History and Memory:
Present Reflections on the Past to Build Our Future
An International Symposium organised
by the Macau Ricci Institute, December 1st—3rd 2005
History and memory are tightly connected: both deal with the past, and one cannot exist without the other. Without the lineaments of memory—whether writings, works of art, oral accounts or physical sites—history would have nothing to relate. Without the narrative of history, memory would be utterly fragmented and liable to vanish with the passing of its initial and unique bearer. Memories are constitutive of being, human and social, and history allows memory to nurture the present and build the future.
The connection between history and memory is, of course, open to debate. Some argue that these two ideas are made of a very different fabric, memory being borne by living societies founded in its name, whereas history is always reconstructed, and so problematic and incomplete, of what is no longer. Others see history as a special case of social and cultural memory.
Our contemporary era has again been full of “sound and fury”. Empires have been replaced by nation-states, all places on the earth have been discovered, all cultures and civilisations have been put in contact, and yet we have witnessed in the twentieth century some of the greatest tragedies in the history of mankind. Living in a modern world scarred by these terrible man-made disasters, and on a planet where the escape routes have almost all disappeared, suggests that global communication has yet to translate into global understanding. It is our belief that the manufacturing of historical consciousness, what “history and memory” is all about, has thus become a need—witness the trend for commemoration and celebration of all sorts and in all guises—and an imperative.
Macau has been a place for true and uninterrupted encounter between the West and China for the past 450 years, and, as such, is a “place of memory” where remnants of history can still be found everywhere. We are therefore confident that this symposium will serve as a bridge between cultures, historical paths and schools of thought, bringing in elements of comparison between China and the rest of the world not only to illustrate differences but also to uncover elements of commonality and narrative of shared experiences.
The main axes of this symposium will be:
The liaisons between History and Memory: Epistemological issues;
Questions of method: On the sources of History and towards an interdisciplinary approach;
Selecting and constructing memories;
Teaching history and preserving memory;
The “duty of Memory”: For whom and to what end?
All paper proposals should be relevant to these five axes. Moreover, to ensure the richness and diversity of these presentations and discussions, at least half of the papers will be by invitation. All fields of the humanities are welcome, and participants shall be comprised of academics as well as “actors of history”.
Proposal / CV / Abstract Submission: May 31st 2005 Final Abstract: July 31st 2005 Final Paper: September 30th 2005 Dates of the Symposium: December 1st—3rd 2005
Organising Institution: Macau Ricci Institute
Venue: Inspiration Building, Institute For Tourism Studies, Macau
Registration Deadline: November 14th 2005
For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-ordinator of Symposium 2005
Macau Ricci Institute
Phone: (853) 532 536
Fax: (853) 568 274
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