Accepted Paper:

Visualizing the past: monuments and commemoration in border areas  


Kaja Sirok (University of Nova Gorica)

Paper short abstract:

Monuments express and contain »interpretations of the past«. But not all memories are uniform and the past can be - as we are going to show - constructed, /vizualized/ and reconstructed in different ways.

Paper long abstract:

Can the past be visualized? How are contested pasts imprinted in border areas?

My presentation shows the politics and the consequences of the tensions and conflicts between individual and collective memories of the population in the border towns of Gorizia (It) and Nova Gorica (Slo). In particular, it aims to understand and analyze differences in construction and narration of (contested) memory and the politics of commemorations of new national festivities in border region - Il Giorno del ricordo and Dan priključitve Primorske.

The examples will focus on the dynamics of different interpretations of the past and employment of elements of identity building, as well as on the contested feelings of people in the border area. The members of the two groups decided to accept the »memory division«, even to the point of allowing different versions of events to become part of various forms of public memory - which in many cases implies forgetting certain events and emphasize others in order to legitimize one's identity in the border area.

The analysis of the contested border memories will be focused on the impact that long-standing historic processes, as well as recent developments and events have on the construction of the other in the region and on the processes of identity building in the border area. Particular attention will be given to the »visual memory« (monuments and its symbols, the denomination of the streets...), which contributes to the consolidation of the identity in its linkage to the territory.

Panel W110
Enacting pasts and futures: memory, identity and imagination