July 11 – Session 1 – 10:00-12:00 CET

Justice, Memory and Activism

Looking at the relationship between memorialisation and contentious politics, this panel focuses on the discourses and practices of justice, and the challenges these face.

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Material Aspects of Witnessing

In only three years’ time, 80 years will have passed since Auschwitz was liberated. In this day and age, we attempt to think of how we can still witness one of greatest atrocities against humankind, the Holocaust. As time passes, almost all those who survived and told us their stories both on their behalf and on behalf of those who had perished in concentration and death camps are disappearing. In other words, for about two decades, as many memory and trauma scholars have emphasized, we have gradually been stepping into an epoch when no witnesses can give us direct testimonies and when the Holocaust started to be mainly represented by the second and third generations’ postmemory. Yet Marianne Hirsch’s concept of postmemory needs to be supplemented by another type of transmission and presence of memory: material witnessing. The papers in this panel endeavor to voice the same main concern: that witnessing of this dark event of 20th century history can also take place in the realm of and through objects that remain proofs of the horrendous events during WW2 and that perform the work of recollection for generations who have learned about these events only from history books.

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Book Launch

The MSA WG Family, Memory and Intergenerational Exchange invites you to a virtual launch of the book Family Memory: Practices, Transmission and Uses in a Global Perspective, Routledge 2021, edited by R. Svarickova Slabakova (Palacký University Olomouc).

Read more about the book and the session in this flyer.

Register here *
* All participants will receive a discount code to purchase the book

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July 11 – Session 2 – 12:00-14:00 CET

Gender, Memory and Activism

This panel explores how gender shapes and is shaped by cultural, artistic and socio-political practices that lie at the intersection of memory and activism.

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Global South and North Entanglements

This panel critically examines memory dynamics between the Global South and the Global North. It analyses the potential of angry feelings in the engagement with minoritized art and the potential of travelling films to relate to communities and reveal multiple layers of implication. Lastly, it discusses the ways in which larger historical developments of colonisation, decolonisation and global protest movements reconfigure the relations of memory and history. The panel presents approaches from art history, film studies and literary studies with presentations that focus on the relations, conflicts and negotiations between local, national and global agents to develop theories that allow a deeper understanding of solidarities and contestations negotiating global memories.

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Workshop on Memory Studies in Southeast Asia: overview and emerging questions (1)

The workshop, in which memory studies scholars are warmly invited, presents some of the contributions to the upcoming handbook on Memory Studies in Southeast Asia (Brill, 2023). The handbook answers the call by scholars of memory studies to bring the broad discussion of this evolving field towards conceptual foundations. It will present a selection of works using concepts and methods drawn from memory studies as heuristic tools and not only memory as a mere synonym for “something related to the past” as is sometimes the case in publications on Southeast Asia. This handbook also intends to show how memory and Southeast Asian/Southeast Asian diaspora studies – two large multidisciplinary fields – can go beyond their respective limits and common paradigms when they engage in a thorough dialogue.

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July 11 – Session 3 – 15:00-17:00 CET

Witnessing and Memorializing Loss, Trauma and Hope

This panel presents perspectives on solidarity that explore what it means to witness in a space of mutual recognition with justice in mind. Following questions will be explored: How do we persist, and survive tragedy and death in the 21st century, times characterized by political volatility, mass atrocity, and most recently, the COVID 19 pandemic? How can we bear (active) witness of both life and death? What is the dynamic of human interaction in the act of witnessing?

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Performative Returns

In this roundtable, the panelists will share their reflections on their current research as a return, a recollection or a reenactment. They revisit memories of childhood performance, theatre histories, urban landscapes and local performance practices. In doing so, their autobiographical memories articulate with more public memories, conceived as mythofictions, ghosts and archival materials with ‘messianic power’ (Benjamin, 1974). Their interdisciplinary projects approach the fields of dance history, literature, theatre and dance anthropology through creative practices of multimedia documentary making, playwriting and reenactment. The performative returns they enact raise the possibility of methodological reciprocities, as well as spectres of extraction, othering and (self-) Orientalism. The roundtable discussion will focus on the many meeting points between their projects, as well as questions at the intersection of memory and history, archival pasts and presents, autobiography and ethnography, and research and/as creative practice.

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Local Resistance and Global Memories

At the end of the twentieth century, the sociologist Stuart Hall identified a new politics of cultural difference. Hall described this politics as a historically specific phenomenon with worldwide reach, stating: “What results is not the convergence of struggles but an all too familiar postmodern problem: the proliferation of social antagonisms” (Hall 2017, 97). Does this all too familiar problem continue to challenge remembrance in the twenty-first century? If the early twenty-first century indeed faces a proliferation of social antagonisms, then it is of utmost importance to analyse, theorise and criticise concepts of solidarity and contestation in relation to, what we tentatively describe as, ‘global memories.’ The Global Memories Working Group builds on the Memory Studies Association’s theme in 2022 “Solidarity” in order to focus on the tensions between solidarity and contestation. This panel examines the intricate memory dynamics between local resistance movements and global memories. It analyses knots of memory tying together the spirit of the Mau Mau in Kenia with larger decolonization efforts across Africa, it presents victim memories of ethnic minorities in the USSR remembering killings, deportations and incarceration across generations through oral narratives establishing associative identities with other minorities. Lastly, it investigates the struggles to make sense of Gezi Park occupation in Turkey by mobilizing globally circulating utopian memories. This panel presents methods from the history of ideas, European history and anthropology to focus on the relations, conflicts and negotiations between local, national and global agents to develop theories that allow a deeper understanding of solidarities and contestations negotiating global memories.

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July 11 – Session 4 – 17:00-19:00 CET

Emotion and Narrative in Museums

The work of engaging pasts (traumatic or other) in the museum raises questions around the role of affect/emotion in museum exhibits and the implications of narrative as both form and strategy. Many museums, particularly those focused on historical violence, seek to evoke emotional responses in visitors, raising a number of questions about the intersection of narrative and emotion. For example, what role does emotion play in storytelling and the work that museums are attempting to do? What kinds of narrative strategies are used to evoke emotion and affect? How might the display strategies and narratives in museums mobilize the affective power of memory towards progressive political ends—and should they? How might museums elicit emotion in ways that resist facile identification with victims on the one hand, and re-traumatization or voyeurism on the other, and what role does narrative play in this process? What happens when museums evoke unintended emotional responses? This roundtable will address these and other questions through a number of case studies, including museums in Europe, the US, and Japan.

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Memory, Space and Place (Roundtable)

The “spatial turn” has brought new dimensions of research in the humanities and the social sciences, highlighting the importance of space, place, cities and the built environment in the study of social and political processes.  As Foucault put it, our obsession with time has long obscured interests in place, but place has been coming also to the forefront.  There has been an increasing engagement of memory scholars with the spatial and material dimension in memory. This roundtable brings together perspectives from different disciplines that address the intersections of memory and space, and to bring in dialogue theories, methods and research directions, reflecting the diverse research projects of our WG members.

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July 11 – Session 5 – 20:00-22:00 CET

Representatives from MSA Working Groups will give overviews of their groups and activities and invite new members and collaborations between groups.

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July 12 – Session 1 – 10:00-12:00 CET

Dialogic Memories of the 1970-90s ‘Transitions’ Across the World: Current Practices and Possible Solidarities (part I)

Against this background of direct instrumentalisation of memories about the 1970-90s transitions, we would like to shift the analytical lens to aspects of dialogism in practices of looking back at these periods and making sense of this time as formative for one’s individual and collective selves. How do diverging perspectives on this past interact, and what are the ‘sites’ of convergence within and between different memories? This focus on existing and emerging mnemonic convergence is underpinned not just by the necessity of overcoming polarisation that manifests itself in the ‘fractured’ or ‘pillarised’ regimes of remembering transitions in Eastern Europe (Bernhard and Kubik 2014). We propose to explore the contradictions and connections within the practices of remembering transitions – vernacular and mediated, local or transnational – as a ground for potential social and political solidarities.

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Memory and Solidarity in Migratory Contexts: Work-in-Progress and Future Perspectives

This panel asks about the intersections between memory and solidarity with a special interest in individuals and groups living in migrant, diasporic or exile contexts. Memory and solidarity are thereby understood in their transnational significance for practices of identification and belonging. The contributors shed light on facets of these intersections from disciplinary backgrounds in anthropology, sociology and communication/media studies. Based on insights from ongoing projects, the panel touches upon questions on the study of biographical memory and media studies, the role of digital citizenship and transnational activism, and network activities in the production of memory and solidarity. As migration plays a fundamental role in the field of memory studies, the discussion aims to raise awareness of the different regional, temporal and historical frameworks of migration and how these require reflective approaches in the study of memory cultures. The main interests are therefore: What questions and future perspectives arise in the context of migration and memory research? Why is the aspect of solidarity an important one and how can it help to think migration and memory cultures in their diversity?

Meeting Link to come

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July 12 – Session 2 – 12:00-14:00 CET

Dialogic Memories of the 1970-90s ‘Transitions’ Across the World: Current Practices and Possible Solidarities (part II)

Against this background of direct instrumentalisation of memories about the 1970-90s transitions, we would like to shift the analytical lens to aspects of dialogism in practices of looking back at these periods and making sense of this time as formative for one’s individual and collective selves. How do diverging perspectives on this past interact, and what are the ‘sites’ of convergence within and between different memories? This focus on existing and emerging mnemonic convergence is underpinned not just by the necessity of overcoming polarisation that manifests itself in the ‘fractured’ or ‘pillarised’ regimes of remembering transitions in Eastern Europe (Bernhard and Kubik 2014). We propose to explore the contradictions and connections within the practices of remembering transitions – vernacular and mediated, local or transnational – as a ground for potential social and political solidarities.

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“Patriotic History” and the (Re)Nationalization of Memory: Global Perspectives

This panel takes a global perspective on ‘patriotic history’ and explores the (re)nationalization of memory in sample cases from different parts of the world. To do so, it brings together some of the contributors to the special issue of the Journal of Genocide Research on “Patriotic Histories and the (Re)Nationalization of Memory” to discuss these ongoing issues.
Kornelia Kończal and Dirk Moses (2021), the editors of the special issue, describe recent trends in public memory politics in relation to the (re-)emergence of such patriotic national narratives as follows: “The state-mandated or state-encouraged ‘patriotic’ histories that have recently emerged in so many places around the globe is a complex phenomenon. It can revolve around both affirmative interpretations of history and celebration of past achievements, and an explicitly denialist stance opposed to acknowledging responsibility for past atrocities, even to the extent of celebrating perpetrators. … Despite differences between the individual settings, there is little doubt that state-mandated or state-encouraged ‘patriotic’ history is more confrontational and combative than a ‘feel good history’ promoting positive sentiments for one’s country, and that it cannot be limited to the ‘illiberal memory’ accompanying the recent rise of right-wing populism as it cuts across the political spectrum and can be observed in both democratic and authoritarian surroundings. By combining nationalist and narcissist narratives and by disregarding or distorting historical evidence, ‘patriotic’ history promotes mythified, monumental, and moralistic interpretations of the past that posit partisan and authoritarian essentialisms and exceptionalisms.”
This panel will interrogate this disturbing trend by bringing together case studies from different countries.

