Call for proposals: Second annual conference Memory Studies Association

Aline Sierp will co-organise the second annual conference of the Memory Studies Association from 14-16 December at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen. The MSA was launched symbolically at its inaugural conference in Amsterdam in December 2016. Proposals will be accepted until Saturday 1 July.

Founded last year in Amsterdam, the Memory Studies Association (MSA) aims at institutionalizing memory studies as a research field that is able to provide fundamental knowledge about the importance and function of memories in the public and private realm. The MSA’s objective is to provide a central forum for developing, discussing, and exchanging ideas about the methodology and theory of the inter- and multi-disciplinary field of memory studies.

By addressing crucial questions about the challenges and future of memory studies, this year’s conference will continue the fruitful debates that began in Amsterdam. A starting point of our discussions is to further define the ‘third wave’ of memory studies: One of the central problems of memory studies today is to adjust to the increasing heterogeneity of remembering without losing sight of national and local memory formations. Even in our globalized world, legal and mental borders are far from dissolved. The growing number of nationalist movements in Europe point to the continued virility of the national framework of remembrance.

This conference wants to address “memory unbound” as well as specific personal, familial or national memories and their mutual interrelations. It seeks answers to questions such as: How can memory studies continue to conceptualize the deterritorialized, fluid and transnational aspects of collective memory without abolishing the validity of the founding ideas of memory studies? Acknowledging the fact that memories relate not only to the presence of the past but also to imaginations of the future, how can we define the productive power of memory? Should memory studies merely be perceived as descriptive or should it also have an impact on actual political debates?

Confirmed keynote speakers and participants of this conference include among others: Marianne Hirsch (Columbia University), filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer (“The Act of Killing” and “The Look of Silence”), Jan Gross (Princeton University), as well as Daniel Levy (Stony Brook University, New York), Astrid Erll (Goethe-University Frankfurt), Jeffrey Olick (University of Virginia), William Hirst (The New School, New York), Wulf Kansteiner (University of Aarhus).

The Memory Studies Association aims to be the central forum for scholars from around the world and across disciplines who are interested in memory studies. Its goal is to further establish and extend the status of memory studies as a field.

We would like to encourage both the submission of “traditional” academic papers and full panels, as well as innovative proposals for workshops, film screenings, roundtable discussions and more. Please contact the organizers if you would like to discuss ideas or have questions.

Further questions can be addressed to Tea Sindbæk Andersen or to Jessica Ortner.

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