ignatius of Antioch, Christina Sharpe, history, archives

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