The Centre of Public History, Heritage and Memory at Nottingham Trent University is pleased to announce a two-day conference on ‘Language and Memory’ in Nottingham on 5th and 6th June, 2023 (organised by Sophie van den Elzen, Thomas Van de Putte and Natalie Braber). The event aims to bring together memory scholars and linguists to discuss the cross-fertilization between the study of cultural and collective memory with linguistics and other language-oriented disciplines.
In the mainstream of cultural and collective memory studies, linguists seem absent. No linguists have been elected to the executive committee of the Memory Studies Association, and the flagship journal Memory Studies caters for other disciplines in the humanities (literature, cultural studies, history) and for some qualitative social sciences (sociology, media studies). This conference aims to make a start at repairing this absence.
The role of language should not be taken for granted when we study how people attribute meaning to the past. Both memory (cultural and collective) and language are mutually constitutive. On one hand, our discursive choices heavily inform the contents of the memories we narrate. But on the other hand, the cultural experiences and meanings that are inherent to memories also inform the usage and evolution of language.
We believe that the study of language and its usage is of key importance to memory studies, in addition, and in connection to the field’s growing interest in cognition (Erll 2022, Hoskins 2021, Erll and Hirst 2022), embodiment (Giese and Keightley 2022), and the non-human (Craps et al. 2018, Sendyka 2021).