August 22, 2007

Academic Conference: Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, Identity


28th Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies, Fordham University, New York City: March 29-30, 2008

Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image and Identity

Plenary speakers: Jonathan Riley-Smith (Cambridge).
Jaroslav Folda (UNC-Chapel Hill), and Geraldine Heng (UTexas-Austin)

For more information visit:

Send an abstract and cover letter with contact details by October 20, 2007 to Crusades Conference Committee at,or fax to (718) 817-3987, or mail to Center for Medieval Studies, Fordham University, FMH 405B, Bronx, NY 10458.

Conference Abstract

Few events in European history generated as many textual, artistic, and intellectual responses as the conquest of Jerusalem by the armies of the First Crusade in 1099. This expedition, and those that followed it, were resonant events which became inscribed in the collective memory of communities directly or indirectly affected by the crusades, whether in Europe, Byzantium, North Africa, or the Near East.

In order to spotlight new directions in the study of the crusades and the perception of the past in medieval societies, the Center for Medieval Studies invites scholars of all disciplines to participate in a conference to be held at Fordham University on March 29-30, 2008. We welcome proposals for papers (twenty minutes in length) on any topic relating to how the crusades were remembered. Topics might include, but are not limited to: (1) the memorialization (or suppression) of individuals or events associated with the crusades by contemporary observers and subsequent generations; (2) the negotiation and production of crusading images and memories; and (3) the role of these images and memories in shaping both the crusading movement itself and the identities of communities affected by crusading

We look forward to joining with like-minded scholars from across the field of medieval studies in what promises to be a very lively academic discussion on this important subject.

February 02, 2007

Memory, Trauma & Violence in South Asia

Conference Stream on ‘Memory, Trauma and Violence in South Asia’ at the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS) Annual Conference and AGM, St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, UK, 28-30 March, 2007.

See conference link at:

For more information, contact panel organizers, Guari Raje and Srila Roy:

January 11, 2007

Centre for Popular Memory

Centre for Popular Memory

Here is a research centre at the University of Cape Town, South Africa that readers will find of interest.

Below is an excerpt from their web-site, which can be found by visiting:

The Centre for Popular Memory(CPM) records peoples’ stories.

Our four main areas are:

*Researching projects about popular memories and identities.

*Training students in memory studies, oral history and methodology.

*Archiving oral, visual and audio-visual forms of memory.

*Disseminating memories and stories to various audiences.

The Centre is based at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. We focus our activities both on and off campus and we are committed to using oral history, visual history and digital archiving to contribute to social development and democratization.

Why Popular Memory?

People have the right to be seen, heard and remembered. For marginalised individuals and groups who have felt the pain and the joys of the past these needs tend to be acute. Storytelling through various media can play a small but significant part in meeting these needs.

We believe that the term ‘popular memory’ encompasses individual and collective forms of memory such as community, politics, culture, family and gendered memories. We are not an exclusive Centre and we acknowledge that there are different sites of popular memory throughout the African continent. Given that memories are especially shaped and conserved by relationships between people, we aim to facilitate dialogues across generations and sites of popular memory.

August 31, 2006

The Memory Experience BBC Radio 4

The Memory Experience BBC Radio 4

The Memory Experience is a new series of programmes all about memory that is currently being broadcast weekly on BBC Radio 4. Follow this link to listen and learn more about The Memory Experience:
Hit tip to Nat Smith for this link.

About The Memory Experience
Our memories define who we are
Radio 4’s Memory Experience will be the network’s largest season in 2006, encompassing science, documentary, drama, comedy, entertainment and history programmes, along with a major online site, a survey and a memory test. It’s a chance to get to know how well your own memory works as well as share your memories with others.

As a forerunner to the season, visitors to can take the memory challenge. The challenges include: remembering sequences of numbers; spotting differences between images; replicating patterns and remembering everyday objects. The test will collect data for Professor Robert Logie at the University of Edinburgh to ascertain how memory is affected by lifestyle, location, age and sex.

As part of the Memory Experience, the Share section of this site, together with the Leeds Memory Group, launches an ambitious online survey to explore our national identity by collecting and sharing autobiographical memories from the public. The survey – the largest ever to look at the nation’s memories – will run till early 2007.

