Extended Deadline: Memory and the Making of Knowledge in the Early Modern World (31 May)

Claudia Nickel's picture

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Call for Papers
September 18, 2017 to September 22, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Intellectual History, Oral History, Research and Methodology

Keynote Speakers

  • Dr Marie Luisa Allemeyer Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
  • Professor Andrea Frisch University of Maryland, USA
  • Professor Marian Füssel Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
  • Professor Judith Pollmann Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands

Memory is now established as a dynamic and vital field of study in the humanities and social sciences. It is no longer disputed that how, why, and what individuals, communities, and societies remember is essential to under-standing their pasts and presents. A good deal of this work has understandably concentrated on contemporary history: the emergence of social history in the middle decades of the twentieth century shifted the spotlight to focus on ordinary people, and developments in medicine, psychology, and sociology produced a more sophisticated understanding of the functioning of individual and social memory. This has led to new techniques of oral history opening up a wide vista of perspectives on the recent past. But people living before the twentieth century also remembered, and this summer school aims to explore memory in the early modern period, one from which there are obviously no living witnesses, but which nevertheless left numerous traces of the politics and poetics of memory in its art, literature, and history.

Between 1500 and 1800, remembrance of the past was crucial for creating knowledge in a wide range of personal, social, and political projects, and vital contributions were made to the theory and practice of memory. Actors from across the social spectrum used both old and new media to encode, manipulate, transmit, and deploy memories. The development of the Renaissance ars memoria played an important role in new ideas about memory in early modern elite culture; at the same time, the traumas and crises of the period produced what may be termed an ars oblivia, in which legally prescribed ‘forgetting’ played a vital role in social and cultural reconstruction.

Memory and the Making of Knowledge in the Early Modern World will bring together senior scholars and junior researchers whose work addresses memory in early modern literature and history. It aims to consolidate recent advances in these fields and develop new avenues of inquiry through an intensive programme of skills training, collections-oriented excursions, and – above all – productive intellectual exchange on research topics and techniques. The Summer School will also explore how studies of memory and early modernity might shape one another in the future.

Junior (postgraduate and postdoctoral) scholars whose research touches on any aspect of memory in the early modern world are invited to participate in the Summer School. Participants will be expected to give a short (no longer than 20 mins) presentation on their research. Particular topics of interest might include (the following list is by no means exhaustive):

  • Collective, individual, communicative, and cultural memory
  • Memory in art, sculpture, architecture
  • Memory in literature, drama, poetry
  • Alternative sources of memory: material culture and cheap print
  • Early modern oral history: memoirs, testi-mony, legal sources
  • Mnemonic techniques and institutions: ars memoria, museums, libraries
  • Places of memory/lieux de mémoire
  • Memory and identity formation/elaboration: class/rank, nation, empire, religion, sex/gender, race/ethnicity
  • Memory and its function for the formation of knowledge
  • Relation of memory, historical knowledge and historiography
  • Memory and politics: Reformation, the ‘general crisis’ of the seventeenth century, Enlightenment, war, local/regional/urban politics, imperial expansion and trade
  • Memory and (early) modernity: print media, early industrialisation
  • Mediating and remediating memory: recycling and reusing memories
  • Space/place and memory: town, country, nation, empire, private/public spaces

The Summer School will be conducted in English. With generous support from the VolkswagenStiftung, we can provide return transport to Göttingen, accommodation, and breakfast/lunches for participants. Child care is available for up to four children and is provided on a first come, first served basis.

Prospective participants are requested to send the following to the organisers, Andrew Wells and Claudia Nickel, at memory2017@uni-goettingen.de by 31 May 2017:

  • 1 Page CV
  • Brief letter of motivation
  • 250-word abstract of your research

We particularly welcome applications from all individuals from under-represented groups or who may have special requirements (including, but not limited to, physical or mental disability). Such applicants are encouraged to specify any such requirements in their letter of motivation.

Further information will be available shortly at the website of the Göttingen Graduate School of the Humanities (Graduiertenschule für Geisteswissenschaften Göttingen): https://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/summer-school-memory/562570.html

Contact Info: 


Dr. Claudia Nickel, Dr. Andrew Wells

Graduiertenschule für Geisteswissenschaften Göttingen (GSGG), Universität Göttingen, Friedländer Weg 2, 37085 Göttingen, Germany

Categories: Conference
Keywords: conference