Christian Pentzold

The seminar explored the role memories play in conflicts that are increasingly communicated and conducted in and through connective and ubiquitous media. It assembled a rich array of both scholarship and practical advice on the ways memories come to play a role in times of struggle and rebellion, both in terms of re-enactment or remembrance of past conflicts and with regards to the production and circulation of memories of protest via digital technologies and new media. It first considered how the presence of conflict can come to bear upon memories of things past. Second, the seminar asked how memories of conflict and the re-enactments and revivals thereof are utilized by different actors in the present. Overall, the seminar was based on the idea that contemporary social movements, from religious and ethnic conflicts to the current social struggles in all parts of the globe, have been heavily involved, on the one hand, in reviving experiences, ideas and practices of past struggles and, on the other hand, in recording, archiving and disseminating documents of the unfolding contestations for future mobilization. Plots and notes of settled – won or lost – conflicts are, therefore, essential in motivating and moving present struggles and protests, as is the creation and dissemination of (counter-)memories via visual arts and social networks. In other words, frames of memories may become strategic resources in present and future mobilization.

The seminar which I organized together with Andrea Hajek (University of Glasgow), Christine Lohmeier (LMU) and Jordana Blejmar (University of Liverpool) was hosted by the School of Advanced Study, University of London at Senate House. It took place 27 November 2014. The seminar received funds from the School of Advanced Study’s Institute of Modern Language and Research and the Institute of Latin American Studies as well as from Goldsmiths.