Professor Martin Conway of Leeds University will be keeping us up to date with his findings and at the end of the survey there will be a run of programmes analysing the results of the experiment and reflecting the public events listeners have nominated as their key memories for each generation.

There will also be a one-off BBC1 programme, How To Improve Your Memory, on 9 August as part of the Memory Experience.

June 14, 2006

New Journal – Memory Studies


Memory Studies will examine the social, cultural, political and technological shifts affecting how, what and why individuals, groups and societies remember. The Journal will probe and challenge proliferating public and academic discourses on the nature, forms and consequences of memory in the contemporary era and will provide paradigmatic strength and direction to the emerging field.

Areas of dialogue and debate will include:

– everyday remembering

– social, collective and public memory

– media, mechanisms, archive and amnesia

– biography and history

– schema and narrative

– cosmopolitanism and globalization

– cultural memory and heritage

– catastrophe and trauma

– nation and nostalgia

– oral history and the culture of the witness – the politics of identity.

Electronic Access:

Memory Studies will be available electronically on SAGE Journals Online at

See here for free online trial to Volume 1.

June 13, 2006

Rembering Revolution



The memory of violence that I am going to explore in this paper raises some fundamental questions about what falls under the category of violence – do all forms of violence acquire the same symbolic status when recognized as violence? What counts as violence and what, on the other hand, is rendered invisible or unnameable as violence?

Revolutionary movements (such as the one my research is on) mirror a wider politics of naming violence, which legitimates certain kinds of violence while rendering others invisible. Much like the state, revolutionary movements confer legitimacy upon their own acts of militancy, thereby effacing violence in the rhetoric of liberation. In the face of the ‘extraordinary’ violence of armed struggle around which cultural memory is woven, forms of violence that fall outside a totalizing category of ‘political terror’ are also rendered invisible. Within progressive revolutionary politics world over, stories of internal strife and oppression have often been perceived as a threat to internal political solidarity and have thus been misrecognised, denied, or ‘willfully forgotten’ (Das 1995). These forms of violence, locatable in the politics of everyday life, often threaten the codes of internal solidarity and are subject not simply to forgetting but to active repression. Women, the bearers of tradition, invariably emerge as the custodians of oppositional or ‘risky’ memories that require disciplining. Placed upon a continuum of violence, forms of regularized and cumulative violence that are internal to a political community occupy the lowest position in terms of visibility and social recognition.

In this paper, I want to focus on the ways in which violence is structured in the memory of one such radical movement – the late 1960s Naxalbari andolan/movement in Bengal. In so doing, I explore how some forms of violence are more easily remembered, grieved, or even valorized than others, at the level of the individual and a culture, and the gendered dynamics of such forms of remembrance. For those of you who don’t know, the Naxalbari andolan began as a peasant uprising in northern West Bengal in 1967, led by a dissident group of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Members of this group and their sympathizers came to be known as Naxalites. The Naxalites declared a ‘people’s war’ against the Indian state structured on the Maoist model of protracted armed struggle. Armed with a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book, middle–class students, who formed a wide base for the movement, left the city in order to ‘integrate’ with the peasantry and become ‘de–classed’.2 The political line of khatam or the individual annihilation of ‘class enemies’, first instigated against landowners in rural areas, escalated into what has often been referred to as an orgy of violence. Small guerrilla units primarily of men indiscriminately killed anyone from traffic policemen to local schoolteachers as representatives of the state. The movement was finally crushed in 1971 under severe state repression and partly due to the political misgivings of the Party. Stories of young idealist men being brutally tortured and shot by the police have been the most sustained component of the Naxalbari legacy. Although contemporary Naxalite and Maoist groups operate in other parts of India, Bengal has never seen a resurgence of Naxalite violence after the events of the 1960s–70s. Yet this movement forms an intricate thread of the lived memory of the city of Calcutta, and continues to be one of its dominant legends.

The larger project, on which this paper is based, I should mention, concentrates on the urban experience of the movement, drawing on the narratives of middle–class men and women activists, and ‘official’ and popular ‘sites of memory’. I will not go into details about sources or methodology here; we can always talk about these later.

