30 Years after the End of Communist Regimes: New Perspectives on the Art and Politics of Memory

Maria Alina Asavei Discussion
September 14, 2020
Czech Republic

The end of communist regimes triggered a series of convoluted memory wars on all sides of the political spectrum. To various degrees, the politics of memory impacted the memory cultures of populously diverse regions around the globe.  While state-sponsored museums and memorials received consistent attention in academic studies dedicated to these topics, the cultural (artistic) renderings are less addressed.   This workshop’s main aim is to disentangle the multifarious materializations of cultural (artistic) memory in the post-1990s time frame. As cultural production after the collapse of the communist regimes reveals, there are significant differences both in the form and content of recalling the recent past. Some art pieces and cultural productions follow the official politics of memory, while others contest, complement or rectify what the official institutions of remembrance enforce as the “memory of communism.” While there are certain similarities in how the artists and cultural producers from the region remember communism, there are likewise differences in the manner in which they address it. While the central topic of cultural memory has been the de-communization and fading away of the past in some countries, the contemporary culture of remembrance in others highlights the fact that the citizens have not moved forward since 1991. Thus, this workshop’s main aim is to unravel the similarities but also the differences – and even incompatibilities – of the cultural materializations of the memory of communism in the former Eastern bloc.  In addition, we aim to explore the phenomenon of nostalgia that was acquired in Eastern Europe after the 1990s with almost exclusively negative connotations. Over time, new theoretical and memory studies frameworks were advanced, particularly in that nostalgia was no longer utterly understood in inherently negative terms as restorative, unhealthy, a “defect of memory” or potentially dangerous for democracy and its well-being. We welcome contributions from scholars of memory studies, arts & politics, cultural studies, political science and contemporary history. The speakers are expected to deliver a 20-minute presentation.


Deadline for submitting abstracts 30 August 2020

Format: Virtual workshop

Contact: Maria Alina Asavei maria.asavei@fsv.cuni.cz


This workshop is organized by the Institute of International Studies (Charles University, Prague), PRIMUS/HUM/12 research project Beyond the Hegemonic Narratives and Myths, (2017-2021) and the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Politics, Arts, Memory and Society (PolArt) of the Department of Political Science, University of Bucharest as a part of the project TE “Transregional remembrance of dictatorships: restoring human dignity through artistic practices in South America and Eastern Europe” (PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-0346, UEFISCDI).

Contact Info: 

Maria Alina Asavei, Assistant Preofessor at the Institute of International Studies, Charles University

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