CFP: Memory Studies special issue on 'memories of joy' (Deadline 20 March 2018)

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Call for Papers
March 22, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Oral History, Public History, History Education


This special issue seeks to challenge the dominant role of traumatic memories in memory studies. At the Memory Studies Association conference in Copenhagen in December 2017, the conference’s opening panel posed the question whether studies of memory must focus on trauma. Whereas there is little doubt that coping with traumatic pasts has crucially influenced modern societies, and thus justifiably preoccupied scholars of memory, there has also been a tendency within memory studies to overlook or background joyful memories; memories of happiness, hope, blissful enthusiasm.

This special issue of Memory Studies aims to explore the idea of memories of joy. What counts as joyful,  “good” or positive memories? What characterizes such memories? What are their roles and impact in society? May they hold useful potential for the future? How do they travel through time and across geographical space? How do they differ from memories of heroic deeds that traditionally have been used as a means to constitute the identity of a nation state? Moments of joy are not mutually exclusive with trauma, as is clear from examples such as celebrations at the end of wars, or the fall of the Berlin Wall. Thus, we may also need to adress the relationship between joy and trauma, rather than one or the other. Do we need to adjust the methodology of memory studies in order to facilitate a research perspective that lets memories of joy come into view? And what may such a methodology look like?

We invite proposals for contributions addressing these and other questions related to memories of joy. We are especially interested in proposals that combine substantial case studies with considerations of methodology or social impact of memories of joy. Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words and a short bio to Jessica Ortner ( and Tea Sindbæk Andersen ( no later than 20th of March. As we are operating on a tight schedule, final articles (6000-7000 words including notes and references) must be submitted by 1st of July, 2018.

Contact Info: 

Tea Sindbæk Andersen

Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies

University of Copenhagen

Contact Email: