Conference: "Ambivalent Legacies: Memory and Amnesia in Post-Habsburg and Post-Ottoman Cities," April 26 2017, Goettingen, Germany

Jeremy Walton's picture

Dear Colleagues,

Please find attached the official program for our upcoming conference, "Ambivalent Legacies: Memory and Amnesia in Post-Habsburg and Post-Ottoman Cities." The conference will take place this week at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Goettingen, Germany. I welcome anyone in the area to join us if you're so inclined, and please feel free to contact me ( or our program administrator, Marina Cziesielsky ( with any questions you may have.


Jeremy Walton

Research Group Leader

Empires of Memory

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity 



Ambivalent Legacies: Memory and Amnesia in Post-Habsburg and Post-Ottoman Cities


The empires that once defined the political geography of Europe are no more. One cannot meet a Prussian, Romanov, Habsburg, or Ottoman today; these dusty categories of affiliation have ceded to myriad national identities. Yet it would be mistaken to assume that Europe’s bygone empires have become mere relics of history. Imperial pasts continue to inspire nostalgia, identification, pride, anxiety, skepticism, and disdain in the present. The afterlives of empires as objects of memory exceed historical knowledge, precisely because these afterlives shape and recast the present and the future. Simultaneously, present- and future-oriented imperatives accentuate imperial pasts in selective ways, yielding new configurations of post-imperial amnesia as well as memory. Our conference brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars working on post-imperial legacies in relation to a variety of specific cities, including Vienna, Istanbul, Budapest, Sarajevo, Trieste, Thessaloniki, Zagreb, and Belgrade. Our contributors pursue the politics and cultures of memory in relation to two general, interrelated questions: What are the effects of imperial legacies on contemporary cities? and, How do present-day urban processes reshape the forms of post-imperial memory and forgetting?




Day One (Wednesday, April 26th)


9:00-10:30 Greeting, Opening Remarks, Coffee


10:30-12:30 Panel One: Cultivating Pasts


Sotirios Dimitriadis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Rediscovering the Past as Future: The Ottoman Legacy as Part of Public Discourse in Greek Macedonia


Kimberly Hart (SUNY Buffalo State), Istanbul’s Intangible Cultural Heritage as Embodied by Street Animals

Miloš Jovanović (MPI-MMG), Whitewashed Empire: Historical Narrative and Place Marketing in Vienna


Olga Orlić and Anita Sujoldzic (Institute for Anthropological Research, Zagreb), From Agram to Zagreb: the Austro-Hungarian Legacy in Tourism Discourses of the Croatian Capital


Discussant: Neena Mahadev (MPI-MMG)


12:30-13:20 Lunch (for participants)


14:00-15:30 Keynote (at Lichtenberg Kolleg): Larry Wolff (New York University), Galicia after Galicia: Phantoms and Fantasies of Remembrance


19:00 Dinner (for participants)


Day Two (Thursday, April 27th)


9:00-11:00 Panel Two: Curating Heritage


Giulia Carabelli (MPI-MMG), Coffee Culture in the Shadow of the Empire


Annika Kirbis (MPI-MMG), Weltstadt without Migrants? Navigating Post-Imperial Nostalgia and Transnational Memories in Vienna 


Emily Neumeier (Ohio State University), Mediating Memories of Empire in the Post-Imperial Museum


Zsuzsanna Varga (Central European University), “...With This Artificial Asia We Will Achieve Better Results”: The Turkish Theme Park at the Millennium Exhibition of 1896, Budapest


Discussant: Julia Moses (University of Sheffield and Georg August University of Göttingen, Institute for Sociology)


11:00-11:15 Coffee


11:15-13:15 Panel Three: Mediated Refractions


Srđan Atanasovski (Institute of Musicology SASA, Belgrade), Artists, Amateurs and Bureaucrats at Work: Sonic Inclusion and “Die [Gast]Arbeiter von Wien”


Melinda Harlov-Csortán (Hungarian ICOMOS), Sissi was Hungarian: The Role of the Habsburg Empress in the Urban Formation of Hungarian National Memory in the Capital


Irena Šentevska (University of Arts, Belgrade), Crni Gruja in Belgrade: The Early De-Ottomanization of Serbia in a TV  Sitcom


Jeremy Walton (MPI-MMG), Heroes Without Villains? The Croatian Count, the Repressed Sultan, and the Post-Imperial Fashioning of Nationalism(s)


Discussant: Patrick Eisenlohr (Georg August University of Göttingen, Centre for Modern Indian Studies)


13:15-14:00 Lunch (for participants)


14:00-16:00 Panel Four: Unsettling Histories


Gruia Badescu (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe, University of Rijeka), Cosmopolitan Heritage? Post-War Reconstruction and Imperial Memory in Sarajevo and Beirut


Fatma Müge Göçek (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), An Ottoman Legacy of Violence: The Assassination of Hrant Dink in Kurtuluş, İstanbul on 19 January 2007

Liora Halperin (University of Colorado Boulder), Making Migrant Memory: Jewish Colonists from the Habsburg and Russian Empires in Ottoman Palestine and the Ambivalence of Imperial Legacies”


Piro Rexhepi (MPI-MMG), The Politics of Postcolonial Erasure in Sarajevo


Discussant: Matthias Koenig (MPI-MMG and Georg August University of Göttingen)


16:00-16:15 Coffee


16:15-18:00 Opera Panel: Tatjana Marković (University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna), Adam Mestyan (Duke University, USA), and Larry Wolff (New York University).


Moderator: Miloš Jovanović (MPI-MMG)


19:00 Dinner (for participants)


Day Three (Friday, April 28th


9:00-11:30 Panel Five: Contested Materialities


Borut Klabjan (European University Institute / Science and Research Centre Koper), “Relocating Sissi”: The Afterlife of Habsburg Landscape in Trieste


Panagiotis Kontolaimos (National Technical University of Athens - Kaloutsiani Mosque Restoration Project), The So-Called “White Tower” and the City of Thessaloniki: A Piece of Ottoman Heritage Reclaimed


Dunja Resanović (Boğaziçi University, Department of History), From Three Ottoman Gates to Three Serbian Realms of Memory: Urbanistic and Performative Rewriting of Belgrade from 1878 until Today

Behar Sadriu (SOAS, University of London), Shrine Diplomacy: Turkey’s Quest for a Post-Kemalist Identity

Merita Zekovic, Vijećnica – The Chameleon of Sarajevo


Discussant: Michalis Moutselos (MPI-MMG)


11:30-11:45 Coffee


11:45-13:15 Plenary: Amy Mills (University of South Carolina), Making the Urban Afterlife of Empire: Memory and Cultural Geopolitics in Post- WWI Istanbul


13:15-13:45 Lunch (for participants)


13:45-15:00 Roundtable Discussion


19:00 Dinner (for participants)