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Workshop on Memory Studies in Southeast Asia: overview and emerging questions (2)

The workshop, in which memory studies scholars are warmly invited, presents some of the contributions to the upcoming handbook on Memory Studies in Southeast Asia (Brill, 2023). The handbook answers the call by scholars of memory studies to bring the broad discussion of this evolving field towards conceptual foundations. It will present a selection of works using concepts and methods drawn from memory studies as heuristic tools and not only memory as a mere synonym for “something related to the past” as is sometimes the case in publications on Southeast Asia. This handbook also intends to show how memory and Southeast Asian/Southeast Asian diaspora studies – two large multidisciplinary fields – can go beyond their respective limits and common paradigms when they engage in a thorough dialogue.

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July 12 – Session 3 – 15:00-17:00 CET

Conversations with Images

The Memory & Arts Working Group is offering two consecutive sessions in which artworks take centre stage. We would like to invite conversations that explore how the works address questions of memory in their medium-specific way. A short introduction to each work will be followed by brief responses that open up further perspectives and generate a wider conversation that involves the audience. By looking at six works from different cultural and geographical contexts – created by Wiame Haddad, Kang Yong Suk, Hannelore Baron, Katya Oicherman, Carrie Mae Weems and Adela Goldbard –, we hope to create a multi-directional conversation that makes the works and the memories they address speak to each other and provides a context for transnational mnemonic solidarity.

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In Dialogue with Trauma

This panel addresses individual, collective and cultural memory building in the aftermath of trauma. It thereby investigates the role of oral testimonies, cultural expressions as well as psychological learning processes.

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July 12 – Session 4 – 17:00-19:00 CET

Conversations with Images (continued)

The Memory & Arts Working Group is offering two consecutive sessions in which artworks take centre stage. We would like to invite conversations that explore how the works address questions of memory in their medium-specific way. A short introduction to each work will be followed by brief responses that open up further perspectives and generate a wider conversation that involves the audience. By looking at six works from different cultural and geographical contexts – created by Wiame Haddad, Kang Yong Suk, Hannelore Baron, Katya Oicherman, Carrie Mae Weems and Adela Goldbard – we hope to create a multi-directional conversation that makes the works and the memories they address speak to each other and provides a context for transnational mnemonic solidarity.

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Memory and Nature Open Forum

This open forum builds on the initial meeting held by current members and is open to current and new members of the Working Group. Our main agenda item is growing the WG and initiating collaborative research and teaching for those so interested. New ideas for the way forward are welcome. For more information, please contact: ruramisai.charumbira@unibe.ch.

Meeting link coming

Open to all

Memory, Space and Place

This roundtable/panel brings together perspectives from different disciplines that address the intersections of memory and space, and to bring in dialogue theories, methods and research directions, reflecting the diverse research projects of our WG members

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Open to all

July 12 – Session 5 – 20:00-22:00 CET

El exilio como objeto de estudio en América Latina: cartografía de una memoria en construcción  

Los exilios en América Latina constituyen un campo de estudio en gerundio que paulatinamente se está construyendo y nutriendo con nuevos enfoques y aristas, revelando con ello un objeto de investigación complejo y apeirógono. Desde las ciencias sociales y humanidades se han ido incorporando nuevas perspectivas a los estudios sobre exilios que enriquecen el objeto e invitan a reflexionar sobre el momento en el que se encuentra este campo. A través de algunas de esas nuevas perspectivas, este panel propone una aproximación analítica al exilio como objeto de estudio en América Latina con la finalidad de explorar hacia dónde apuntan los nuevos abordajes y qué indicadores desprenden en una eventual construcción regional de la memoria sobre exilios. Con ese objetivo, este panel contará con la participación de voces expertas en la materia que, desde distintas disciplinas, expondrán sus más recientes trabajos de investigación que nos ayudarán a poder ir dibujando una cartografía de las rutas por las que transita en la actualidad este objeto. Perspectivas generacionales, de género, comparativas, migratorias o conceptuales son algunos de los ejes que se pondrán sobre la mesa para problematizar la memoria del exilio en el contexto regional y conocer nuevas miradas de un viejo tema que día con día gana vigencia.

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Snapshots of Research in African Memory Studies

This panel discusses current memory studies research in Arica.

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