Heri06
The politics of memorialisation: proliferating imaginations and conflicting objectives

Convenors:
Thorsten Wettich (University of Göttingen)
Peter Jan Margry (University of Amsterdam/Meertens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
Location:
KWZ 1.701
Start time:
29 March, 2017 at 8:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel addresses the issue of how commemorations of major historical events and personalities are (inter-)nationally planned, locally realized and appropriated in everyday practice. It analyses the framing of memorials by political actors, non-governmental institutions and individual players.

Long abstract:

This panel addresses the issue of how jubilees and commemorations of major historical events and personalities are (inter-)nationally planned, but locally realized and appropriated in everyday practice. For city authorities a jubilee is often an economic factor to build upon a (mental) memory scape, allowing for memorial-related tourism to happen, creating jobs and putting itself on the (inter-) national map. Hosting an important memorial-site lifts also the prestige of a municipality and brings ways of regional, national and international ties of collaboration and endorsement, of which UNESCO heritage recognition is valued as the highest. The framing and execution of memorialization often bring up differentiation and contradiction in ideas and approaches by the involved political actors, non-governmental institutions and individual players. For example, the German memorial sites of Martin Luther function to paint the picture of a national hero of modernity, but bring also alternative local discourses, while the joint commemoration of Waterloo in 2015 resulted again in new border crossing hostilities. In the social fabric, memorialization is about the conflicting goals aspired by different types of actors in both local and transnational settings. While sites of major historical incidents might serve as mines for identity-formation on a national scale, the same places could serve as shelters of personal and communal belonging in contradiction to certain wider political ideas. The panel therefore encourages papers that address the political struggle in the field of the negotiation of memory and space.