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Contested Memories and the Contours of the Past

An Interdisciplinary Conference
Open to faculty and graduate students
May 12-14, 2014

pdf Conference Brochure (5.25 MB)

ghetto-poland-200pxCollective memory has historically been contested terrain where tensions and conflicts emerge in constructing and reinterpreting the past.  Contestations often emerge in the aftermath of war, violence, and genocide - resulting in conflicts between the state and various opposition groups, including survivors, artists, and intellectuals. These divergent narratives also shape the dynamics between individuals and collectives, private and public memories, and intergenerational transmission of memory. Indeed, any process of remembering produces selective commemorations, silences and gaps, where traces of memory may exist in the shadows or fall into oblivion, revealing the complexity of shaping the contours of the past.

This conference is the culmination of a year-long interdisciplinary research seminar during the 2013-2014 year, devoted to exploring "Contested Memories and the Politics of Change" from a comparative, cross-cultural perspective.  It will address central issues in memory studies including national, familial, and intergenerational memories; commemorative struggles in the wake of trauma; witnessing and silences; embodied and visual memories; contested sites and conflicting narratives; and the relationship between collective memory and transitional justice. Scholars will examine these issues from a range of disciplinary perspectives utilizing case studies from diverse geographical regions.

Support for this conference has been provided by The Henry Schwartzman Endowed Faculty Seminar Fund, and the Leon and Toby Cooperman Fund.

Cosponsored by the GAIA Centers’ 2013-2015 Biennial Theme: Global Health!



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