Women’s Narratives and the Postmemory of Displacement in Central-Eastern Europe

Peer-reviewed Collective Volume*

The performative nature of remembrance is ‘marked by the act of listening, of attending to the voices of victims and survivors’(Winter, 2010). Many victims of the totalitarian regimes that marked many countries from the Central-Eastern Europe never had the option of writing their memoirs. In some cases their life stories were orally transmitted, but only to the members of their families. It can be hard for the second or third generation to relate with the experiences of their parents or grandparents when the memories of the past are missing or are only one-sided. Recuperative memory becomes almost an obligation of the future generations and in some cases the only available remembrance, as much as totalitarian regimes ‘engender the fear that nobody might remain to bear witness to the past’ (Rosch White, 2003).

During and after World War II the Central-Eastern Europe knew one of the major people displacement from its history: millions of people were deported or escaped death only by leaving their former lives behind, and many others, for various reasons, lost forever their life belongings, and also their community support. Many of these victims of forced displacement were women who struggled to survive and keep their families and their children alive. Their memories and stories, as they were intergenerationally transmitted, represent the core of this volume.  

The postmemory or second-generation memory is mediated through ‘representation, projection and creation,’ being an ‘intersubjective transgenerational space of remembrance’. This is the process of adopting the traumatic experiences of others, a sort of ‘retrospective witnessing by adoption’ (Hirsch 2001, 221). The volume seeks to offer a wide perspective over the mechanisms used by the second or third generation in order to re-appropriate the past, or fill the intergenerational memory gap. Many victims avoid telling their stories, even in the familiar space, for fear of not being understood, or as a defence mechanism that helped them to avoid confronting their traumatic experiences.

The topics include (but are not limited to):

– Text and visual representations of the past: biography, photography, video-documentaries, museum exhibits;

–  Women narratives: theoretical aspects and individual stories;

– Collective representations and commemorative processes (memorials, museums, street performances, representations in arts, etc.) dedicated to women;

– Narratives of displacement: postmemory and its mechanisms of re-appropriating the past.

Please send electronic proposals only to: simona.mitroiu@uaic.ro

The abstract must describe in 300-500 words the proposed research, including the results. The authors will be notified about the acceptance of their proposals. Accepted papers should not exceed 8,000 words and should be prepared for review.

TIMETABLE:

Abstract submission: December 15, 2015

Notification: January 15, 2016

First draft of the paper: April 15, 2016

Review comments: May, 1st, 2016

Final paper: June 15, 2016

*The application takes into consideration one of the international prestigious publishing houses.

Simona Mitroiu, PhD (https://uaic.academia.edu/SimonaMitroiu)

Contact Info: 

Simona Mitroiu, Phd

Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Romania

Contact Email: 
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