Memories in transit: Transnational memory and identity across modern regimes of displacement and dispersion

Date:  8-9 June 2020

Venue: Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

This interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars from various disciplines researching transnational dimensions of memory, subjectivity and identity formation, broadly defined. Exploring the social-political processes and identities that resist or transcend neat categorisations of the ‘local’, ‘national’ or ‘global’, this conference explores different modes of transnational memory and commemoration that shape identities such as race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, and sexuality. The conference seeks to refine conceptual and methodological issues surrounding transnational memories, forms of remembering, and identities through a discussion of contemporary and historical case studies from across the globe as well as theoretically focused contributions to the field. The conference will be relevant to sociologists, historians, literary critics, political scientists, and human geographers interested in the relationships between memory and mobility.

The conference welcomes papers that address one or more of the following research topics:

  • The expression of diasporic and exilic memory, subjectivity and identity, including remembrance of migratory processes, racism and discrimination, and responses to state policies such as detention, deportation, segregation, assimilation, and multiculturalism.
  • Transnational remembrance practices including international collaboration initiatives, war memorials, graveyards, dark tourism, migration museums, digital archives, and material culture including movable and immovable cultural heritage.
  • The role of exiles and diasporas in social movements and transitional justice; the individual or collective pursuit of justice, dignity, reparations, and reconciliation.
  • Writing absence and loss, narratives and storytelling, oral histories, intergenerational modes of inscription, affective responses to past events in the present, community-based repositories of memories, reading and visual technologies.
  • Transnational commemoration of identities beyond the ‘national’, including remembrance practices based on racial, religious, gender, and sexual identities.

Please submit your abstract of 300 words (max) by 28 FEBRUARY 2020 via the online form:


Professor Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (University College London). Prof Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is Professor in Migration and Refugee Studies, and Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit and Coordinator of UCL’s Refuge in a Moving World Research Network at UCL.

Professor Marianne Hirsch (Columbia Univeristy). Prof Hirsch is William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor in the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a former President of the Modern Language Association of America. She was born in Romania and educated at Brown University, where she received her BA/MA and Ph.D. degrees.

This event is proudly supported by The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement, at the University of Cambridge, and the British Academy.


Zeina Azmeh (Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge)

Jessica Fernández de Lara Harada (POLIS, University of Cambridge)

Rin Ushiyama (Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge)

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