Pathways to post-conflict remembrance | Wed Dec 18 09:30:00 | Room 784
We are currently living in a time where past conflicts are lavishly commemorated, contemporary ones being followed on the world stage, while future ones dreaded with fear. Across the world, past and present conflicts and their heritages are being instrumentalized for the formation of national identities, as well as patriotic and nationalistic sentiments, and therefore holding a crucial role in ongoing shifts and changes of contemporary politics.During this session we seek papers from different social and historical contexts, which offer theoretical frameworks and/or case study approaches to various pathways of remembering and commemorating conflicts between 19th and 21st century, both in private and public domains.
Understanding memory as a contested process, we aim to examine the political, moral and ethical dynamics of post-conflict remembrance through institutional and individual efforts. The physicality/tangibility of remembrance through (for example) memorabilia, art, fashion, literature, memorials and monuments, private and public museum displays, often appears to have been the focus of various commemorative efforts and academic works. However, during this session we also invite papers exploring intangible aspects of remembrance through sound, music, oral histories and ethnographies. This will give us the opportunity to discuss and compare different disciplinary approaches and boundaries within the field of conflict memory. We are particularly interested in papers that explore one or more of the following topics:
- Commemorations and politics
- Ownership of the past
- Commemoration and identity
- Morality of remembrance
- Physicality of commemoration
9:30 | Luisa Nienhaus, UCL Institute of Archaeology; Lisheng Zhang, UCL
9:45 | Ke Ye, UCL Institute of Archaeology
No monuments but a process: 70 years of retrieving looted artefacts
Post-conflict remembrance is normally communicated through monuments and ceremonies, but this case study deals with a process of restitution which perpetually acts as a vehicle for the articulation of memories and emotions.
10:00 | Hannah Wilson, Nottingham Trent University
The Material Memory of Sobibór Death Camp: Archaeology, Artefacts and Commemoration
In recent years, archaeology has arguably become one of the most relevant aspects within contemporary Holocaust and memory studies. In this proposed paper, I examine the impact of the archaeological findings at the site of the former Nazi Death camp Sobibór in Eastern Poland. I aim to explore the international materialisation of Sobibór through the representation and contextualisation of the artefacts in museum collections, exhibitions and media publications (the new memorial museum at the site of Sobibór is currently under construction).
10:15 | Xavier Rubio-Campillo, University of Edinburgh, School of History, Classics and Archaeology / Murphy’s Toast Games
Glorious and forgotten: the remembrance of air warfare in the Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) has become a symbol of the resistance against fascism. The internal conflict quickly involved foreign governments (Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union) while thousands of volunteers across the globe joined the Second Republic and its fight against the far right. The victory of the “Nationalists” was followed by a period of intense repression as general Francisco Franco established a ruthless dictatorship that would continue until his death in 1975. Unlike other places the transition to a democratic government did not entail any new perspective on the war as it promoted a “pact of oblivion” to forget this traumatic past.
10:30 | Georgia Andreou, University of Southampton
Archaeology? The materiality of post-1963 Cyprus
Post-1963 material evidence from Cyprus inevitably lies at the intersection of political history and recent memory. The 1963-1964 and 1967 periods of inter-communal violence, the military invasion of 1974, and the separate and largely isolated development of the northern (Turkish-Cypriot) and southern (Greek-Cypriot) parts of the island have produced an array of material evidence that is at the forefront of memory politics surrounding the “Cyprus dispute”. Although controversial museum collections and conflicting commemoration practices have been studied in the context of history, political science and urban studies, their examination from an archaeological perspective has been limited and remains peripheral. Emphasis has been placed primarily on the challenges of heritage preservation in occupied areas and the buffer zone and more recently on the recovery of the remains of missing people. At the same time, abandoned villages feature in case studies for experimental archaeology projects and provide samples for dendrochronological sequences.
10:45 | Session organisers
|11:00 | BREAK|
11:30 | Ryan Nolan, University College Dublin
Excluding the North? Marginalised memory and the legacies of conflict in the Centenary Commemorations of the 1916 Rising in Ireland
In this paper I will explore the state commemorative events to celebrate the hundred-year anniversary of the 1916 Rising in Ireland. This paper will highlight the focus throughout the commemorative campaign of constructing of inclusivity in the history of the Easter Rising. However, this paper argues that the 2016 commemorations were scared by the past legacies of violence, explicitly The Troubles in Northern Ireland, which cast a long shadow on the commemorative programme. In this following paper I will explore discourse strategies employed by Irish political elites which systemically construct themes of inclusivity, diversity and equality in representing 1916 (particularly in relation to the role of women) whilst routinely excluding a movement and ideology that was central the Rising, armed Republicanism. This paper will explore the juxtaposition of the several attempts by elites to highlight the inclusive elements of the commemorations, whilst systematically excluding Northern Ireland and armed republicanism from the narrative of 1916.
11:45 | Susan Shay, University of Cambridge
Courtroom Narrative Construction as a Tool for Indigenous Empowerment: Confronting the Authorized Past through Legal Land Claims
One of the places where the past is continually argued is in the courtroom. For Indigenous peoples undergoing processes of decolonization, the court provides an opportunity for them to challenge authorized versions of the past in efforts to achieve greater forms of Indigenous political recognition and sovereignty. The Indigenous sovereignty sought is often based on historic land and resource rights, rights held before the arrival of Western settlers. However, Indigenous legal challenges have inherent difficulties, for Native peoples have to overcome social, educational, communal and epistemological challenges to build, support and defend their legal narratives. Their efforts are also complicated by historic trauma, decades of subjugation and discrimination, and dislocation from their cultural, based in the relationship with lost ancestral lands and resources. Nonetheless, recent research examining three contemporary Native Hawaiian lawsuits demonstrates that not only are the legal outcomes of the court cases important for Indigenous empowerment, but so are the processes of court narrative investigation, construction, presentation and defence. This paper will discuss how the efforts needed to develop and support and Indigenous legal narrative in Hawai’i, including leadership in decision-making, archival research on culture and heritage, court performance, and public displays of support, were part of a communal effort that served to provide a new public voice, took back the historical record, and restored pride in an indigenous identity.
12:00 | Iida Käyhkö, Royal Holloway, University of London
‘Don’t mourn, organise!’: remembrance and political activism
Political activists and movements frequently use engagement with specific practices of remembrance as a form of movement-building. My research with political activists in London focuses on unofficial commemorations of protest found in domestic environments and community spaces, and on the wider materialities of recent and contemporary political movements. I examine cultures of radical left-wing heritage as essential building blocks of politically contentious identities and communities — and as a way of managing individual and collective trauma in the face of violent conflict with the state. Commemorations of specific political movements are a way of reclaiming marginalised pasts, often with the aim of disrupting nationalistic historical narratives. Forms of left-wing remembrance — alternately of family histories, individual autobiographies or of spatially or temporally distant movements — create a slight inversion of Anderson’s ‘imagined communities’ (1983), united by shared heritages and ideological aims rather than national or geographic unity. I outline the ways in which these connections are narrated, materialised and how they engender resilience, hopefulness and a sense of responsibility in the individuals and communities in question. Further, I suggest that these forms of remembrance play a significant role in the management of traumatic experiences such as state surveillance, arrests and tear gassing. Throughout, commemoration emerges simultaneously as a moral duty and as an affective need, and becomes materialised in a disparate archive of protest dotted across the city.
12:15 | Helia Marçal, Independent Researcher / Tate, London
Remembering conflict: performance art, participation, and intergenerational transmission
Artists have always been interested in communicating complex cultural, political, and ethical issues. Performance art has been considered a privileged medium to engage in activist political actions. In which ways are memories of conflict, trauma, and activism embodied in performance?
12:30 | Session organisers
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