Bringing the past to life: narratives, practices and spaces of memory-making 
Nevena Škrbić Alempijević (University of Zagreb)
Klavs Sedlenieks (Riga Stradins University)
The Cairns Institute, D3-149
Thursday 6 December, 9:00-10:30, 11:15-12:45 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

The panel focuses on ways in which the past is brought to life through memory-making processes. It explores contemporary and historical memory cultures in their various forms: from the historical knowledge production and narratives of the past to its material, spatial and performative evocations.

Long Abstract

In this panel we will examine the role of social memory in an age of death. In that context, memory manifests itself as an attitude towards the past that reflects contemporary circumstances and agendas. Our present is inhabited by evocations of history, materialisations of long-gone national heroes, re-enactments of past events, recreations of historic sites and objects. They are triggered by a need to bring dead bodies back to political life (Verdery 1999), in order to make sense of the current moment and to shape visions of a better future.

By focusing on the social dynamics of memory-making, we will discuss the following questions: in which ways are images of the past activated, filled with new meanings and experienced in our everyday lives? How do they legitimate, as Paul Connerton argues, the existing power relations and ideologies? Which mechanisms and networks do diverse social agents use to create, mediate and negotiate memories? What is the relationship between the memorialization processes and the register of violence and death? Can the reviving of memory open up space for social engagement and resilience, for alternative modes of being and acting?

The panel seeks to explore a diversity of strategies through which the politics and cultures of memory are brought into existence: from narratives and discursive formulations of the past, to the material, spatial, performative and embodied manifestations, which draw our attention to sensory and affectual dimensions of memory. We invite ethnographically grounded and theoretical papers that analyse those processes.

Accepted papers: