CfP "Islands of Memory" Workshop

"Islands of Memory" Workshop – 1 September 2017, Stari Grad (Hvar), Croatia

The growing interest in memory politics in Southeast Europe has contributed to many new studies about the relationship between collective remembrance and nation-building, the role of monuments and public space in defining new identities in post-socialist societies, and how commemorative practices can be used to both reinforce and challenge dominant historical narratives. Scholars have approached the topic from a variety of disciplines, including architecture, history, transitional justice, gender studies, cognitive linguistics, political science, and many others, especially in the post-Yugoslav space, where memory politics have been particularly relevant in shaping domestic and international relations. Although recent research has used both top-down and bottom-up approaches, stretching from the transnational to the local, the focus has nevertheless remained directed at examples of collective memory, which either shape national narratives or are in turn dictated by the dominant narrative.

Since borders and border regions often generate either contested narratives or collective memories which draw upon numerous cultures, we seek to analyze the impact of even more powerful borders on collective memory: either the physical borders of the sea or the metaphorical isolation of a group (or place) which create „islands of memory“. Do island societies geographically separated from the mainland have memory politics that are likewise radically separated from the dominate narratives that shape nation-building, or have memorializing practices been exported in order to ensure a national narrative? How do certain communities (religious, ethnic, sexual) preserve their „islands of memory“ when the dominant group considers their memory politics to be a threat to the prescribed version of the past? Do „islands of memory“ perpetuate ethnic conflict and tension in divided societies where various communities remain isolated within their own invented traditions?

This workshop seeks to attract scholars from various disciplines to further explore and develop the analytical concept of „islands of memory“ with the ultimate goal of preparing an edited publication. The format includes the presentation of individual research papers, but will also allow considerable time for discussion and the chance to develop some common concepts. The workshop will also include an excursion to some of Hvar's relevant sites of memory and an opportunity to present some of the conclusions to graduate students participating in the University of Graz's annual summer school. The geographic focus is on Southeast Europe and the Adriatic, but research from any part of the world will be considered.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

- Memorials and commemorative culture on islands
- Local memory vs. National memory
- Communities of remembrance that challenge dominant narratives
- Theoretical reflections on how to define „islands of memory“
- Adriatic islands during World War 2 and the Croatian War of Independence
- Dark tourism and sites of memory on islands
- Selective memory and dealing with the past in the former Yugoslavia

The organizers will provide 2 nights of accommodation and meals, but participants will need to fund their own travel arrangements. Interested participants should send a short abstract (300 words) and bio to florian.bieber@uni-graz.at and vjeranp@gmail.com by 20 June.