MEMORIALS IN THE AGE OF THE ANTHROPOCENE`
Adam Mickiewicz University at Poznan, Poland
16-17 October 2014
Department of History, Adam Mickiewicz University, ul. sw. Marcin 78, 61-809 Poznan, Poland
CALL FOR PAPERS
MEMORIALS IN THE AGE OF THE ANTHROPOCENE
Adam Mickiewicz University at Poznan, 16-17th October 2014
The Anthropocene is understood as a new geological era of the Earth’s history dominated by the human. According to Paul Crutzen, who introduced this term, it has begun with the Industrial Revolution around 1800. This notion is a challenge for thinking about the future of the Earth, human societies and their transformations as well as for re-considering the goals of knowledge building and the idea of an academic system adequate to it. It invites scholars to think about the world (its past, present and future), knowledge building and academic system in the frame provided not only by the humanities and social sciences, but also by the natural and life sciences. Treating the Anthropocene as a conceptual platform (meaning a set of ideas and approaches ideal for practicing a new paradigm and building the future-oriented integrative knowledge of a new present and its pasts), we propose to reconsider the role of memorials and to establish alternative modes of their recognition.
Present academic debates over memorials are often limited to memory studies and classical studies of the commemorative sculpture. We appreciate the importance of those disciplines and its innovative approach is welcome in the papers, but most of all we encourage participants to go beyond the canonical studies on memorials. We are primarily interested in multidimensional relations between memorials and public space, relations between monuments and nature, as well as between memorials, and the humans and non-humans who encounter them. We consider memorials as agents which produce meanings on many different levels. They can affect people not only by the message transmitted by the commemoration, but also, for example, by their form texture and material structure. They also affect landscape condition and ecosphere (when build with the hazardous materials). These factors can change the meaning of a particular memorial and the reason for its erecting.
Memorials participate in the everyday life of citizens in a way that goes deeply beyond its official function. Thus, they may become skate-parks, surfaces for graffiti-users or simply a venue for people’s meetings. On the other hand, they are often worshiped and praised in the way that suggests that they have miraculous or magical power and that a real life is embodied in the stony monument. Sometimes memorials die in dramatic circumstances when they are mutilated, cast down from socles, hanged or trampled as if they were living creature being lynched. Sometimes, however, they end their lives in a natural way. That happens when they ruin gradually, get on in years and slowly become a stone pile or rotting matter.
Having said the above, we pose the following questions: how would a non-anthropocentric approach influence the way we understand the agency of memorials? What is the relevance of such issues as anthropogenic climate change, environmental catastrophes, natural disasters, and species extinctions to these kinds of memorials? Could we talk about specific types of Anthropocene monuments? How does thing theory, new materialism, new vitalism and object oriented ontology challenge and/or change our understanding of memorials and the way they are designed? How do biohumanities bear upon such research? How might the perspective of an “affective turn” change our way of perceiving memorials? How might non-European, indigenous ways of knowing, such as animism and totemism challenge the theoretical framework in which
we talk about monuments? Are some of those re-new ideas and approaches visible in the memorials created today? And finally what can memorials treated as agents of human/non-human network do to people while consolidating or antagonizing social communities?
We address the invitation of the conference to representatives of different disciplines of humanities and social sciences as well as life sciences. We would like to bring up the discussion not only among historians and art-historians but also among anthropologists, archeologists, sociologists, cognitivists, neurobiologists or psychologists. We also invite to the discussion architects and artists whose work on memorials can help us to confront theory with practice.
Krzysztof Wodiczko, Harvard University, USA
Erika Doss, University of Notre Dame, USA
Submit an abstract in English by June 30th, 2014 to firstname.lastname@example.org
An abstract should be no longer than 300 words. You will receive a notification about acceptance of your paper by July 15th, 2014. In addition please attach your biographical note.
Working language of the conference is English.
Selected papers will be published.
Dr Malgorzata Praczyk (Department of History, Adam Mickiewicz University at Poznan, Poland)
Mgr Michal Kepski (Department of Art History, Adam Mickiewicz University at Poznan, Poland)
Professor Ewa Domanska (Department of History)
Professor Piotr Piotrowski (Department of Art History)
30th June 2014 - deadline for submission of abstracts
15th July 2014 - announcement of the selected participants
16-17th October 2014 - the conference
31th December 2014 - deadline for submission of the final papers
The conference fee is 50 EUR, 200 PLN. Refreshment, coffee breaks and lunch will be
provided. Transportation and accommodation are covered individually by participants;
however we will be happy to help foreign participants with all necessary arrangements.
Final papers and all questions regarding the conference shall be sent to:email@example.com
News will be posted on the website of the Department of History of Adam Mickiewicz University: http://historia.amu.edu.pl/
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