UCL European Institute


Institut Français-UCL: In Place(s) of Memory

11 December 2013–12 December 2013, 12:00 am–12:00 am

Eventbrite - IF-UCL Launch

Event Information

Open to


11-12 December 2013
Marking the launch of a new collaboration between UCL and the Institut Français in London, and shortly before the centenary year of the beginning of World War I, we invite you to a public panel discussion with French, British and German historians on history, memory and commemoration. A full-day Colloquium on the next day showcases French and UCL research on the topic.

Public Panel Discussion:
11 December 2013, 6.30pm
Pearson G22 LT
UCL Pearson Building (North East Entrance)
London WC1E 6BT

Followed by reception
In the Flaxman Gallery
UCL Library

12 December, 9-5.30pm
Arts and Humanities Common Room
Foster Court, G24
London WC1E 6BT

Film Screening and Discussion:
12 December, 6.30pm
Engineering Front Building
Room 103 & 104 (Executive Suite)
Torrington Place
London WC1E 7JE

[image reference is broken]

Institut Français and UCL

The Institut Français in London and University College London are initiating a new 3-year cooperation in order to strengthen research links between UCL and colleagues from French universities.

UCL's European Institute is curating the first season under this new agreement, which under theme of "In Place(s) of Memory" comprises a launch evening (panel discussion and reception), a one-day Colloquium, and two joint lectures with associated PhD workshops.


We will launch the season on 11 December 2013 with a high-profile public panel discussion. With the centenary year of WWI looming, it will be an occasion to revisit the long-standing tradition -proposed most prominently by French scholars Maurice Halbwachs and Pierre Nora- that distinguishes history's putatively rationalised long-term view of the past from the immediate connection with it that collective memory seems to promise. On this occasion, panelists will particularly scrutinize the role of witness accounts, survivor testimony and intergenerational transmission.

The discussion will be followed by a reception to mark and celebrate the launch of the new agreement between the Institut Français and UCL in the Flaxman Gallery of the UCL Library. 


  • Prof Olivier Wieviorka is Professor of Contemporary History at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan and also teaches at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris. Among his most recent publication is Divided Memory: French Recollections of World War II from the Liberation to the Present (Stanford University Press, 2012).
  • Prof Dorothee Wierling, is a historian and currently Director of the Research Centre for Contemporary History in Hamburg (FZH) has worked, among others, on witnesses, oral history and the transgenerational transmission of traumatic war experiences with regard to Hamburg's "Feuersturm". She is currently Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor researching at the German Historical Institute and teaching at the London School of Economics  
  • Prof Mary Fulbrook, FBA, is Professor of German History at UCL, Director of the European Institute and Dean of Social and Historical Sciences. Her research focuses above all on the twentieth-century German dictatorships, Europe after the Holocaust, and historiography and social theory. A former Chair of the German History Society and member of the Advisory Board of the German Historical Institute London, Mary is  a member of the Council of the British Academy and of the Advisory Boards of the Memorial Foundation for the former concentration camps of Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora, and the Bundeskanzler-Willy-Brandt-Stiftung.
  • Chair: François Guesnet is Reader in Modern Jewish History at UCL. Before joining UCL, he held fellowships at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Pennsylvania, UCL, and Oxford University. He was part of the team establishing the Simon-Dubnow-Institute for Jewish History and Culture in Leipzig and held a Visiting Professorship at the University of Potsdam. His current research covers 18th and 19th c. Jewish intercession in Europe, Jewish self-government in Poland from its inception until the present, and anti-semitism in Eastern Central Europe after 1989.


This launch evening is complemented on 12 December with a one-day academic conference with senior and junior scholars from UCL and French universities.

Provisional Programme:

from 9am
Welcome & registration
9:30-11:00 Panel 1: National Narratives and the Making of Collective Memory
  • Fabrice Montebello (Professor of Aesthetics, Université de Metz - Lorraine): A French post-colonial cinema? Remembering the past and constituting new identities
  • Philippe Marlière (Professor of French & European Politics, UCL): What is "Collective Memory" and does it work?
11:30- 1:00 Panel 2: Reconciliation in Place(s) of Memory?:
Franco-German Perspectives after the Second World War
  • Corine Defrance (Professor of History, Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne)
  • Christiane Wienand (Research Fellow, UCL German)
  • Andrea Erkenbrecher (PhD student, Ludwig-Maximilans-Universität Munich)
 2:00-3:30  Panel 3: The Moral Borders of Human Migration: Trauma and Trust in the 21st-Century
  • Richard Rechtman (Psychiatrist and Anthropologist at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris)
  • David Napier (Professor of Medical Anthropology, UCL Anthropology)
3:30-4:00 Coffee
4:00-5:30 Panel 4: Europe enslaved Africans in the Caribbean: A wrong to remember and to repair
  • Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman (Research Associate in the Philosophy of 'Race', UCL Philosophy): Michael Gove, William Wilberforce, and the defect of durable degradation
  • Magali Bessone (Assistant Professor in Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of Rennes 1, France): Reparations against slavery and transitional justice
6:30- 8:30 Film screening
Engineering Front Building
Room 103 & 104 (Executive Suite)
Torrington Place
London WC1E 7JE

Children of perpetrators - children of victims
(Kinder der Täter - Kinder der Opfer)
directed by Piotr Szalsza
Documentary film, 2009, 50 mins
Polish with English subtitles

Documentary film about Jens-Jürgen Ventzki and his attempts to come to terms with the crimes committed by his father. Werner Ventzki was mayor of Lodz/Litzmannstadt between 1941 and 1945. In this capacity he oversaw the administration Lodz ghetto, the second largest ghetto after Warsaw. The film focusses mainly on a discussion between Jens-Jürgen Ventzki and children of inhabitants of the ghetto which took place in Lodz in 2007.

The film screening will be followed by discussion.

Joint lectures and PhD workshops

The launch event and colloquium will be followed by two joint lectures (note: all working titles):

Each of the joint lectures will be followed by a half-day PhD workshop with French and UCL doctoral students.

Information and registration available soon.

In cooperation with:

[image reference is broken]