MEMORY, COMMEMORATION AND THE USES OF THE PAST
This cluster provides a space for staff and students from a range of disciplines to engage in fruitful discussion about memory and representation of the past from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Given the burgeoning literature on memory over the last three decades, a key aim of this cluster is to critically reassess the state of the field and propose and contribute to new directions in the study of memory and commemoration by:
- Examining cases of memory construction emanating from both traumatic and non-traumatic events, thus challenging the close relationship between memory and trauma theory.
- Considering the ‘entrepreneurs’ of memory not only as victims of violence, but as protagonists in the construction of memory and productive engagement with the past in the present. In particular, we consider the role of perpetrators and collaborators in the construction of memory.
- Reconsidering the Holocaust as the cornerstone of Memory Studies to consider peripheral cases of commemoration. In this way, we explore not only how the Holocaust trope has been applied extra-regionally, but think about what we might learn from lesser-known case studies.
- Drawing on potentially insightful scholarly literature from the contrasting country and case studies, particularly those not widely translated into English.
Scrutinising the struggles for memory and engagement with the past as made manifest in the legal sphere, historical discourse, literature, theatre, human rights activism, oral testimony, artwork, social and digital media etc.
RECENT AND UPCOMING ACTIVITIES
The cluster meets regularly for themed reading groups. The latest one, held on February 26th 2019, focused on chapter 1, ‘Sex/gender violence’ (pp. 12-41) in Maria Eriksson Baaz and Maria Stern, Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War?: Perceptions, Prescriptions, Problems in the Congo and Beyond (Africa Now). Zed Books, 2013
Seminars and Courses
The cluster organises regular seminars and work-in-progress presentations. Among the most recent are ‘Transnational Memories: A reading and discussion with author Vladimir Vertlib’ and PG Masterclass Fiction and Remembrance
Cluster convenors and members regularly engage in conference participation and organisation. In November 2018, the cluster hosted international conference ‘All things considered’, which looked at the ways in which material culture interacts with literature and visual arts.