Memory operations such as encoding and retrieval require the coordinated interplay of cortical regions with distinct functional contributions. The mechanistic nature of these interactions, however, remains unspecified. During the performance of a face memory task during fMRI scanning, we measured the magnitude (a measure of the strength of coupling between areas) and phase (a measure of the relative timing across areas) of coherence between regions of interest and the rest of the brain. The fusiform face area (FFA) showed robust coherence with a distributed network of subregions in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), posterior parietal cortex (PPC), precuneus, and hippocampus across both memory operations. While these findings reveal significant overlap in the cortical networks underlying mnemonic encoding and retrieval, coherence phase analyses revealed context-dependent differences in cortical dynamics. During both encoding and retrieval, PFC and PPC exhibited earlier activity than in the FFA and hippocampus. Also, during retrieval, PFC activity preceded PPC activity. These findings are consistent with prior physiology studies suggesting an early contribution of PFC and PPC in mnemonic control. Together, these findings contribute to the growing literature exploring the spatio-temporal dynamics of basic memory operations.