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’:
Those aspects of the past that remain disturbing, however hard people try to repress, forget, contain or silence this past;
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;
The often disturbing ethical questions raised in relation to the role of the analyst, historian and writer confronting this past.
Key issues include:
• 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?
Online registration is now open: http://onlinestore.ucl.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=111&catid=120&prodid=471
This conference is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the UCL European Institute, the School for European Languages Culture and Society and the UCL Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies.
Peter Krämer (UEA), ' “Mein Führer, I can walk!” References to the Nazi Past in the Making and Reception of Dr. Strangelove (1964)'
Alissa Timoshkina (KCL), 'The Past is Still Present: Representing the Second World War in Ordinary Fascism (documentary, Mikhail Romm, USSR, 1965)'
Julia Wagner (UCL), ‘Travelling to Remember, Travelling to Forget. German tourists in Europe and reminders of a disturbing past’
11:30 – 1:00
Stephanie Bird (UCL), ‘"Comedy – or more precisely: the pure joke – is the essential inner side of mourning which from time to time, like the lining of a dress at the hem or lapel, makes its presence felt.” On comedy and suffering in post-war German texts.’
Isabelle Hesse (York), 'Disturbing Laughter? Hitler’s Return to Contemporary Germany'
Caitríona Leahy (TCD), ‘Disturbing Anselm Kiefer’
Chair: Helena Flam (Leipzig)
1.00 - 2.00 Lunch
Panel IV. (Dis)Placing Identities and Disturbing Memories
2:00 - 3:30
Christiane Wienand (UCL), ‘Creating a better Future by Disturbing the Past? Young West-Germans as Reconciliation Activists in the 1960s and 1970s’
Anna Zadora (Strasbourg), 'Disturbing, Changing and Controversial Memories of the WWII in Belarus'
Ulrike Lang (Munich), 'From Oblivion to Complex Memoryscape: The Changing Significance of the Łódź Ghetto for the Local Community after 1945 as a Result of Interethnic and Interinstitutional Transmission of Memory'
4:00 – 5:00
Dominik Rigoll (Jena), '45ers and 68ers in France and West Germany'
Alexey Tikhomirov (Frankfurt am Main), 'Beyond “Fascist Sortie” and “Popular Uprising for Democracy and Rights”: Rethinking the 17 June 1953 unrest in East Germany'
5:15 – 6:15
Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe (Berlin), 'Survivor Testimonies and the Process of Coming to Terms with the Holocaust in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia'
Gaelle Fisher (UCL), ‘Disturbance and coherence in contemporary accounts of Germans and Jews from Bukovina’
Panel V. Redefinitions / reconstructing identities
9:30 – 11:00
Christiane Grieb (UCL), 'Communication, Declaration or Negotiation of Historic Truth? The Presence of a Concentration Camp – 1945-2013'
Julia Lange (Hamburg), 'The past is a foreign country? German American politics of memory and the Holocaust'
Jennifer Smyth (Warwick), 'Film, History, and the Search for Europe in Postwar Czechoslovakia'
11:30 – 12:30
Antoine Burgard (Lyons / Montreal), '“A sympathetic boy whom the years of suffering have not too heavily marked”. Identity construction, trauma’s perceptions and stereotyping of Holocaust orphans through social workers’ words in immediate Postwar Europe'
Tamara West (Birmingham), 'Displaced Homes and Incomplete Narratives'
Chair: Mark Hewitson
12.30 – 1.30 Lunch
1:30 – 3:30
Helena Flam (Leipzig), Dorothee Wierling (Hamburg), Richard Overy (Exeter)
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