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Conference on memories

Conference — Historic events can be recalled and treated in a variety of ways. Upcoming conference on Memory Studies discuss how the past is recalled and represented.

Historic events can be recalled and recreated in a variety of ways. And it certainly matters how it is done.

A recent and heated debate on Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s TV series Historien om Danmark shows that the same events can be interpreted in many ways.

The academic field of Memory Studies usually focuses on the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity, but today it includes colonialism (eg the Danish West Indies), family memories (eg trauma), national memories (eg 1864), digitized memories and cultural memories.

14th through 16th of December, the University of Copenhagen hosts a major international conference on memory studies, where 550 researchers from around the world will discuss how we use, and sometimes abuse, memories.

History, culture, sociologi, literature

The University Post talked to Tea Sindbæk Andersen as well as Jessica Ortner. Both are part of The Memory Studies Association and helped organize the conference.

“Memory studies is an academic field which is connected to a lot of different fields such as history, culture, sociology or literature. It investigates the interaction of the present and the past in different socio-cultural contexts. But it is a field of rapid development,” says Tea.

We want to bridge the gap between humanities and social sciences with the help of memory studies
Tea Sindbæk Andersen

The Memory Studies Association is a professional association for memory studies scholars, memorial institutions and all other fields engaged in memory studies. Questions surrounding the study of memory are being investigated all around the world, but there is still too little interaction and often a lack of understanding. So, MSA wants to become an important and well-known forum for the memory field and also foster politically and civically engaged scholarship by publicly raising their voice about political uses of the past.

Jessica adds:

“Memory studies deals with absolutely essential human issues regarding identity and orientation in time and space. This is simply decisive for our worldview – and thus for our ability to act in the world.”

The main goal of the conference is to facilitate a critical forum and space for a theoretical, empirical, and methodological discussion leading towards a collaborative understanding of memory. The conference programme promises to provide many engaging discussions and opportunities for meeting like-minded scholars and practitioners in the growing field of memory studies.

It is an interdisciplinary field with a lot of academic potential

Tea Sindbæk Andersen

“We hosted a very successful conference in Amsterdam last year. And this year, we even have had to reject more than 100 interested researchers due to lack of space. Of course, that’s a shame but it also motivates us to make this conference even bigger and more global. We became aware that there is a big demand for opportunities to talk, debate and exchange views and information regarding the study of memory and where it is headed. The conference will also offer many current examples of why memories are important to deal with e.g. the Holocaust”, says Tea.

She continues: “It is a very interdisciplinary field with a lot of academical potential. And we want to bridge the gap between humanities and social sciences with the help of memory studies. We are very happy that 550 researchers from around the world are coming to discuss how we use and sometimes even abuse memories. I am sure, we will have a very exciting and interesting conference coming up”, says Tea.

Here you can sign up for the conference, find more information and the full conference program. The conference venues are Southern Campus and Bella Center.