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Jessica Rapson

Dr Jessica Rapson


Tel +44 (0)20 7848 7908
Culture, Media and Creative Industries
King’s College London
2.02 Chesham Building
Strand Campus 
WC2R 2LS  



Jessica Rapson joined CMCI in September 2013. She has previously been a lecturer at Royal Holloway, London South Bank University and Goldsmiths College, where she completed her doctoral research. Jessica holds a BA (Hons) in Critical Fine Art Practice (University of Brighton) and an MA in Cultural Memory (The Institute of Modern Language Research, University of London).

Dr Rapson’s recently published monograph, Topographies of Suffering: Buchenwald, Babi Yar, Lidice (Berghahn 2015) examines a range of Holocaust memorial landscapes in Germany, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and the United States, and associated mediation in literary and cultural texts. She is also the co-editor of The Transcultural Turn: Interrogating Memory Between and Beyond Borders (de Gruyter 2014).

Research Interests and PhD supervision

Research Interests and PhD supervision

  • Cultural memory and the politics of commemorative landscape
  • Culture, climate change and environmental and nuclear disaster
  • Transculturalism and cosmopolitanism
  • ‘Difficult’ heritage, dark tourism and cultural diplomacy

Jessica’s interdisciplinary research concerns the mediation and production of memory in culture, with a particular focus on landscape and the environment, literature and the heritage industry, mainly in continental Europe and the Unites States. Bringing together recent scholarship in cultural memory and cultural geography, her new book, Topographies of Suffering, examines a range of commemorative Holocaust landscapes and related literature and media. She has published widely on memory and commemorative landscapes in journals and edited collections, and forthcoming work includes an essay on ‘plantary memory’ in climate change fiction and a chapter on the remediation of memories of the Hiroshima nuclear attack. In addition to presenting her work in the UK, Europe, the United States, Brazil and Canada, she has co-organised several conferences and seminars, including Transcultural Memory (for the inauguration of the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory at the Institute of Modern Language Research, London 2010), Education and Memory (IMLR, 2012) Memory and Restitution (American Comparative Literature Association, Toronto, and University of Westminster, 2013). Her current research examines the contemporary production of memory at former slave plantations in the American South, in the context of contemporary environmental and socio-economic racial injustice. 

She is a partner in the London Consortium for Cultural Memory Studies, the Mnemonics network for Memory Studies and the research project, the Natural History of Memory.

Jessica is currently supervising and co-supervising several PhD students in CMCI. She welcomes applications for PhD topics related to any of her research interests.


Selected Publications


  • Rapson, J. Topographies of Suffering: Buchenwald, Babi Yar, Lidice. New York: Berghahn (forthcoming 2015)

Edited Collection:

  • Rapson, J. and Bond, L. The Transcultural Turn: Interrogating Memory between and Beyond Borders (de Gruyter, January 2014).

Articles and Chapters: 

  • Rapson, J. “Fencing in and Weeding Out: Curating Nature at Former Concentration Camps in Europe,” in Krystallia Kamvasinou, Eugenie Shinkle & Davide Deriu eds. Emerging Landscapes (Ashgate, forthcoming).
  • Rapson, J. “Mobilizing Memory: Transcultural Commemorations of Lidice,”  in Laila Amine and Caroline Beschea-Fache eds., Culture, Theory and Critique, Special Issue: Crossroads of Memory (2012).
  • Rapson, J. “Emotional Memory Formation at Former Nazi Concentration Camp Sites,” in David Picard & Mike Robinson eds. Emotion in Motion: Tourism, Affect and Transformation (Ashgate, 2012).

Jessica is convenor of the Arts Based Research Project option for the MA’s ACM and CCI. She also teaches two optional modules, ‘Cultural Memory' (with Dr Red Chidgey) and ‘Culture: Conflict, Diplomacy and International Relations’ (with Dr Melissa Nisbett), and provides MA and PhD supervision. Jessica has an ongoing interest in creative pedagogies in higher education, is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and was awarded a King’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2016 for Student Support. She is also the Graduate Teaching Assistant Lead for CMCI. 

Expertise and public engagement

Jessica has been an invited speaker at a number of events, from postgraduate training sessions (including AHRC sponsored programmes on theories of cultural memory and the chemical, biological and technological legacies of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring) to public events on the Holocaust memory and education. She is regularly involved in peer review for academic publishers and a range of journals including Memory Studies, Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History; Gender, Space and Culture; Culture, Theory and Critique; Museum and Society; Palgrave (Pivot). 


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