Memories of Loss, Dreams of Solidarity
The University of Edinburgh is hosting an interdisciplinary international conference entitled Memories of Loss, Dreams of Solidarity. The conference examines intricate processes of political memory-formation in the wake of systemic political violence. It invites reflection on competing national mythologies, their affective modalities, genres and material instantiations. We also welcome analyses of critical artistic interventions, in particular in relation to their ability to reveal the ambiguities and complexities of political violence and to sketch images of alternative futures. The goal is to displace the predominant victim-perpetrator binary, challenge linear political visions of transcending the past and nurture visions of solidarity that remain deeply anchored in the murky terrain of past complicities and resistances. We aim to bring together perspectives from political theory, memory studies, art, history, transitional justice, literature and film to interrogate the risks and potentials involved in remembering histories of violence and loss.
- Emily Beausoleil, Victoria University
- Vikki Bell, Godsmith, University of London
- Mihaela Czobor-Lupp, Carleton College
- Hans Lauge Hansen, Aarhus University
- Melissa Steyn, University of Witwatersrand
- Joseph R. Winters, Duke University
We invite papers that address, but are not limited to, the following questions:
- What role can imagination play in problematising the memorialisation of political violence?
- How does nostalgia factor in processes of memorialisation? Is nostalgia a necessarily conservative force?
- What is the political value of melancholia and disappointment in relation to revealing the residual effects of systemic violence?
- What horizons of political hope are opened up by various collective reactions to past violence?
- Can painful pasts provide sources for utopian dreaming?
- What are the normative implications of understanding violent pasts in terms of complicity and responsibility?
- Can artistic production supplement – or even surpass – theory in its power to illuminate the intricate dynamics of societal involvement in political violence?
- How can we distinguish between disclosive and obscuring artistic genres and practices of memorialising the murky realities of political conflict?
- What are unconventional repositories of dissident political memories, how can we identify them, and what role can these play in problematising official narratives of the past?
- How does location and the materiality of the medium affect the political significance of memory and its potential to produce more nuanced understandings of systemic violence?
- What happens, politically, culturally and aesthetically, when a former opposed memory becomes a new official memory? How is it possible, if at all, for critical memory to maintain its integrity when co-opted by the state or the cultural industry?
- On the basis of what sources can we articulate visions of solidarity in the wake of political struggles?