I shall begin with the memory of ‘revolutionary violence’, key to the formation and persistence of an imaginary community of martyrs and heroes. The official memory of the movement, including the writings of its key ideologue, Charu Mazumdar, is, on the whole, fairly conventional in its propagandist overtones and revolutionary fervour. The rhetorical and narrative strategies that it deploys scripts a predictable tale about the necessity of violence, the inevitability of victory, and an inauguration of the proverbial ‘new’ (man, age, nation). The consolidation of Naxalite violence as a righteous, revolutionary form of ‘good’ violence split–off from the ‘bad’ violence of the enemy is accomplished within this war–like logic of necessity. What makes revolutionary violence legitimate is the illegitimate violence of the Other, primarily the state. The state, as the only agency that can legitimately deploy violence (c.f. Weber) is, for the Naxalites (as for most radical groups), criminalized. Its use of violence is rendered unjust, illegitimate, and immoral. This is the fundamental discursive strategy that the revolutionary employs to justify his acts of violence as against those of the anti–hero who is reviled as contemptuous, unjust, and criminal. On the other hand, the violence of the hero is a locus of positive attributes – of heroic, sacrificial action, of a vision of a just and egalitarian future. The violence of the revolutionary is thus shorn of all its horror, and presented, within historiography, as ‘infantile adventurism’, and within the community, as idiomatic martyrdom. It is memorialized, indeed idealized as a form of ‘good’ violence, split–off from those characteristics that are projected onto a denigrated other, namely the state. These twin processes of idealizing the self and demonizing the other lie at the heart of a triumphant fantasy of revolutionary class struggle. They enable, as Dawson (drawing upon Melanie Klein) has noted of narratives of nationalism, a coding of ‘our’ atrocities as righteous and divinely sanctioned whilst ‘theirs’ are named as atrocities alone (1994:37).

What I am suggesting here is that the discursive transformation of violence into ‘revolutionary violence’ enables a disavowal of the violence of the self, and its projection onto an Other. The psychic operation of projection whereby unwanted feelings are purged from the self and placed upon others enables one to hurt the other with impunity. The imagining of revolution and its heroes enables, in this manner, a coercive misrecognition of the violence of the self. More significantly, it also enables a denial of one’s own pain which is recast in heroic light. At the heart of a romantic narrative of revolution is an emphasis on its heroic aspects and a concomitant denial of its less exciting, less glorious, and harsher realities. When state repression was at it height in 1970s, Charu Mazumdar called for more martyrs to come forward in a public valorization of revolutionary violence. His unflinching faith in ‘our’ victory and ‘their’ losses even when the ground reality was appallingly different can be read as a defensive strategy to counter the real threat of defeat and destruction. A story of romantic revolution could not afford to include unsettling images of betrayal, torture, and death that had become a daily occurrence in the life of the movement from the mid–1970s. As Dawson explains in relation to war narratives, the phantasy of war as romantic adventure provides a degree of psychic defence in the face of the tensions and terrors of real–life combat. In the context of Naxalbari, narratives of glorious struggle and sacrifice for the cause enable a denial of feelings of fear, trauma, and anxiety in the face of possible death.

The clearest instance of such a denial can be seen in the present–day commemoration of state repression undertaken by ex–activists and various splinter groups who broadly align to Maoist politics. Such a splintered political community commemorates the repression of the 1970s as a testament to the brutality of the state, and to the valour of those who were martyred in its wake. In public acts of commemoration and in ‘official’ speech, the brutality of violence and death is transformed into glorious martyrdom. However, in accepting the myth of self–sacrifice rather than the reality of death, remembrance becomes a way of forgetting violence, and of domesticating trauma. Such a ‘sacrificial memory’ is endemic to the myth of the nation–state in which death in war is, for instance, reinscribed as a glorious sacrifice to the nation (Edkins 2003). It is through such a sacrificial memory that the state co–opts the bodies of dead soldiers, and produces closure. These modes of public remembrance have significant implications for the possibility of individual mourning.

