Becoming an Agent of Memory: Using Visual Literacy to Move beyond Tourism in Study Abroad


  • Carmen Trammell Skaggs Kennesaw State University
  • Mariko Izumi Columbus State University


visual literacy, elaboration, digital storytelling, counter-monument


In this article, we use an interdisciplinary, short-term study abroad program in Berlin, Germany, “Memorializing the Holocaust,” as a case study to demonstrate the importance of incorporating visual literacy competencies into study abroad course curriculum.  By focusing on visual literacy, the program helps students navigate beyond their initial touristic relationship to the iconic images and sites in Berlin, allowing them to re-envision and reflect upon their significance. Through digital storytelling and counter-monument projects, students engage in reflection about and elaboration upon their knowledge of Holocaust remembrance and their experience abroad, allowing them to move from passive observers to empowered participants.  As agents of memory, the students learn to map their own intellectual journeys through unfamiliar intellectual and geographic terrain, creating a new material reference for memory.  

Author Biographies

Carmen Trammell Skaggs, Kennesaw State University

Carmen Trammell Skaggs is Associate Dean for Academic Support and Professor of English at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.  Her interdisciplinary research interests also include American literature and opera.  

Mariko Izumi, Columbus State University

Mariko Izumi is Associate Professor of Communication and Director of Quality Enhancement Plan at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia.  Her research explores the materiality of public memories and representations of human suffering.


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