4 November 2010

Perspectives on Memory Studies I: Remembrance and Future

Conference. Perspectives on Memory Studies I: Remembrance and Future

When: 7-8 December, 2010

Where: Essen, Germany

Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research

Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KW) Essen

University Alliance Metropolis Ruhr

Institut des Sciences sociales du Politique

Université de Paris-Ouest/ENS

Chair for Neueste und Zeitgeschichte der Humboldt-Universität

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Modern empirical memory research began in 1885, when the Bonn psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus published the study Über das Gedächtnis (On Memory, later translated to English as Memory. A Contribution to Experimental Psychology). Between 1910 and 1930 further studies/works were published, of which those written by Walter Benjamin, Edmund Husserl, Aby Warburg and, most importantly, those of the sociologist Maurice Halbwachs and the social psychologist Frederic Bartlett have become classics after their rediscovery in the 1980s. Accordingly, this field of research has a history of more than one hundred years to look back at. The founding of pertinent academic journals (most recently – since 2008 – Memory Studies), research centers/hubs and large research associations (such as the CMR, established in 2005, or the Mercator Research Group Structure of Memory at the Ruhr Universität Bochum) as well as the releases of handbooks and book series has institutionalized the occupation with remembrance and memory in Europe and in the US. In many research fields, especially in those dealing with the various dimensions of collective remembrance, a sufficient number of case studies is now available so that the formation/construction of theories and the systematization of methods may be further promoted. One result of these efforts was and still is to lay open hitherto underdeveloped areas on which future research should focus. The series of events/lectures Perspectives of memory studies is devoted to these hitherto neglected areas with the aim to assess the potentials of future interdisciplinary exploration.

The series of events is organized by the Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research (CMR) at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in cooperation with the Université de Paris-Ouest/ENS and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and takes place in Essen, Paris and Berlin. The first session takes place on December 7th and 8th, 2010, in Essen and focuses on the topic Remembrance and Future. It will investigate what bearing future as a concept and perspective may have on the issues of remembrance and memory. To give but one example, sociality could not exist without this connection, since individuals engaging in communicative actions have to rely on the assumption that these will be remembered in the future. Researchers from various disciplines will discuss which relevance these and other aspects have in their respective fields of research.


Jenny Andersson (CNRS research fellow at the Center for international studies, Sciences Po; Affiliate professor of the Swedish institute for futures studies), Sarah Gensburger (Université de Paris-Ouest/ENS), Christian Gudehus (CMR/KWI), Sabine Moller (Humboldt-University), Amedeo Osti Guerazzi (German Historical Institute, Rom), Monika Palmberger (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen), Martina Piefke (Universität Bielefeld, Excellence Cluster "Cognitive Interaction Technology"), Markus Werning (Ruhr University Bochum) and others.

The conference will be open to the public, the program will be published shortly on the website www.memory-research.de.

If you have any questions, please contact Christian Gudehus (0201-7204-116 or christian.gudehus@kwi-nrw.de). The conference will be held in English and German.

The topics of the following two sessions in 2011 are “Methods” (in Paris on March 25th) and “Reception and Epistemology” (presumably in Berlin next fall).

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