Human Rights and Memory

Third Annual Conference of the Dialogues on Historical Justice and Memory Network Conference theme: Human Rights and Memory

4- 6 december 2014

The conference will be held at Lund University, human rights and memorySweden, December 4-6, 2014.
Deadline for submission of paper or panel proposals: April 1, 2014. There will be no conference fee.

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Download program.

The organizers invite proposals for the third annual conference of the Dialogues on Historical Justice and Memory Network. The Network is a joint initiative of the Historical Justice and Memory Research Network (HJMRN) at the Swinburne Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, and Columbia University’s Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability (AHDA), at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR).

The 2014 conference will be organized by the Swedish partners, the Center for European Studies and the Human Rights Studies division at the Department of History, Lund University, under the theme Human Rights and Memory.

Human rights have become a globally accessible moral and legal language for expressing universal claims and measuring development; it forms the goal of activism and the ground of resistance. It is also an indispensible part of international political rhetoric and is sometimes used as virtually synonymous with concerns of justice. But how does the human rights perspective relate to collective experiences and memories of injustice, violence, or exclusion? In the field of memory studies many scholars tend to see transculturality and cosmopolitanism in normative terms and memories of past atrocities as promoting a discourse on human rights around the world, but we cannot take that on faith. For example, the common assumption that the memory of the Holocaust served as the impetus for the international human rights doctrine has lately been forcefully challenged. What is the relation between collective memory and experience and human rights? Cultural and transcultural memories can lead to the transcendence of boundaries and an inclusive solidarity, or to contestation and competitive claims. When and why do they aggravate conflicts and when and why do they open up for inclusive approaches or tend towards a universalization of experiences? This conference aims to discuss and analyze enabling and disabling power of collective memories and lived experiences in relation to human rights.

Keynote speakers
Amir Eshel , Stanford University, USA
Gunlög Fur, Linné University, Sweden
Tyrell Haberkorn , Australian National University
Erica Lehrer , Concordia University, Canada
Samuel Moyn, Columbia University , USA
Klaus Neumann, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

The organizers welcome proposals for:

  • Panels consisting of 3-4 panelists and one chair (maximum time for individual papers: 20 min)
  • Single papers
  • Roundtables of 4 to 5 participants (5 minute opening statements from each participant followed by a discussion with the audience)
  • Workshops on inclusive and dialogue based teaching techniques or practices in memory studies and human rights

Prearranged panels are given priority in the planning of the program and receive earlier notification of acceptance. Individual papers will, upon acceptance, be arranged into suitable panels by the organizers. Proposals should include a suggestion of which thematic section the proposal might fit under, but the organizers reserve the right to assign panels and papers to a different thematic section than the one suggested if that is deemed more appropriate.

The organizers will give priority to panels and papers within following thematic sections:

1. Literature, film and art and the communication of Memory and Human Rights
2. The role of remembrance in human rights education
3. Cosmopolitanism and transnational memory
4. Truth and reconciliation processes and memory
5. Trans-border cultural practices and grass-root initiatives
6. Memory and resistance
7. Rethinking human rights in light of collective memory and lived experience
8. The role of memory in conflict, conflict resolution and the extension of transitional justice beyond retributive justice

Each proposal should include:

  • for single papers a maximum 250-word abstract
  • for panels, roundtables and workshops a one page presentation of the theme, with names of participants and chair and a brief presentation of each participant’s contribution
  • suggested thematic session (the organizers reserve the right to assign proposals to a different thematic session than the one suggested, if deemed more suitable)
  • a brief curriculum vitae for each participant
  • contact details

Note that the whole proposal package must be sent as a single e-mail attachment to   no later than 1 April, 2014.

The default conference language is English. If this is a concern or if there are special reasons for a session to be held in a different language, please indicate as much in the proposal and the organizers will take the matter into consideration.

Information and updates regarding key dates, programme, registration, accommodation, keynote speakers, and practical issues are found at