In the context of Naxalbari, practices of commemorating the dead as martyrs reinforce an imagined community held together by a comforting collective fantasy of revolution. In providing us with a romantic tale of sacrifice for the greater good, official and popular forms of memory diffuse past trauma. The possibility of mourning the individual is also one that is necessarily delayed or even lost as the myth of the revolution takes precedence over ‘the question of personal loss and bereavement’ (Edkins 2003:94). Individual pain is left unacknowledged; individual life itself can no longer be mourned. The human cost of self–sacrifice is also obliterated from collective memory.

Thus far, I have suggested that the valorization of ‘revolutionary violence’ in official discourse relies upon a disavowal of the violence exercised by the self on the other, and equally, a denial of one’s own wounded subjectivity. Beyond this, the public valorization of violence is intimately linked to the lack of recognition or to the ‘forgetting’ of the violence that was internal to the revolutionary community – those ‘little violences’ and acts of betrayal that structured everyday relationships within the movement. From my interviews with male and female activists, it was possible to map a broad taxonomy of violence – everyday, political, sexual, ‘public’ and ‘private’ – as structuring the everyday life of activists within the movement, especially in the space of the underground where the revolutionaries took ‘shelter’ in the homes of peasants, workers, or middle–class sympathizers of the Party. It was within such a space of refuge and safety that female activists, in particular, faced multiple forms of threat and not at the hands of the enemy alone. These ranged from routinised acts of violence and interpersonal aggression experienced in the shelter, to acts of male sexual violence at the hands of one’s comrades, to the political betrayals that contributed, in no small measure, to the eventual dissolution of the andolan. In women’s narratives of everyday life in the underground, the ‘spectacular’ violence of the state and of armed resistance disappears in the face of a daily, unspectacular gendered vulnerability.

At the same time, the research overwhelmingly demonstrates how these memories of violence and betrayal could not always be articulated as testimony, not at the time of the movement, and crucially, not even today. Instead, they were and continue to be articulated in the context of a normative silence; subject to collective denial, misrecognition, and ‘forgetting’. These forms of interpersonal and everyday violence (that were deeply gendered) are thus rendered invisible in the cultural memory of Naxalbari; they do not ultimately ‘count’ as violence. Acts of sexual violence committed against women activists by male comrades/sympathisers are paradigmatic of a form of ‘bad’ violence that demands ‘forgetting’. The inability to publicly testify to sexual violence lies, for me, at the heart of the cultural practices of remembering Naxalbari that glorify some forms of violence while eliding (and normalizing) the experience of others.
I use the term sexual violence to capture the range of abuses and threats that women faced both as women and as sexual objects within the political field. These included acts of physical assault, rape, acts that stopped short of rape, unwanted gestures, sexually inflected and sexist comments, and domestic abuse. The spaces of violence, for women, were not confined to the ‘public’ domain of political conflict but included normatively ‘safe’ spaces of shelter and refuge. The threat of sexual violence can be located precisely at the interface of these spaces – the ‘private space’ of the underground/shelter and the ‘public’ space of armed struggle. At the same time, the very ‘extraordinariness’ of political conflict (including the construct of a rapist state) transformed the space of the underground (and the shelter) into one of safety, thereby rendering invisible the structures of power and vulnerability that constituted these spaces.

Krishna Bandyopadhya (2001) and Supriya Sanyal’s (2001) short published memoirs of the movement detail the particular forms of gendered violence that structures their experience of underground life. Other women that I interviewed equally bore witness to the sexual and domestic abuse suffered at the hands of male peasants, Party leaders, and even ‘political’ husbands. Several of these testimonies to violence (including published ones) are, however, voiced in the context of a coercive silence. This is demonstrated by the emphatic need of most of these women to remain anonymous. The need for anonymity signals, for me, the failure of an oppositional story of the movement that can validate (rather than abject) the ambiguities, politics, and traumas of women’s lived experience. It also indicates that an affective community of listeners who can bear witness to women’s experiences of wounding has perhaps not come into being, in the thirty years that have passed since the dissolution of the movement. These thirty years have seen the flourishing of several alternative discourses and speech communities, including feminism that can potentially re–write the past. Several ex–Naxalite women are, in fact, members of these more recent communities, and have taken up a feminist vocabulary to critique the gender blindness and sexism of the radical left. Krishna is, for instance, one of the few women who has publicly condemned male sexual violence in writing and in speech (see Bandyopadhya 2001). At the same time, Krishna has been accused, even by other women activists, of trying to ‘destroy’ the image of the movement by doing so.

