189 European Memory: Universalising the Past?

Thursday, July 13, 2017: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 250 (University of Glasgow)
‘European Memory’ reveals the universalising power of memory. However, most scholars fail to exploit recent methodological innovation and to identify the impact of universalising mnemonic acts on transnational memory. This panel will argue for the importance of studying the entangledness of such universalising interpretations of the past and brings two modes of universalisation, i.e. equivalence and coordination, into dialogue.

Studying ‘European Memory’, academics have tended to reproduce the very flaws that have characterised memory research within the national frame. Responding to this bias, the panel combines a theoretically innovative approach of ‘entangled memory’ (published by the organisers in History & Theory 2014) with multi-perspective empirical studies which consider ‘European Memory’ as a discursive phenomenon. Understanding ‘European Memory’ as ‘entangled memory’ brings to the fore the conflictive nature of memory and its social embeddedness and identifies universalising modes of handling heterogeneity and diversity. In three case studies, we discuss how mnemonic practices may lose contextual references and link or even transfer to other memories in order to articulate claims of relevance on a European level.

Comparing the case studies, we present two models of universalising memory practices. First, equivalence decontextualises memories and divests them of temporal references. Actors establish equivalence by defining rules under which heterogeneous memories can be subsumed. Second, through coordination, memory actors connect different layers of interpretation that all refer to their own time and context. By rendering explicit the implicit rules of how those interpretations compete, actors open up a general standpoint of multiple temporalities.

Gregor Feindt
Discussant :
George Soroka
Made in France? the (Re-)Invention of Mai 68
Félix Krawatzek, Nuffield College, University of Oxford
Two Models of Universalising Memory Practices
Rieke Trimçev, University of Greifswald
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