Why Remember? Memory and Forgetting in Times of War and Its Aftermath

3-Day Conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia, June 30th, July 1st, July 2nd 2017

Sponsored by PARC University of the Arts, London; Salem State University, Massachusetts, USA; WARM Festival, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Keynote Speakers include
Simon Norfolk, photographer, and Vladimir Miladinović, artist.

In his book In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies, David Rieff offers a persuasive challenge as to whether the age-long “consensus that it is moral to remember, immoral to forget” still stands in our contemporary era. What should we remember, what should we forget, and why? Do we need to reconfigure the way that we think about memory and its potential impact on issues such as reconciliation and healing in the wake of war? Is memory impotent as a social, political, or aesthetic tool? Rieff’s questions appear more pertinent than ever as wars and conflicts continue to rage in many parts of the world with no end in sight.

These questions of memory (and forgetting) are intensely political and have far-reaching consequences. This conference will engage with difficult and troubling questions around the value and nature of memory such as how do they reverberate in the context of postwar societies, post-conflict reconciliation, prevention, questions of memory and past events? Does memory discourse help us push the borders of how the concept of memory is currently being configured and applied? To what extent do we remember the past and how do we choose what to remember and why we remember? How could and should (consciously and unconsciously) memory processes shape the present and future? How might public institutions (such as museums and other heritage sites that support education/awareness) deal with the past? What is the difference between commemoration and memorialization? Where do they intersect and how might they impact the process of reconciliation and prevention? How can art function as a site of the aesthetic interpretation of the past?

We seek papers from a wide-range of historical and geographical spaces that address the discursive limits of contemporary memory studies, particularly drawing on these areas of study:

• Film/media studies
• Museum studies/objects/ New Materialism
• Visual arts
• Literature/Narrative
• Music/Performance
• Necropolitics/Forensics/Anthropology
• Politics and aesthetics

**Interdisciplinary approaches to memory and remembrance studies are welcome.

There will be two styles of presentations: more formal papers of 20-25 minutes and workshop idea papers of 10-15 minutes. We welcome submissions from artists, early career researchers and post-docs as well as established scholars. We encourage applications from a range of academics, current PhD students, especially those outside of Western European institutions. All papers will be delivered in English.

Paper proposals should include:
• author name(s), affiliation(s) and contact email,
• paper title,
• a paper abstract (200 words max),
• and short bio (200 words max).

Please clearly indicate whether you are submitting formal paper or a workshop idea paper.

This academic conference is linked to the Art and Reconciliation AHRC funded research project currently being undertaken by The University of the Arts London, King’s College War studies Department, and the LSE. The research is under the auspices of the PACCS Conflict Programme. It is also part of the larger WARM festival, which takes place in Sarajevo, Bosnia each summer, and “is dedicated to war reporting, war art, war memory. WARM is bringing together people – journalists, artists, historians, researchers, activists – with a common passion for ‘telling the story with excellence and integrity’.” See this link for more
information: http://www.warmfoundation.org

Registration cost: 150 Euros.

Concessionary rates are available for faculty applying from non-EU, non-US institutions, and for those who can present a case for reduced fees. Information about hostels and hotels will be provided for participants.

Please submit your proposals no later than March 17th, 2017 to why.remember.conference@gmail.com.

Decisions will be made by March 31st, 2017.

The conference is supported by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Salem State University, Massachusetts, and the Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) at the University of the Arts London.