CALL FOR PAPERS Transcultural Memory

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    Alexandra Cuncev

    Call for Papers

    Transcultural Memory

    A conference jointly organized by the Department of English and
    Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London, and The Centre
    for the Study of Cultural Memory, Institute of Germanic & Romance
    Studies, University of London

    This conference marks the inauguration of The Centre for the Study of
    Cultural Memory.

    Date: 5-6th February, 2010.

    Deadline for proposals: 21 July 2009

    Conference organizers: Lucy Bond, Rick Crownshaw and Jessica Rapson
    (Goldsmiths); Katia Pizzi and Ricarda Vidal (Institute of Germanic and
    Romance Studies).

    Venue: Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London

    Keynote speakers:

    Astrid Erll (University of Wuppertal)

    Andrew Hoskins (University of Warwick)

    Dirk Moses (University of Sydney)

    Michael Rothberg (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


    Susannah Radstone (University of East London)

    Skeptical reactions to the rise of memory studies have focused on the
    viability of concepts such as “collective” memory. Can societies really
    remember collectively? More to the point, can individuals really
    remember what they have not directly witnessed or experienced? Is to
    speak of collective memory simply to speak of ideology or political
    fantasy? The concept of cultural memory has overcome this binary
    opposition between the individual and the collective, attending to their
    reciprocal relationship and the cultural grounds on which their
    mediation takes place (Assman). How, though, does memory work when
    events are remembered across and between cultures? In an age of
    globalization, is it still possible to speak of local and national
    memory, or do the local and national always exist in implicit and
    explicit dialogue with the transnational? Holocaust- and memory studies
    have begun to address these questions in tracing the globalization of
    Holocaust memory as a trope by which other modern atrocities are shaped
    and remembered, and, of course, the Holocaust has been incorporated into
    national memories in order to forget indigenous genocides and shore up
    ideals of nation (Huyssen and Patraka). Conversely, theories of
    vicarious witnessing have posited an ethical dimension to the
    remembrance of events across cultural boundaries. The ideas of
    “prosthetic” and “post” memory conceive of the remembrance of events not
    witnessed by those born afterwards or elsewhere, and of mass- mediated
    memory as something that does not wholly belong to (and define) the
    familial, ethnic or national group (Hirsch and Landsberg). (The idea of
    witnessing across cultural borders has not been without controversy in
    the academy.) Recent innovations in comparative historiography (Moses,
    Stone, Moshman), laying vital groundwork for developments in memory
    studies, have sought to remove the “conceptual blockages” in comparing
    modern atrocities, moving beyond notions of the Holocaust’s uniqueness
    that might inscribe a hierarchy of suffering across modernity, eliciting
    the structural continuities and discontinuities between atrocious events
    – between genocide and colonialism. Just as Moses has configured
    modernity in terms of a racial century, so in sociology and literary
    studies race has constituted an overarching narrative that brings
    together diverse modern spheres of both culturally creative and violent
    activity and identification (Cheyette and Gilroy). In postcolonial
    studies, concepts such as trauma have enabled a spatial rather than
    linear approach to the experiences of colony and postcolony (Durrant).
    In philosophy, conceptions of ‘bare life’ have allowed an international
    consideration of state sovereignties and their biopolitical regimes
    (Agamben). In architectural and urban studies, city development and its
    architecture is found to articulate a globalised vernacular, which has
    implications for spaces and places of memory and memorialisation. All of
    these disciplines find that it is increasingly difficult and problematic
    to isolate representations of past, which in turn calls attention to the
    need for the comparative study of memory as it takes an increasingly
    transcultural form – as Rothberg’s recent ground-breaking work on the
    multi-directionality of memory has shown. The conference organizers
    invite abstracts on the subject of transcultural memory from across the
    disciplines – English and Comparative Literary Studies, History,
    Cultural Studies, Architectural Studies, Cultural Geography, Film
    Studies, Media Studies, Politics, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, the
    Visual Arts, and so on – but recognize that the study of memory will
    often involve an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach.

    Conference papers might address but are not limited to how concepts of
    transcultural memory might relate to:

    * new directions/new paradigms in trauma studies;

    * testimony studies;

    * new media;

    * new technologies of historical documentation and

    * memory as performed and embodied; memory and the senses;

    * conceptions of race; citizenship; ‘bare life’;

    * postwar, post-event, post-epochal ‘structures of feeling’
    (e.g., post-1918, -1945, -1968, -1989 and -9/11);

    * the recent interest in the perspective of perpetrators;

    * memory and gender;

    * memory and religion;

    * colonial, postcolonial, and transatlantic studies;

    * the study of museums, monuments, and memorials, as well as the
    practical implications for heritage industries, memorialization and
    urban planning

    * issues of law, justice and reparations; legal definitions of

    * slavery;

    * the relationship between genocides and other modern

    * memory and terrorism;

    * the social implications of natural catastrophes and disasters.

    Abstracts (no more than 400 words) by July 21st, to

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