Responsibility for justice in action: commemoration, affect and politics at Il Memoriale della Shoah in Milan

Tommaso M. Milani, John E. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this article, we analyse Il Memoriale della Shoah, the memorial of the victims of the Shoah in Milan, which was inaugurated in 2013 and, in 2015, was turned into a night shelter for destitute migrants. To understand the rhetoric and politics of the Memorial, we bring together the notions of affective practices, découpages du temps (lit. slices of time) and multidirectional memory. This analytic approach allows us to examine the nonlinear shape of remembering, the dialectic relationships between the spatialisation of time and the temporalisation of space, the ways in which emotions are brought into being semiotically in context, and the ethical questions that these feelings raise. Through detailed multimodal and affective analysis of the affordances of the built environment and its soundscape, the curation of the Memorial, the contextualisation of three guided tours (two online and one insitu) and politicised commentary on the Memorial’s decision to shelter refugees, our paper illustrates the multi-layered character of the relationship between space and time–one in which the past, the present and the future partly overlap and mobilise political action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-580
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Discourse Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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