1 - 2 December 2006
University of Tampere, Finland
Call for Papers
Svetlana Aleksievich: The Wars Unwomanly Face
Peter Jahn (Berlin) "We" and "They", Friend and Foe in Recent Russian Films on the Great Patriotic War
Marianna G. Muravyeva (St. Petersburg) The City of Women: Collective Memory and Mythology about the Siege of Leningrad in Russian Historiography.
Serguei Oushakine (Princeton) Notes of Loss and Despair: Memorizing War in Songs
Helmut Peitsch (Potsdam): "Changing Meanings of 'Vergangenheitsbew igung'
('Mastering the Nazi past') in East and West Germany 1945-1975."
World War II has been one of the most important events and highly emotive subjects in German as well as in Russian / Soviet history. Today the recalling and remembering of the wartime experiences is significantly gaining in importance. Due to the ruptures taking place in both countries in the last decades - the decline of the Soviet empire and the unification of Germany - a re-evaluation of recent history has emerged in both countries. As a consequence it has been possible to discuss hitherto taboo subjects as certain phenomena of war and occupation in both countries.
At a time when hitherto quite monolithic discourses of public and collective memory start to break down into conflicting fragments, private memories and their exploration are of growing interest for scholars from various disciplines. The historical upheavals have forced various negotiations with the past. The unresolved reflections on the tensions and traumas of individual and collective memory of World War II have granted in Germany and in Russia a special place for memoirs, autobiographical writings and other kind of material which diagnose a dialectic of past and present in attempts to recall or to forget past history. Reflection upon traumas and collective taboos is linked with other discourses and cultural models - on the German side the national unification is linked with the question on whether the Germans should be seen as victims of war as well, and in Russia which has seen a wealth of studies into collective historical memory over the last few years, there are conflicting modes including the tradition of a monolithic and heroic recalling of the Great Patriotic War and a critical focus upon the tragedies during the war.
It is this situation of re-negotiating national self-identities by constructing the past which is based on collective traumas that our conference will focus on as its central topic. It is one of the prerogatives of such a multidisciplinary conference to examine the fractures, interactions and intersections of private and collective memories at different times and different places in different texts as fiction, autobiographic writing, movies, monuments, oral history or historiography. The conference will also focus on the question of how and in which ways the reconstructive working of the memory is anchored in the cultural traditions of national imagery production, i.e. what are the topoi which are taken up and reproduced by reconstructing the memory of the past.
A comparative conference paying attention to the parallel changes in Russian and German societies can contribute to the discussion on whether and how meanings given to similar experiences differ in different contexts.
It is obvious that with the topic of the war and its recalling we will also focus on methodological issues of how to read and understand analogical experiences structured by different cultural backgrounds.
Please send electronic 400-word proposals by April 30, 2006 to programme co-chairs Withold Bonner (firstname.lastname@example.org), Lecturer, German Language and Culture, School of Modern Languages and Translation Studies, University of Tampere, or Arja Rosenholm (email@example.com), Professor, Slavonic Philology, School of Modern Languages and Translation Studies, University of Tampere.
Organizers: School of Modern Languages and Translation Studies, Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Tampere, and Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki
Withold Bonner (firstname.lastname@example.org), Lecturer, German Language and Culture, School of Modern Languages and Translation Studies, University of Tampere, or Arja Rosenholm (email@example.com), Professor, Slavonic Philology, School of Modern Languages and Translation Studies, University of Tampere Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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