With the entire world, we watch with grave concern the naked military aggression of the Russian state against Ukraine. Despite everything we know from our study of history and memory, we had dared to hope that wars such as this—a war of choice, without convincing justification, in violation of international law and norms—were a thing of the past. We watch with particular concern for those whose lives that will be destroyed by the violence of advanced weaponry, dispossession, and fear. As a group of colleagues, we also express solidarity with our friends, partners, and association members—from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus—whose well-being, intellectual and political freedom, livelihoods, and lives are in danger.
Moreover, as scholars of memory, we are also outraged by the gross manipulations of history and memory that Russian President Vladimir Putin has deployed in support of his government’s actions. Memory studies seeks to understand the many uses of memory, the claims made on its behalf, and its consequences, but we do so in the name of truth and humanity. Clearly, we have more work to do.
Scholars in peril—whether members of the MSA or not, whether junior or senior—are encouraged to contact the association, which stands ready to help in any way it can. For instance, we are working with partners in various European and US institutions to offer places of academic refuge.
Please also see the MSA’s Working Group on Post-Socialist and Comparative Memory Studies’ statement: https://www.posocomes.org/post/statement-on-the-invasion-of-ukraine. Here you can also find resources and advice on how you can help.