Confirmed keynote speakers:
Ananya Jahanara Kabir, King’s College London
Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand/NYU
George Abungu, Archaeologist and International Heritage Consultant Anwar Janoo, University of Mauritius
Note from the conference organizers: ‘We will continue to closely review the global situation caused by the onset of Covid-19, and invite you to check our website (https://archipelagicmemory.wordpress.com/) and follow the conference Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/events/590162365141517/) for any news, as well as get in touch with us via email if you have any query: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The concept of the “archipelago” has been discussed and deployed by historians, social scientists, literary and cultural studies scholars since the 1950s to dismantle linear narratives of historical, national and cultural development; to resist the taxonomy of centre-periphery; to emphasise shared human experiences premised on relation, creolisation and cultural diversity; and to inspire research and creative projects tracing discontinuous yet interlinked geographies over a planetary scale.
Taking the Indian Ocean as a principal site for investigating new meanings and experiences of the archipelagic, the conference will marshal and build upon the different strands of archipelagic thinking already engendered by the Caribbean world to explore connected histories across oceans and seas, and to instigate a theoretical dialogue on memory-production encompassing the Indian, Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans and their articulated spatiality. What has been enabled and what has been precluded by thinking primarily through the model of the Caribbean archipelago and its anti- mimetic patterns of repetition and difference? What has not yet been thought of archipelagically? What if ethnic, national and geological borders are in conflict with each other, resulting in fractured archipelagic identities? How does the sea function as an imagined space that reduces or entrenches geographical and affective distance? How, indeed, does the sea enable archipelagic relations?
Simultaneously, the conference explores what it means to remember the past in the present and how to consider future trajectories in individual, collective, as well as national identities, addressing the possibilities offered by an archipelagic approach to memory, one that is mobile and dynamic as much as entangled, even surpassing island and archipelagic spaces. What, in effect, is an archipelagic memory project, and how might it contribute to memory studies? If the past is memorialised as archipelagic, as a series of fragmentary geographies, cultures and histories converging in a fluid space that might also act as a symbol for other, larger connections, how can archipelagic memory enhance continental practices of articulating the past, de-centre or contribute to traditional approaches to memory? How can archipelagic mnemonic projects be multidirectional, reparative and committed to justice, instead of competitive, suppressive or destructive?
We welcome papers and poster presentations from scholars at any point of their academic career addressing the theme of archipelagic memory. Suggested topics for papers include, but are not limited to: