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Disturbing Pasts: Reverberations of the Second World War in Europe after 1945

Start: Jul 03, 2014 01:00 PM
End: Jul 05, 2014 03:30 PM

Location: Wilkins Haldane Room, University College London

This conference sets out to explore the complex and diverse reverberations of the Second World War after 1945. The notion of  ‘disturbing pasts’ refers to the experience of war and violence. But the aim is to understand how and why these experiences continue to disturb a later present, and how some people later disturb an apparently dormant past. The focus is on conflicting, unexpected and often dissonant interpretations and representations of these events among both those who were the witnesses, victims and perpetrators of these events and among different communities in the generations that followed. On a theoretical level, therefore, one objective of this conference is to raise challenges to the widely used and yet under-theorized concept of ‘collective memory’.


Thursday 3 July

Wilkins Haldane Room, UCL, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT London

1:00 Registration

1:45 Welcome and Introduction

Panel I: Challenging Narratives


Mary Fulbrook (UCL), ‘Disturbing the Past / Disturbed by the Past’

Tsila Ratner (UCL),‘Unbearable Mending: The Holocaust in Contemporary Israeli Literature’

Katya Krylova (Nottingham), 'Disturbing the Past: The Representation of the Waldheim Affair in Robert Schindel’s Der Kalte'

Chair: Tim Beasley-Murray (UCL)

Panel II. Hauntings

4:00 – 5:00

Gilly Carr (Cambridge), 'Disturbing ghosts, German bunker restoration and postmemory in the Channel Islands'

Uilleam Blacker (Oxford), ‘Haunted Cities: Remembering Vanished Others and Urban Identity in Eastern Europe'

5:15 – 6:45

Susanne Knittel (Utrecht), 'The Uncanny Memory of Nazi Euthanasia'

Alexandra Hills (UCL), Victimhood through a Creaturely Lens: Reckonings with the Holocaust in Ilse Aichinger and Primo Levi.

Joanne Pettit (Kent), 'Second Generation Perpetrators? Inherited Guilt and the Holocaust'

Chair: Mererid Puw Davies (UCL)


Conference Dinner

Friday 4 July

Wilkins Haldane Room, UCL, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT London

Panel III. Fascination / Pleasure

9:30 – 11:00

Peter Krämer (UEA), ' “Mein Führer, I can walk!” References to the Nazi Past in the Making and Reception of Dr. Strangelove (1964)'

Alissa Timoshkina (KCL), 'The Past is Still Present: Representing the Second World War in Ordinary Fascism (documentary, Mikhail Romm, USSR, 1965)'

Julia Wagner (UCL), ‘Travelling to Remember, Travelling to Forget. German tourists in Europe and reminders of a disturbing past’

11:30 – 1:00

Stephanie Bird (UCL), ‘"Comedy – or more precisely: the pure joke – is the essential inner side of mourning which from time to time, like the lining of a dress at the hem or lapel, makes its presence felt.” On comedy and suffering in post-war German texts.’

Isabelle Hesse (York), 'Disturbing Laughter? Hitler’s Return to Contemporary Germany'

Caitríona Leahy (TCD), ‘Disturbing Anselm Kiefer’

Chair: Helena Flam (Leipzig)

1.00 - 2.00 Lunch

Panel IV. (Dis)Placing Identities and Disturbing Memories

2:00 - 3:30

Christiane Wienand (UCL), ‘Creating a better Future by Disturbing the Past? Young West-Germans as Reconciliation Activists in the 1960s and 1970s’

Anna Zadora (Strasbourg), 'Disturbing, Changing and Controversial Memories of the WWII in Belarus'

Ulrike Lang (Munich), 'From Oblivion to Complex Memoryscape: The Changing Significance of the Łódź Ghetto for the Local Community after 1945 as a Result of Interethnic and Interinstitutional Transmission of Memory'

4:00 – 5:00

Dominik Rigoll (Jena), '45ers and 68ers in France and West Germany'

Alexey Tikhomirov (Frankfurt am Main), 'Beyond “Fascist Sortie” and “Popular Uprising for Democracy and Rights”: Rethinking the 17 June 1953 unrest in East Germany'

5:15 – 6:15

Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe (Berlin), 'Survivor Testimonies and the Process of Coming to Terms with the Holocaust in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia'

Gaelle Fisher (UCL), ‘Disturbance and coherence in contemporary accounts of Germans and Jews from Bukovina’

Chair: Susan Morrissey (UCL)

6:15 – 7:30

Wine reception

7:30 – 9:00

Public lecture and discussion: Lisa Appignanesi

Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT London

Saturday 5 July

Wilkins Haldane Room, UCL, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT London

Panel V. Redefinitions / reconstructing identities

9:00 – 11:00

Christiane Grieb (UCL), ‘Mittelbau-Dora trial / Crime scenes and later representations’

Julian Peteley (Brunel),‘Too Unpleasant for Public Exhibition’

Julia Lange (Hamburg), 'The past is a foreign country? German American politics of memory and the Holocaust'

Jennifer Smyth (Warwick), 'Film, History, and the Search for Europe in Postwar Czechoslovakia'

11:30 – 12:30

Antoine Burgard (Lyons / Montreal), '“A sympathetic boy whom the years of suffering have not too heavily marked”. Identity construction, trauma’s perceptions and stereotyping of Holocaust orphans through social workers’ words in immediate Postwar Europe'

Tamara West (Birmingham), 'Displaced Homes and Incomplete Narratives'

Chair: Mark Hewitson

12.30 – 1.30 Lunch

1:30 – 3:30

Closing Discussion

Helena Flam (Leipzig), Dorothee Wierling (Hamburg), Richard Overy (Exeter)

Chair: Stephanie Bird (UCL)

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