CALL FOR PAPERS
International conference on
IMAGE, HISTORY AND MEMORY
Warsaw, 6–8 December 2017
A project of ‘Genealogies of Memory in Central and Eastern Europe
The goal of this conference is to promote an interdisciplinary discussion of the relationships between image, history and memory. We welcome paper proposals from the fields of art history, history, sociology, cultural studies, political science and others. The papers should address images in their various roles: as witnesses to history, as means of materializing memories, as active creators of history or as producers of the contents of memory. Suggestive images can provoke historical events, just as they can influence memory. The latter role particularly affects those who did not directly witness historical events but became heirs to instances of post-memory. Thus, when members of subsequent Soviet generations ‘recalled’ the October Revolution, writes Susan Buck-Morss, what they really remembered were images from Sergei Eisenstein’s films. Thus, the arrangement of the three concepts of interest to the conference—image, history and memory—is circular rather than linear. We want to focus on the complexity of the triangular dynamics between historical narratives, their visualization and memories. These relationships are important to any effort to understand and describe interactions between history and biography, and the individual and collective processes and mechanisms of remembrance.
The conference discussion will focus on these issues from a regional perspective that will highlight questions about ways in which historical images fit into the dynamics of remembrance in Central and Eastern Europe, but they will make references to other historical, political and cultural regions of Europe and of the world.
Scholars of various disciplines are invited to submit paper proposals addressing, but not limited to, the following themes:
A. Remembrance, history, image: Theories and cognitive perspectives
Questions of relationships between image and history will concern theoretical aspects of image both as a medium of history and a figure of remembrance—a means of historical narration and the substance of remembrance in the process of acquiring identity. We believe that it will be crucial to discuss tools offered by art theory about the mechanisms with which an image functions in the mind, as well as the coexistence of the image with internalized discourse.
Panel coordinators: Mariusz Bryl, Stanisław Czekalski
B. Image and historiosophy: Artists’ reflections on history and memory
The historiosophical art of Jan Matejko remains a prominent example of an artist’s reflection on historical events and their motivating power in specific social and political contexts. Matejko’s visualizations of key moments in Polish history create a basis for a culture of historical iconography, which were repeated in history textbooks and other media of the public imagination. In this thematic section we plan to discuss various artistic endeavours in Central and Eastern Europe that focus on issues of history and identity, and also have memory as an artistic component of their theme.
Panel coordinators: Michał Haake, Łukasz Kiepuszewski
C. Images of history vs. remembrance
The subject of this thematic section will be the creation of history using images with a political purpose and manipulating memory. This includes all kinds of practices to produce influential icons of politically useful remembrance, including changes of meaning, reversals of ethical hierarchies and evaluations, and the grafting of artificial and promoted memory. For example, the societies of Central and Eastern Europe experienced such practices after the Second World War, when new ideologized versions of history were substituted for historical facts and living memories of them.
Panel coordinator: Dorota Malczewska-Pawelec
D. Monuments as images of memory
A monument, strictly speaking, is an object made from a durable material, most frequently a sculpture or a building, which is publicly exhibited in order to commemorate an event, a person, a group or an idea. The word ‘monument’ also serves
as a metaphor, i.e., cultural and civilizational achievements that are vital to a community’s identity (French: monument de l’histoire, Latin: Monumenta Germanie Historiae). The topos expressed by the Horatian phrase exegi monumentum is still alive in literary legacy. The meaning of the word ‘monument’ relates strictly to memory, as memory is semantically present within its meaning (Latin: monumentum, Polish: pomnik, Czech: památník, Slovak: pamätnik, Lithuanian: paminklas, Latvian: piemineklis, Estonian: mälestusmärk, Hungarian: emlékmű, German: Denkmal). In this thematic section, we will discuss monuments as carriers of ideologies, as placed within specific contexts of history and discourse, and determined by meanings ascribed to them in the process of social reception.
Panel coordinator: Tadeusz Żuchowski
E. Image in popular culture and the new media: Medium of memory, fabric of history
Popular culture has proven to be the most effective tool in shaping the attitudes of the general public towards its own past and in informing public remembrance. Various types of images have played and continue to play a particular role in this process, ranging from comic illustrations to historical films, the press and photo-reporting. Two important methods used to manage public perceptions of history in totalitarian societies have been abandoning the dominant modernist view about the superiority of refined high culture over mass culture and pragmatically steering historical consciousness with mass-culture tools, which were themselves influenced by American culture in both their narrative and their visual format.
Panel coordinators: Mariusz Bryl, Stanisław Czekalski
F. Film: Medium of memory, fabric of history
Film, the most effective means of shaping the public imagination and understanding of history, requires separate treatment in a discussion of the relationship between image, history and memory. Politicians and scholars have been aware of its effectiveness, which has led, on the one hand, to direct and indirect attempts at political control and, on the other, to intense scrutiny by scholars treating film as an exceptional form of writing history. Tracing the role of film in shaping historical narratives will allow the
participants to explore the broader mechanisms of steering public consciousness—not only about history but also about narratives constructed about history.
Panel coordinators: Piotr Juszkiewicz, Piotr Witek
To apply to present a paper at the conference, please send:
(a) your abstract (300 words) along with your presentation title and if possible the panel topic, as well as
(b) a short bio to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for submissions: 15 July 2017. The list of the chosen participants will be announced by the end of September 2017.
There is no fee for taking part in the conference.
Professor Wojciech Bałus (Polish Academy of Sciences); Professor Kazimierz Ilski (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań); Professor Csaba György Kiss (ENRS Academic Council); Professor Michaela Marek (Humboldt University of Berlin); Dr. Joanna Wawrzyniak (University of Warsaw)
Professor Piotr Juszkiewicz (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)
Professor Mariusz Bryl, Professor Stanisław Czekalski, Dr. hab. Michał Haake, Dr. hab. Łukasz Kiepuszewski, Dr. hab. Dorota Malczewska-Pawelec, Dr. Małgorzata Pakier (ENRS), Professor Piotr Witek, Professor Tadeusz Żuchowski
European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS); Institute of Arts History, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań; History Department, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań; Department of Art and Visual History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Humboldt University of Berlin; Social Memory Laboratory, Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw; The Committee on Art Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences
European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS)