The Pop-History Spectacle: Curating Public Memory and Historical Consciousness through the Visual

  • Pamela Rogers University of Ottawa
  • Nichole Grant University of Ottawa

Abstract

Hosted in the nation’s capital, the multisensory/digital historical performances displayed on Centre Block at Parliament Hill have had over one million viewers, making the shows a popular summer attraction. Upon closer inspection, however, the historical narratives in both Mosaika and Northern Lights focus on limited, exclusionary, and mythological representations of Canada’s beginnings, but perhaps more importantly, the artistic and technological element, “the spectacle,” creates something new altogether—which we are calling pop-history. Pop-history, a cultural understanding of popular history, is the emphasis of the theatrical over the historical, making history a performance to be consumed, but not critically thought through, or engaged with. Through this, we argue that although technologically striking, the narrowly imagined pop-history spectacle contributes to the shaping of a limited Canadian historical consciousness based on a normalized version of the past.

Author Biographies

Pamela Rogers, University of Ottawa

PhD Candidate

Society, Culture, and Literacies

Faculty of Education

Nichole Grant, University of Ottawa

PhD Candidate

Society, Culture, and Literacies

Faculty of Education

Published
2017-03-10
How to Cite
Rogers, P., & Grant, N. (2017). The Pop-History Spectacle: Curating Public Memory and Historical Consciousness through the Visual. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue Canadienne De l’éducation, 40(1), 1-24. Retrieved from https://journals.sfu.ca/cje/index.php/cje-rce/article/view/2152
Section
Special Capsule on Historical Consciousness | Capsule spéciale : la conscience historique