CfP: Thinking Through the Future of Memory

Aline Sierp Discussion

Call for Papers

Thinking Through the Future of Memory

Amsterdam, December 3-4, 2016

Council for European Studies’

Research Network on Transnational Memory and Identity in Europe


Memory studies is currently undergoing rapid expansion and is receiving growing recognition in academic and policy circles. However, concerns are being raised that the field’s expansion has not been matched by concomitant advances in theoretical groundwork, methodological sophistication and professional organization. At the most recent meeting of the Research Network on Transnational Memory and Identity in Europe at the annual Conference of Europeanists in Philadelphia in April 2016, members expressed both excitement at the thriving of this interdisciplinary scholarly enterprise and trepidation over its future development.

We believe that it is important to continue the conversation about the future of memory (studies) and therefore invite both existing members of the Network and other interested scholars and practitioners to participate in a conference on December 3-4, 2016 in Amsterdam. We hope to offer an opportunity to exchange ideas and network with likeminded scholars of memory and identity – especially to those who were not able to make the trip across the Atlantic for the last Conference of Europeanists.

The primary purpose of this meeting will be to think through the theoretical, methodological and professional challenges faced by memory studies as an interdisciplinary field of inquiry and practice. The overarching questions for the conference are: What is the identity of the memory studies field and how can/should we actively shape its future?

We welcome contributions in the form of papers, panels and roundtables on topics including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Which concepts and theories hold promise for the study of memory? Is a theoretical foundation for memory studies possible? Desirable?
  • What is the state of the art in memory methodology? What are valuable and/or innovative approaches to the empirical study of memory?
  • Which disciplines and fields are central to memory studies, from which can we learn more? Can there be cumulative knowledge in memory studies?
  • Are memory studies interdisciplinary? Multi-disciplinary? What do we want and how can we achieve it?
  • Are memory studies euro-centric? If so, how should this be confronted?
  • Is there enough interaction between scholars and practitioners in the field of memory studies/memory work? What are challenges of this interaction?
  • How can we conceive of professional development – individually and institutionally – in memory studies?
  • What is the social/political impact of memory studies/scholars? How does/can scholarship matter in terms of present day discourses and policy-making at national and international levels?

Rather than full-length conference papers, we are looking for shorter think pieces that will stimulate discussion. Please send abstracts for individual contributions, panels and roundtables (300 words), together with a short bio (150 words) to: Aline Sierp and Jenny Wüstenberg

In addition to lively discussions on the future of memory, our meeting will feature plenty of opportunity for networking with like-minded scholars and practitioners.

Please note that this conference will take place in cooperation with the Sixth Annual Conference of the Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies, in Amsterdam from December 1-3, 2016. The call for papers for this conference can be found here:

We encourage participants to attend both events and look forward to fruitful cross-pollination.