Female testimony to sexism and sexual violence becomes, in present times, an act of betrayal. It is perceived as a threat to an imagined political community, and thus discouraged from public discourse. In the face of the movement’s dissolution, ‘the discourse of unity [has become] even more compelling, if not purely coercive’, in the name of which internal conflicts and betrayals are silenced (Motsemme 2002:649). It is thus not surprising that even when women tell a different, often traumatic story of the past, they (must) remain anonymous. Just as the privileging of a triumphant narrative of the movement mitigates the possibility of individual mourning with regard to political violence, it also forecloses the possibility of identifying acts of betrayal and violence that were internal to the community. The memory of sexual violence is a particularly risky memory that blurs absolute moral distinctions between victim (the movement) and perpetrator (the state) in moving closer to Primo Levi’s (1988) conception of a ‘grey zone’, a sphere of moral ambiguity in which the revolutionary becomes a coward.

The collective repudiation/misrecognition of sexual violence can, thus, be fairly straightforwardly linked to the repressive nature of political cultures that silence stories of internal strife and coercion. For me, the more interesting and difficult question throughout this research was: how and why women themselves were invested in these acts of misrecognition/denial, even against their own experience of abuse. Women, my research suggests, routinely disassociated themselves from sexual victimization, downplayed, disavowed, and denied male sexual violence, defending the Party against accusations of complicity. Although time prevents me from presenting some of these narratives, I want to finish by raising the following question: how can we understand women’s investments in not naming violence, even while bearing testimony to acts of abuse as some of the women I interviewed have? This question raises larger issues to do with the politics of subjectivity, and its relation to cultural practices of memory and forgetting.

One way of doing so (as suggested by feminists; see Kelly 1988) would be to recognize denial and contradiction as part of a coping strategy in the face of a traumatic past. Feminists have also suggested how women’s acts of denying or minimizing abuse can be seen as a form of resistance to a discourse of victimology, generally understood to be profoundly disempowering. The associated risk is that of rendering violence against women invisible or even normalizing male sexual violence (Jackson 2001).

Another way, in the context of the movement, would be to situate women’s repudiations of sexual violence in their continuing identifications with, and investments in fantasies of heroic selfhood; and the attendant costs of these forms of identification. Identifications, we know from psychoanalytic and poststructuralist theories, are multiple and contestatory, and our identifications always entail the loss of alternative selves that are disavowed for the sake of fashioning a coherent and unitary self. Identities are thus produced in and through practices of repudiation and abjection, and even through a disidentification with or a ‘forgetting’ of certain pasts. What is forgotten is not simply abandoned or lost but is the means through which subjectivity is itself produced. Subjectivities are thus constituted as much through forgetting as they are through remembering.

A fantasy of glorious revolution offered women powerful points of identification in idealized images of heroic resistance. The ‘taking up’ of such subject–positions entailed, however, the active and affective disidentification and disavowal of certain experiences, especially those that were rooted in more fragmentary and vulnerable aspects of the self. These experiences were abjected or expelled from the borders of a normative self, given the threat they posed to its coherency. The abject, for women, included that which was coded as feminine within primarily male fantasies of heroic self–sacrifice. However, sexual violence disrupted individual women’s identifications with masculine fantasies of class struggle and heroic martyrdom by reinscribing feminine otherness, and together with it, feelings of acute vulnerability. As I have argued in more detail elsewhere (Roy, work in progress) the threat of sexual violence sharply underscores the gendered limitations of masculine cultural imageries that are structured through the very repudiation of the feminine and a distancing from the domestic.

In women’s narratives, an identification with a triumphant narrative of heroic resistance thus entails a loss of alternative identifications including the possibility of identifying oneself as a wounded subject or as a subject in pain. The repeated repudiation of one’s own wounding (in sexual violence) is the cost of articulating oneself in the (masculine) image of the self–abnegating martyr, rooted in an imagined community of heroes and revolutionaries. In the context of Naxalbari, identification with ‘good’ revolutionary violence seems to foreclose the possibility of identifying both the violence of the self, and its fragility under trauma. The politics of identification/disidentification are particularly evident in the case of sexual violence, resolutely borne by women.

While the trauma that women suffered within the community is actively repressed, their victimization at the hands of the state finds ready appropriation by a collective discourse of political injury. The ‘untellability’ of stories of sexual violence suffered within the revolutionary community must then be linked to the ways in which stories of state terror (including rape) have become highly tellable, and have assumed a preeminent role in the cultural memory of Naxalbari. However, this ‘tellability’ of women’s experience of political violence in testimony does not guarantee the alleviation of individual pain. On the contrary, radical political movements often rely upon an instrumental usage of female suffering in order to construct an imagined political community. To return to one of the earlier points made by this paper, an ‘official’ narrative of heroic self–sacrifice can marginalize subjective experiences of wounding even as it renders them visible by remaining tied to the demands of political solidarity and not to the need for individual mourning.

This paper’s discussion on revolutionary and counter–revolutionary, legitimate and illegitimate, and ‘good’ and ‘bad’ violence should make it clear that not all events or experiences come under the sign of violence; and what is and is not violence, as Jeganathan (2000:64) usefully reminds us, is always governed by politics. In the case of Naxalbari, I have shown how certain experiences of pain and violence are valorised (and thereby domesticated) while others remain shrouded in silence, subject to collective disavowal and constant repudiation. Some forms of violence become constitutive of a heroic identity while others are purged for the sake of living with a damaged subjectivity. These reflections raise more fundamental questions that pertain to what ‘counts’ as violence within oppositional political cultures, and how the idealizing of some forms of violence rest upon the ‘forgetting’ of others, the burden of which is invariably borne by women. Questions such as these have, I believe, been inadequately posed and engaged with within the feminist critique of the radical left, at least in India. A feminist reappraisal of the revolutionary left will have to grapple seriously with the ways in which transformative politics rely on certain abject zones and silenced spaces in order to compose a utopic future. The compulsion to invest in such a future should not blind us, as feminists, to its cost.

*References *
Bandopadhyay, Krishna (2001) ‘Abirata Larai’, Khonj Ekhon, No I. May

Das, Veena (1995) Critical events: an anthropological perspective on contemporary India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press

Dasgupta, Rajarshi. (2003) Marxism and the Middle Class Intelligentsia: Culture and Politics in Bengal 1920s–1950s, Unpublished D.Phil Thesis: Oxford University.

Dawson Dawson, Graham (1994) Soldier heroes: British adventure, Empire and the imagining of masculinity, London: Routledge

Edkins, Jenny (2003) Trauma and the memory of politics, Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press

Jackson, Sue (2001) ‘Happily Never After: Young Women’s Stories of Abuse in Heterosexual Love Relationships’, Feminism & Psychology, 11(3): 305–321

Jeganathan, Pradeep (2000) ‘A space for violence’ in Partha Chatterjee and Pradeep Jeganathan (eds.) Community, Gender and Violence: Subaltern Studies XI, New Delhi: Permanent Black

Kelly, Liz (1988) Surviving sexual violence, Cambridge: Polity

Levi, Primo (1998) The drowned and the saved, tr. Raymond Rosenthal, London: Joseph

Motsemme, Nthabiseng (2002) ‘Gendered Experiences of Blackness in Post–apartheid South Africa’, Social Identities, 8 (4): 647–673

Sanyal, Supriya (2001) Biplaber Sondhane ek Sadharon Meye, Monthon Patrika, November–December

Weber, Max (2002) ‘Politics as a Vocation ’in Catherine Besteman (ed.) (ed.) Violence: a reader, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

1 Draft of paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the AAS at San Francisco, 6th April 2006. Comments welcome but please don’t cite without author’s permission.
2 The idea of ‘declassing’ the self in order to revoke the ideological distance between the ‘intellectual’ and the masses has a long–standing tradition in middle–class Bengali Marxist politics. Becoming ‘de–classed’ meant, for the bhadralok Marxist, the sacrifice of customary material privileges and aspirations, beginning with the abandonment of domestic life and responsibilities. See Dasgupta 2003.

Biographical note:

Srila Roy is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick where she teaches on gender/sociology. Her PhD research explores issues of cultural memory, gender and violence in relation to south Asia. Her work is forthcoming in Feminist Review.

Telling Stories: Theories & Criticism

Telling Stories: Theories and Criticism
20 April 2007
University of Loughborough, UK


Deadline for Abstracts: 31 July 2006

New modes of critical writing are challenging conventional expectations of meaning and objectivity through narrative/counter–narrative, authorial presence, style, language, and rhetoric. This development is also present in the visual arts. Writings, which offer alternative forms to synthesis, and the linear and conclusive, challenge the boundaries between theory and literature and between the rational and subjective. Speakers are invited to explore the performative exchange across verbal and experiential disciplines.

This conference forms part of a series that will examine the manner and structure of narration across a range of contemporary practices (e.g. art object, film, photography, criticism). Keynote speakers include:

  • Martha Buskirk (Montserrat College of Art)
  • Yve Lomax (Royal College of Art)
  • Jane Rendell (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL)
  • John Kear (University of Kent)

Proposals for 20 minute papers / presentations based on new research (with a view to publication) are now invited

Contact: Jane Tormey
tel +44 (0)1509 228966
Contemporary Art Theory Research Group, Loughborough University School of Art & Design, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU

(Check the event website for latest details.)

June 02, 2006

Collective Memory & the Uses of the Past: an Interdisciplinary Conference

Collective memory and the uses of the past: an interdisciplinary conference
Date: 7 – 9 July 2006

Description: Proposed papers or panels are invited for this interdisciplinary conference which deals with social memory; literacy and oral culture; memory and material culture; memory and gender; custom and tradition; the representation of the past; remembrance and commemoration; war, trauma and memory; memory and landscape; oral history and memory; myth, folklore and legend; memory and political identity; memory and social class; peasant memory; antiquarianism and the sense of the past; the politics of history teaching.


Conference organisers: Andy Wood and Nicola Whyte

Venue: University of East Anglia

Contact: Andy Wood


Address: School of History, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ

Tel: (+44) (0)1603 592666

Fax: (+44) (0)1603 593519

Deadlines: submission of papers (call for papers): proposals for papers by 31 October 2005; registration for conference place: March 2006

February 09, 2006

Cultural Memory Seminar

Cultural Memory Seminar 2005-06

Saturdays 11.00 am-4.00pm

Organizers: Richard Crownshaw (Goldsmith's, London; richard.crownshaw and Carrie Hamilton (; and Susannah Radstone (University of East London; from January 2006
Organised jointly by the IGRS and the Raphael Samuel Centre, University of East London

This seminar builds on the programme for the Institute’s MA in Cultural Memory. It aims to bring together students, researchers, academics and cultural practitioners in order to share ongoing research and broaden horizons. In particular it aims to provide the impetus and models for work across national and disciplinary boundaries.

In 2005–06, the seminar will hold three meetings: 3 December 2005 Revisiting National Memories; 18 February 2006 'Revisiting' Holocaust memory (see below for programme) and on 13 May 2006 (topic to be confirmed).

18 February 2006 : 'Revisiting' Holocaust memory


This seminar is organised in conjunction with the Universities of Salford and Manchester.
Chair: Rick Crownshaw (Goldsmiths College)

11:00 – Bob Eaglestone (Royal Holloway), "Rethinking perpetrator testimony"
12:15 – Lunch (own arrangements)
1:30 – Sue Vice (University of Sheffield), "False Testimony"
2:30 – Anthony Rowland (University of Salford), "Tadeusz Borowski and the Anti-lyric"
3:30 – Discussion
4:15 – Close

Please email phone 020 7862 8677 to confirm details and to be added to the mailing list

More information can be found by visiting

October 30, 2005

The 4th International Conference on Memory

The 4th International Conference on Memory, Sunday 16th-Friday 21 July 2006, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

ICOM-4 will bring together scientists and practitioners from around the world. The tone of the conference will be set by keynote addresses from internationally renowned memory researchers including:

  • Alan Baddeley
  • Fergus Craik
  • Eric Eich
  • Robyn Fivush
  • Marcia Johnson
  • Jay McClelland
  • Morris Moscovitch
  • Henry L. Roediger III
  • Daniel Schacter
  • Endel Tulving

For more information visit the conference homepage at:

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