Memory Studies Association Annual Conference “Convergences”
We welcome proposals for papers, panels, and other events to be presented at the Memory Studies Association’s 2021 annual meeting. As always, the MSA will be a forum for debating all aspects of memory studies.
However, given both the East-Central European context – a region fraught with overlapping memories – and the more general need to address the growing confluences of the global and the regional, the digital and the analogue, the human and non-human, we encourage papers that offer theoretical or methodological reflections addressing different layers of mnemonic entanglement. On the leading theme of “convergences,” areas of interest – while in no way exhaustive – could include:
- Practical / Ethical COVID-19 Convergences: How have logistical – and related ethical – challenges arising from the current pandemic forced us to rethink our approaches to memory studies in terms of subject matter, collaborations, presentation formats, and modes of participation in academic life? Have our conceptual assumptions – and indeed our memories – been unsettled, or (productively) dislodged, due to the upheavals in our quotidian practices? How may we newly view and value the collegial conversion of bodies and pixels in face-to-face and virtual meetings?
- Historical Convergences: East-Central Europe is an example of dense mnemonic palimpsest: post-imperial, post-revolutionary, post-war, post-genocidal, post-secular and perennially struggling with various forms of authoritarianism. Devastated by Nazism and Stalinism, ECE is a space where historical roles of oppressor, victim, resistor, bystander, and collaborator – as well as diverse and changing ethnic, religious, national, and state identities – overlap. How do the historical memories of the region resonate with current discussions in the other parts of the world, such as Atlantic slave trade, Asia’s experience of WWII, or settler-colonial memory?
- Political Discursive Convergences: Invisible, not-yet-remembered histories, emerging memories, and mnemonic frameworks and fields are being explored and reinterpreted as their diverse understandings intersect and interact. One prominent example is “the colonial” and its attendant vocabularies of serfdom, slavery, forced labor, forced assimilation, stolen generations, resistance, restitution, reparation, and repatriation, and how they work in various mnemonic contexts. How may memory politics be changing and converging globally in current circumstances?
- Institutional Convergences: To what extent may national and international institutions of public memory contribute to the transnational dialogue of memories? How do they learn from, or conflict with, each other as their knowledge, language, and images travel across regions?
- Biological / Ecological Convergences: How are our perspectives on memory and its uses responding to rising global ecological crises like climate change and species extinction, as well as local and transregional activist movements? Do these issues have new relevance due to ongoing challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Disciplinary Convergences: How does the study of memory function under different disciplinary banners? What may we gain or lose by breaching the silos created by associations, meetings, and journals?
We also invite proposals for a special “Genealogies of Memory” stream (several panels) sponsored by the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS). The stream aims to evaluate the process of Europeanization of memory on three key themes: European memory today, European studies as memory studies, and regional European memories. Read more on the ENRS site here.
Please direct all questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marek Cichocki (Natolin European Centre, Warsaw),
Ewa Domańska (Adam Mickiewicz University at Poznan, Stanford University),
Ivan Krastev (Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna),
Olivette Otele (University of Bristol),
Emilie Pine (University College Dublin),
Michael Rothberg (University of California Los Angeles)
Vladimir Nabokov and the Fictions of Memory
Almost 40 years after Nabokov's death his texts continue to function as literary Fabergé eggs in which scholars keep finding hidden surprises and previously overlooked details. As Nabokov wrote in Conclusive Evidence, "the unravelling of a riddle is the purest and most basic act of the human mind." However, readers and critics are divided on the issue of whether Nabokov is a postmodern riddle-maker enjoying the game itself without enabling the player to reach the ultimate solution, or whether the riddles are solvable by a reader astute enough to follow all the sophisticated patterns and allusions which point to Nabokov's metaphysical convictions.
Traumatic Modernities: From Comparative Literature to Medical Humanities / International Conference and Seminars
Cultures of Dissent in Eastern Europe (1945-1989): Research Approaches in the Digital Humanities
This 7-day seminar in digital humanities research methods is designed to expose a new generation of scholars in Cold War history and culture to methods of analysis and discovery involving computational techniques. Designed and run by NEP4DISSENT (New Exploratory Phase in Research on East European Cultures of Dissent), COST Action 16213, the inspiration for the course is built around the transfer of knowledge from technologists and data scientists to humanists.
East European Dissent between Agenda & Legacy
This conference shall analyze the making of the legacy of East European dissent on the local, national and European levels. Interested primarily in the cultural and political aspects of this process, this conference aims to explore the following questions in particular: how have cultural products related to dissent and repression been employed to depict social relations and legitimize political regimes before and after 1989? How have political-ideological, ethnic or gender-related factors impacted what has been included in and excluded from the legacy of dissent? How have the biographies, agendas and roles of ‘post-dissidents’ shaped and been shaped by processes of remembrance and canonization in the decades since 1989? Conversely, how has ‘1989’ and the process of transition been viewed from the perspective of individuals and groups who did not associate any major expectations or fears with them? Last but not least, what is the relevance of communist-era dissent for Europe today?