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Deadline: "Regions of Memory. A Comparative Perspective on Eastern Europe"


Call for Papers

Regions of Memory. A Comparative Perspective on Eastern Europe

International Conference
Warsaw, 26-28 November 2012

Research on historical identities of Eastern Europe in the 20th century has developed from two
main perspectives. One is the proliferation of historical studies, which brings to light the
experiences and consequences of two world wars, political and economic dictatorships,
genocide, border changes and population resettlements, as well as profound national, ethnic
and religious divisions. The other, is the currently quickly developing research on present
memories of those experiences. Many of the latter studies have been influenced by the
theoretical and normative framework of West European scholarship and political sensitivity.
During this conference, we propose to shift the perspective and to compare genealogies of
memory in Eastern Europe with other regions in the world, beyond Western Europe. The aim
is twofold: to determine to what extent established concepts in memory studies are suitable to
properly describe the various regional and local specifics of social memory processes; and
secondly, to fuel the debate on European memories by research perspectives from beyond
Europe. In this respect, we propose to focus both on the commemoration and the forgetting of
experiences of mass violence in the 20th century.

Memories of violence have been a key field of investigation in memory studies. However, the
intensity and character of mass violence in the 20th century varied, uneven both in time and
space among the regions of Europe, and other continents. Eastern Europe, as Timothy Snyder
argues in his recent book Bloodlands, was particularly affected: Experiences of mass murder,
forced labor, rapes, hunger, ethnic cleansing, expulsions or revenge were common in this part
of the continent during the turbulent times of the first half of century. Afterwards, for the
purpose of political myths and stability, memory eradication programs were introduced, under
which individual memories and group memories were hushed up for years to come. The
‘Bloodlands’ concept views Eastern Europe as a historically specific ecosystem of violence.

During this conference, we will attempt to compare the memory processes of this region with
those of Southern Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa or Latin America, and examine whether
and how mass violence contributed to regional memories and forgetting.

Vis-à-vis the lasting memory boom now emerging as a global trend, we are asking then about
regionally specific memory processes and research upon them in different parts of the globe.
We welcome papers that answer one or more of the following questions: What kind of
memory of mass violence accounts for regional specificity? What are the genealogies of
collective and individual memories and forgetting related to mass violence in various regions?
How and why do these images, narratives, and practices change and evolve? How do they
influence the contemporary identity of a given region? And finally, how do scholars describe
and interpret them? Do their concepts, categories and approaches follow the established
Western patterns of memory studies?

We invite speakers from various disciplines of humanities and social sciences, who research
memories in Eastern Europe and in other parts of the world that have been affected by mass
violence in the twentieth century. We prefer original research papers devoted to key issues of
regional histories and identities, with sound theoretical and empirical underpinning and (if
possible) transcending national boundaries or applying a comparative perspective.

Organizational information:

Languages of the conference: English, Polish (with simultaneous translation)

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short biographical statement by
20 June 2012. Abstracts will be selected by the academic committee. We will notify you of
acceptance of your proposals by 20 July 2012. You will be asked to submit your final
conference paper by November 1st, so we may have it translated and distributed to chairs and

Participation in the conference is free of charge. The organizers will provide accommodation
and catering for the conference speakers. However, only a limited number of travel refunds
for younger scholars and doctoral students will be available.

We plan publication of selected papers in a peer-reviewed journal or in a volume by an
international publisher.

Please send your abstract and all inquiries to:

We invite you to visit the website www.genealogies.enrs.eu, where you will find information
about the program Genealogies of Memory in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as
information regarding last year’s conference which focused on theories and methods of
memory research in Eastern Europe as compared to Western Europe. At the 2011 conference,
we hosted nearly 100 scholars from Europe and the United States. Genealogies of Memory in
Central and Eastern Europe program is organized by the European Network of Remebrance
and Solidarity. Its aim is to facilitate academic exchange between Central and Eastern
European scholars of individual and collective memory as well as to promote the region’s
studies of memory among the international academic community.

Conference Committee:

Convenors: Prof. Jeffrey Olick (University of Virgina), Dr. Małgorzata Pakier (Warsaw
School of Social Science and Humanities), Dr. Joanna Wawrzyniak (University of Warsaw).
Advisory Board: Dr. Burkhard Olschowsky (European Network Remembrance and
Solidarity), Prof. Gertrud Pickhan (Free University of Berlin), Prof. Jan Rydel (European
Network Remembrance and Solidarity), Prof. Dariusz Stola (Collegium Civitas; Institute of
Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences).

European Network Remembrance and Solidarity; Free University of Berlin;
Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw; Institute of Sociology, Warsaw School of
Social Sciences and Humanities.

Funding: National Centre for Culture; Nordost Institut; Ministry of Culture and National
Heritage of the Republic of Poland; Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the

Към новина: 07/06/2012 "Regions of Memory. A Comparative Perspective on Eastern Europe"

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