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קול קורא // לכנס: קורבנות - הכרה - פוליטיקה של זכרון: מאבק על זכרון הסבל [דרזדן 09/24] דדליין=30.1.24

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Call for Papers Victimhood - Acknowledgement - Politics of Memory: Struggling over the Memory of Suffering

3-5 September 2024, Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Studies at TU Dresden

The second half of the twentieth ק century saw a change in the concept of victimhood in post-socialist and post-conflict countries. Although victims are often perceived through the prism of their trauma and passivity, attention is currently focused also on their active role in transitional justice and their social mobilization. It turns out that victims and their organizations have been playing an important role in the democratic transition and in public history and appeared on the political scene as distinct and powerful groups that managed to achieve some of their main goals, such as compensations, rehabilitations, redress and acknowledgement. Representatives of victim associations (especially former political prisoners and their offspring) have also turned into ‘guardians of memory’. Their role is to share their experience and simultaneously defend the image of the group and the association. Their main goal is not only to integrate the history of the victims and survivors of the state socialist dictatorship into broader political and national history, but to enforce their version of the past as the dominant narrative as well.

The aim of the interdisciplinary conference is to focus on victim associations in post-socialist countries in East-Central and East-Southern Europe. The conference will focus on the role that victim organizations (of political prisoners, victims of the repression of state socialism) played after 1989, what were their goals and through which activities they wanted to achieve recognition and redress. The conference aims to explore these organizations as participants in public life and the formation and maintenance of collective memory, as well as how these associations sought to emphasize and use or promote their collective memory and their interpretation of history in the political process and contribute to the democratization of society.

In recent years, academics from various disciplines have contributed to a growing body of literature on victimhood. Together, these studies analyse the concept of victimhood in different geographical and historical contexts. This conference seeks to bring together scholars from various academic disciplines (history, psychology, sociology, political science and anthropology) who examine aspects of victimhood, victim organizations, victim trauma, victim politics and transitional justice in post-socialist countries. We propose to follow three broad tracks in order to identify how victimhood was shaped and how the victims and their organizations engaged in political action to demand redress and acknowledgement. We are also interested in the consequences of the construction of victimhood in democratic transitions, both positive and negative. The major themes of this conference are:


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Hannah Arendt Institute for the Research on Totalitarianism, Helmholtzstraße, Dresden, Germany
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