Memory Ideologies of Two Presents: Aatami Kuortti’s Testimonies of the Gulag and Soviet Terror of Ingrian Finns

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This article attends to literary testimonies of the Gulag and Soviet terror by an Ingrian Finnish man called Aatami Kuortti from the perspective of cultural memory. By analyzing two testimonies by Kuortti published in Finland in 1934 and 1964, the article focuses on “memory ideologies,” namely, the underlying conceptions concerning the nature, functions, and consequences of memory reflected in the testimonies. Contextualizing the works with respect to the times of their publication and analyzing differences between them, it will argue that Kuortti's testimonies represent two different types of memory ideologies: instrumental and reflexive. Moreover, the article suggests that the significance of the notion of memory ideology is that it affords systematic analysis of the ways in which memory is conceptualized on various levels of culture in general and mobilized in literary testimonies and memoirs in particular. It is a useful concept for analyzing beliefs, conceptions, and principles that people and societies reflexively associate with memory. The importance of understanding memory ideologies lies in the fact that they regiment the ways in which people and societies use and interpret memory, and in these processes make evaluations with social, political, and ethical ramifications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPoetics Today
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)149–171
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6122 Literature studies
  • cultural memory
  • testimonies
  • memory ideology
  • the Gulag
  • the Soviet Union
  • life writing
  • Ingrian Finns

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