CFP: Disturbing Pasts: Reverberations of the Second World War in Europe after 1945.
University College London (UCL), 3-4 July 2014
Organized by the AHRC-funded research group ‘Reverberations of War in Germany and Europe since 1945’ under the direction of Professor Mary Fulbrook and Dr Stephanie Bird, based at University College London (UCL).
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”.
For the purposes of this conference, “disturbance” is addressed on three different levels which interrelate in what might be called a “dialectics of disturbance”:
1- Those aspects of the past that remain disturbing, however hard people try to repress, forget, contain or silence this past;
2- The ways in which people later actively ‘disturb’ this past; processes of confronting, interacting and dealing with the past, that in turn affect and alter how it is perceived and what its implications are for a later present;
3- The often disturbing ethical questions raised in relation to the role of the analyst, historian and writer confronting this past.
We invite submissions that address one or several of the issues relating to disturbance, including but not limited to the following subjects:
• TRANSMISSION: How are experiences of war and violence transmitted between and across communities and generations?
• EMBODIMENTS: How were the experiences of war and violence and their memories inscribed onto the human body? How is the body used to make sense of or deal with these experiences, whether in daily life or in artistic interventions?
• REPRESENTATION - How are the experiences of war and violence represented in various media (films, literature, memorials, autobiographical accounts, press) and what is the wider impact of these representations on changing social perceptions?
• DISPLACEMENT AND IDENTIFICATION: How did people interpret and deal with the experience of losing their home and making a new one elsewhere? What roles do place/space play for identification and identity construction?
Preference will be given to proposals adopting interdisciplinary, transnational or comparative approaches and/or developing distinctive theoretical perspectives.
Please submit a 400 word abstract to Dr Julia Wagner firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr Christiane Wienand email@example.com before 1st December 2013. Please also include a brief biography, as well as details of current institutional affiliation, and email address.
Successful applicants will be notified by 15th January 2014.
Limited funding for the cost of accommodation and travel is available for those within Europe only. Applicants from overseas should bear in mind that they will need to apply for alternative sources of funding to cover their travel costs.
Papers will be pre-circulated. It is envisaged that a selection of conference papers may be published.
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