The construction of personal, collective or institutional memory has a profound influence on our understanding of the world. This conference seeks to explore the struggle for the construction, possession and interpretation of historical memory in the context of US foreign relations. We invite papers and panels that explore any aspect of the confluence of memory and US foreign relations, broadly defined. The conference is particularly, but not exclusively, interested in how people, cultures and societies remember, forget and distort the past, how those memories affect present thoughts and actions, and how policymakers use memory in their decision-making. Within that framework, possible topics could include but are not limited to
The sites and locations of collective memory: if collective memory exists, where is it located? How do symbols and ritual acts help Americans reach consensus on their past interactions with the world?
Agents of cultural production and memory: how have writers, artists, musicians and media figures memorialized and understood American foreign relations?
Constructed narratives: how do the constructed meta-narratives of America’s role in the world relate to current policies?
Forgotten and silenced memories: what are the gaps and silences in collective memory of American foreign relations?
Memory and decision-making: How do policymakers (at Presidential level and below) mediate their personal experiences with broader collective memory and how does this affect their decision-making process?
Organizational lessons learned processes and memory: how do organizations, such as the State Department and Department of Defence, process lessons and how does this process affect collective memory? Conversely, how does collective memory itself affect the lesson-learning process?
Professor Jay M. Winter, Yale University
Jay M. Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History, is a specialist on World War I and its impact on the 20th century. His other interests include remembrance of war in the 20th century, such as memorial and mourning sites, European population decline, the causes and institutions of war, British popular culture in the era of the Great War and the Armenian genocide of 1915. Winter is the author or co-author of a dozen books, including Socialism and the Challenge of War, Ideas and Politics in Britain, 1912-18, The Great War and the British People, The Fear of Population Decline, The Experience of World War I, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, 1914-1918: The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, Remembering War: The Great War between History and Memory in the 20th Century, and Dreams of Peace and Freedom: Utopian Moments in the 20th Century. Winter was co-producer, co-writer and chief historian for the PBS series "The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century," which won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and a Producers Guild of America Award for best television documentary in 1997
Dr. David Ryan, University College Cork
Senior Lecturer, Department of History at University College Cork. He has published extensively on contemporary history and US foreign policy concentrating on the interventions in the post-Vietnam era, including Central America, Angola, Vietnam, and the Middle East amongst other places. His publications include: US-Sandinista Diplomatic Relations (1995); The United States and Decolonization (2000); US Foreign Policy in World History (2000); Iraq in Vietnam: Tactics, lessons, legacies, ghosts (Co-Ed. John Dumbrell, 2006); Frustrated Empire: US Foreign Policy from 9/11 to Iraq (2007); America and Iraq: Policy-making, Intervention and Regional Politics (Co-Ed. Patrick Kiely, 2009). His current research interests involve an investigation into the impact of the ‘Vietnam syndrome’ on US intervention in regional conflicts since 1975.
We invite single paper and panel proposals for this conference. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
Name, contact details and academic affiliation
200-300 word abstract
Brief CV or biographical statement
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