ANNOUNCING: DIGITAL MSA (dMSA)

We are delighted to announce a new initiative: Digital MSA (dMSA).

Approximately once a month, the MSA will host a webinar someplace in the world.  The goal of dMSA is to foster scholarly exchange of ideas on the most important issues in memory studies today.

There will be three avenues for dMSA events.  First, the organizers of dMSA will present a series of events produced by the organizers especially for the MSA.  Second, the organizers of dMSA welcome suggestions and proposals for events by and from members of the MSA, and will offer help producing these events.  And third, organizers of important events around the world can propose to have their events branded as dMSA events.

All dMSA events will be available as livestreams to MSA members, making possible participation from the audience in the discussion period.

Additionally, all dMSA events will be archived for viewing by MSA members at their convenience.

Contact us via info@memorystudiesassociation.org and send us short proposals of online events (see guidelines below). 

Please mark your calendars for the following events in this exciting series. 

  • November 18, 6pm CET: Inaugural Event Roundtable “Monuments and Memory Politics”, organized and hosted by Hanna Teichler
    Please see below.
  • December 8, 5pm CET: “Memory Dynamics in Times of Crisis: A Virtual Conversation with Sarah Gensburger”, co-hosted by Stef Craps and Catherine Gilbert, and co-organised by Ghent University’s Cultural Memory Studies Initiative and the Newcastle University Centre for Heritage
    Please register here.
  • January 2021: Francisco Ferrandiz and Jocelyn Martin on Necropolitics, more information soon!

Upcoming Event:

Memory Dynamics in Times of Crisis: A Virtual Conversation with Sarah Gensburger
Dec 8, 5pm CET

Co-organized by Ghent University’s Cultural Memory Studies Initiative and the Newcastle University Centre for Heritage as part of dMSA, the Memory Studies Association’s online event series.

Register via: https://ugent-be.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMpce-sqDwrG9zgwahJOspvW9mdjDVULimH.
(limited amount of slots available!)

Join the live-stream here: https://youtu.be/UeGKsHk2KWs

Working at the intersection of political science, ethnographic sociology, and contemporary historiography, Dr Sarah Gensburger specializes in the social dynamic of memory. Since 2015, she has been working on memorialization in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, as well as on the social appropriations of the past by visitors at memorials and commemorative sites and exhibitions. In this conversation, facilitated by Prof. Stef Craps and Dr Catherine Gilbert, Dr Gensburger will discuss her 2019 French Voices Award-winning book Memory on my Doorstep: Chronicles of the Bataclan Neighborhood (Paris 2015-2016), which traces the evolving memorialization processes following the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and their impact on the local landscape. She will also discuss her new project Vitrines en confinement – Vetrine in quarentena (Windows in Lockdown), which documents public responses to the current coronavirus pandemic from different sites across Europe through the creation of a photographic archive of public space. The conversation will highlight issues around the immediacy of contemporary memorialization practices, the ways in which people engage with their local space during times of crisis, and how we are all actively involved in preserving memory for the future.

Note that you need to sign up for a (free) Zoom account, if you don’t have one already, to be able to enter the meeting. Please join a few minutes early so that we can start promptly at 5 p.m.

Sarah Gensburger, CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research)

Sarah Gensburger is a political scientist at the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) in Paris. Among her latest publications are Memory on My Doorstep: Chronicles of the Bataclan Neighborhood, Paris 2015-2016 (2019) and Beyond Memory: Can We Really Learn from the Past (2020), originally published in French as À quoi servent les politiques de mémoire? (2017), which she co-authored with Sandrine Lefranc.

Stef Craps, Ghent University

Stef Craps is a professor of English literature at Ghent University, where he directs the Cultural Memory Studies Initiative, a research group that brings together scholars from across the humanities who work on issues of memory and trauma as mediated through culture. His recent publications include the New Critical Idiom volume Trauma (2020), co-authored with Lucy Bond, and a guest-edited special issue of American Imago on Ecological Grief (2020).

