This workshop welcomes papers that explore the connection between remembering and representing (post)communist cities in transatlantic perspective.
Workshop conveners: Dana Mihailescu, Roxana Oltean, Mihaela Precup (University of Bucharest) (workshop organized as part of PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-0051 project Intergenerational Dynamics of Vulnerability in American Trauma Narratives, project no. 173/2015 funded by UEFISCDI). The workshop will be organized within ACED-18, the 18th Annual Conference of the English Department, University of Bucharest, Romania, 2-4 June 2016.
The connection between memory and the city has been most famously explored by Pierre Nora’s collection Lieux de mémoire/Realms of Memory (1984, 1989), where he diagnosed the death of “authentic memory” and its replacement in the urban space with sites such as memorials, museums, and other visual representations that, together with various commemoration practices, regulate national life frames (Judith Butler). Additionally, Andreas Huyssen’s Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory (Stanford University Press, 2003) emphasized the high stakes of urban spaces and media as material palimpsests offering “traces of the historical past in the present.” More recently, identifying specific coordinates of the connection between memory and the (post)communist city in contemporary societies has been an increasing focus of international scholarship and public attention. The topic has been competently broached in Augusta Dimou, Maria Todorova, and Stefan Troebst’s edited volume Remembering Communism. Private and Public Recollections of Lived Experience in Southeast Europe (CEU Press, 2014), which records the dynamic processes of memory practices that mirror ongoing developments of private and public memories and identities in Southeast Europe by concentrating on the post-Stalinist era in Bulgaria and Romania, with occasional references to Poland and the GDR. Memory and Political Change, a collection of essays edited by Aleida Assmann and Linda Shortt (Palgrave 2012) examines mediated representations of the past during transitional historical periods. The significance of considering (post)communist sites in transatlantic perspective has gained momentum especially thanks to Andaluna Borcila’s American Representations of Post-Communism: Television, Travel Sites, and Post-Cold War Narratives (Routledge, 2014), which explores American ways of mapping the disintegration of communism and U.S. narratives articulated around post-communist sites and subjects in television news broadcasts, travel guides, and return narratives by East European immigrants to the US.
Our workshop means to contribute to this ongoing conversation by exploring the innovative insights cultural studies scholars can gain from considering (post)communist sites in connection to intergenerational (traumatic) memories in transatlantic perspective.
We particularly welcome proposals addressing the following significant loose ends in need of scholarly attention (applied to literature, film, popular culture, visual culture, media etc.):
- the relationship between remembering and representing (post)communist cities;
- the transmission of memory and historical knowledge;
- the impact of vulnerability, generationality, and various media on the production and consumption of (post)communist city memories.
Please submit an abstract of no more than 200 words, together with a biographical background of 50-100 words by February 15, 2016 to Dana Mihailescu (email@example.com).
Conference fee: 50 euro or 200 lei (covering lunches and refreshments during the conference, but not evening meals)
Dana Mihailescu (University of Bucharest)