Genealogies of Memory 2022 - History and Memory in International Relations
International Hybrid Conference, Warsaw, 26–28 October 2022
Memory and history have always played an important role in diplomacy. However, only in recent years have growing numbers of scholars begun to integrate memory and the use of history into the theories of international relations (IR), a trend most noticeable among constructivists (Langenbacher and Shain, 2010; Perchoc, 2013, Ociepka, 2017). This turn has been partly influenced by the expanding body of research devoted to memory in both theoretical and historical contexts, which has largely centred around the memory of the Second World War and the Holocaust (among others: Cichocka et al., 2005; Assmann 2008; Memory and Change, 2016; Łuczewski, 2017), but it has also been triggered by the increasing importance of memory and identity politics worldwide (Fukuyama 2018; Wang 2018).
On the other hand, history can also serve as a means of reconciliation, with even difficult pasts providing platforms for dialogue through public apologies, truth and reconciliation commissions or international textbooks (Korostelina, Lässig, 2013, Rosoux, 2009). Moreover, memory has wielded an important influence over innumerable fields, from international law, through public discourse, to even seemingly unrelated areas, such as climate security (Fonseca, 2014). Given this expansive reach, there is considerable scope for further research into the influence of history and memory related issues on IR, particularly in terms of academic conceptualisations, methodological approaches and relevance to policy making.
The conference organisers would therefore like to invite contributions from scholars working at the intersection of diplomacy, history, memory studies, political studies, colonial studies, and adjacent fields. We would like to discuss how memory influences IR, how various actors around the world use the past, how such uses are likely to develop in the future, and which methodologies are best suited to the study of how memory influences IR. Consequently, we will especially welcome papers that focus on new and innovative methodologies for researching the following questions: Will the growing importance of memory in IR ultimately lead to new confrontations? Given our globalised and interconnected world, is it still possible to talk of ‘domestic’ memory politics? Which images and narratives do countries and other actors adopt in their foreign memory politics? How do various actors (ab)use and appropriate historical narratives for their own purposes? How can memory diplomacy reflect or incorporate the ambiguity of the past, where every society assumes elements of both victim and perpetrator, thus is it possible to combine objective historical research and effective memory diplomacy? How can memory diplomacy support reconciliation? What is the role of various non-state actors in conducting both memory politics and public diplomacy?