Memory Practices and the Making of Europe

LUND – 8-10 June 2015,chairs-2-e1417173941881

organized by the Centre for European Studies at Lund University and NITMES  – Network in Transnational Memory Studies, led by Utrecht University

Lund Conference Program (pdf)

This conference aims at bringing together PhD students, young researchers and senior specialists in memory studies. After the NITMES conferences on ‘Memory without Borders’ (Utrecht June 2013), ‘Diasporic Memory’ (Urbana Champaign November 2013), ‘Memory Transfers and Transformations’ (Konstanz June 2014) and “Scales of Memory” (Canberra December 2014) the series will be continued with another conference in the framework of NITMES. It will be organized by Lund University on June 8-10, starting on Monday at 13.00 p.m and ending on Wednesday early afternoon. The first, public, part of the conference will take place in Lund and the second part will take the form of a closed workshop at the sea side hotel in Hovs Hallar. The topic of the conference will be: Memory Practices and the Making of Europe’.

It is widely recognized that cultural memory is used by and within social groups, playing an important role for group identity. It also has been observed that European political and intellectual elites attempt to forge some form of common European memory to support and legitimize European integration. These attempts have been counteracted by numerous memory disputes and conflicts with origins in Europe’s fragmentation into large number of national, regional and local communities. This points to the need for alternative ways of conceptualizing memory and identity.

In line with the goals of NITMES the objective of the conference in Lund is to propose a new approach and look at the link between cultural memory and identity from the perspective of the multidirectionality of memory and its generative capacity, thus going beyond the mono-ethnic conceptualisations of national memory and orientalising, West-centric discourses about a common, immutable European legacy. Moreover, since the discussion of cultural memories in Europe have for the last decades been dominated by “the traumatic paradigm”, we encourage the participants of the conference to go beyond it and think in terms of the enabling potential of certain memory narratives, even those that deal with tragic events.

We want to pose questions such as: how can memory be used for imagining alternative futures rather than just a marker of what it was? What makes transnational memory mediations reconciliatory or inflammatory?  What is the role of visual arts, literature and new media in crossing and re-negotiation cultural and national borders?

At an empirical level, the conference aims to extend the knowledge about the circulation of particular narratives and memorial practices across national and cultural borders in the twentieth and twenty-first century, and yield insight into the short and long term memories that are playing into recent social movements and in Europe.