Catherine Gilbert, Newcastle University

Catherine Gilbert is an academic track (NUAcT) fellow at Newcastle University, UK. Her current research project focuses on genocide commemoration in the Rwandan diaspora. She is the author of From Surviving to Living: Voice, Trauma and Witness in Rwandan Women’s Writing (2018), which received the Memory Studies Association Outstanding First Book Award in 2019. She recently co-edited, with Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro, the volume On Commemoration: Global Reflections upon Remembering War (2020).

Past Events:

Roundtable Monuments and Memory Politics
Nov 18, 6pm CET
organized and hosted by Hanna Teichler

Register via: https://uni-frankfurt.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEodu6przopGtYaUogxE44sI5Ra8kigiEhK
(limited amount of slots available!)

Join the live-stream here: youtu.be/xcT_SvSP9do

Ann Rigney, University of Utrecht

Objects of Contention: Why Monuments Matter

Of all the cultural carriers of memory, monuments seem to be particularly powerful vectors of debate. This brief presentation will try to explain why. It will use both historical and contemporary examples to show how monuments do matter, precisely at the point when they are being moved around, broken up, and vandalized.

Vjeran Pavlaković, University of Rijeka

Vukovar’s Contested Memoryscape and the Possibilities of Pluralistic Remembrance

In Croatia’s cultural memory of the 1990s war in Yugoslavia, the town of Vukovar represents the central figure of victimization, which has been reinforced through the construction of an elaborate memoryscape and annual commemorations. As part of the dominant narrative of Croatian victimhood and Serbian aggression, the official monuments, museums, and other memorial sites are all dedicated to Croat soldiers and civilians killed in 1991. Even though Vukovar is no longer as multi-ethnic as it once used to be, the last decade has seen numerous struggles over symbols in public space, from the use of Cyrillic script to recognizing the civilian victims of the “Other,” Serb side. This summer the Croatian government made important steps in including Serb civilian victims in commemorations dedicated to the end of the war, but Vukovar remains a sensitive, exclusive site of memory. This presentation raises the issue of pluralistic remembrance in a town designated in its entirety as “site of special reverence”, with a special focus on its monumental heritage.

Wandile Kasibe, Iziko Museums of South Africa

Critical Perspective on Colonial Memorials, Statues and Tainted Collections in Museums as Signifiers of Crimes Committed Against Humanity

This brief contribution will take a critical perspective on colonial memorials, statues and tainted collections in museums as signifiers of crimes against humanity, thus requiring a highest degree of decolonial investigation.  As a point of departure, I will use the Rhodes Must Fall Movement (RMF) which began at the University of Cape Town in 2015, when Chumani Maxwele threw human excrement at the Statue of Cecil John Rhodes as an institutional critique against colonial continuities and perpetuation of perceived white supremacy.

Jalane Schmidt, University of Virginia

"Faithful Negroes" and Rebel Slaves in State Memorialization: Southern U.S. and Revolutionary Cuban Case Studies

Former slave societies wrestle with how to memorialize slavery in their public landscapes. In the Southern United States, the descendants of white slaveholders erected Confederate monuments that promoted their “Lost Cause” version of history, which erased the brutality of slavery and its role in instigating the Civil War. In contemporary Cuba, government cultural programming often presents the history of enslaved communities as a precursor to the current revolutionary era. This presentation compares two twentieth-century cases of the memorialization of slave rebellions. Early 20th century white civic leaders in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, installed a monument to a “faithful negro” who (they alleged) had been killed for his refusal to participate in an attempted 1859 slave revolt raid. The Cuban Ministry of Culture, with funding from UNESCO, in 1997 erected a monument to “El Cimarron” (runaway slave) in El Cobre, and sponsors events there on the anniversary of a local slave uprising. These monuments reveal as much about those who erected and maintain them as about the enslaved subjects they ostensibly remember.

Suggestions? Send us an email to dMSA@memorystudiesassociation.org with your ideas. Please include:

  • Short abstract (no more than 150 words).
  • Potential speakers.
  • Proposed format (e.g. roundtable, 'Author Meets Critics', debate).
  • Proposed date.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!