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Genealogies of Memory 2018 : Memory and Religion: Central and Eastern Europe in a Global Perspective


When Mar 13, 2018 - May 14, 2018
Where Warsaw
Submission Deadline May 14, 2018
Categories    memory   religion   history   europe

Call For Papers

Call for Papers
Memory and Religion:
Central and Eastern Europe in a Global Perspective

International Conference
Warsaw, 16-18 October 2018

Contemporary post-secular researchers stress that in the time of multiples modernities, secular and religious systems affect each other in considerable and comparable ways. In the field of public memory this impact seems particularly extensive. There are many communities which use religious lexicon to describe their experience of traumatic events. Various groups and religious organisations construct their own narratives on the 20th-century experiences. The religious interpretations of the past are also used in the field of politics. They affect memory practices and public perceptions of the past. However, within the memory studies little attention has been paid to the religious aspects of remembrance and their impact on cultural and family memory and contemporary politics.

Central and Eastern Europe has always been a mosaic of many faiths and it continuous to be a contact zone between a variety of religions. This means that the 20th-century disasters, wars, mass murders and displacements are remembered here differently by various religious groups. Moreover, the beginning of the 21st century brought some significant changes in the relation between memory and religion in the region. We have witnessed mass canonisations of victims of the 20th-century catastrophes by different Christian Churches. Memory and history preservation seem also crucial for Muslim communities, especially as they relate to mass migration of displaced people as a result of the conflicts in the Caucasus and Crimea. Furthermore, one can see the growing gap between the memory of the Holocaust as remembered by the religious Jewish communities and the secular cosmopolitan organisations. All these examples point to an unprecedented interrelation between memory and religion which can be now observed across Europe in diverse cultural and political contexts.

This is why, following a series of events within the Genealogies of Memory framework, the 2018 conference will consider the ways in which the public debate, written narratives and visual representations of the 20th-century past refer to religion. It will also seek out points of comparison and contact between Central and Eastern Europe with other regions of Europe and the rest of the world. Scholars of various disciplines dealing with memory and religion are invited to submit their paper proposals.

The conference hopes to address the following questions in particular:
- What impact does religious language have on the memory of 20th-century catastrophes?
- What is a wider impact of religion on the overall memory of traumatic events in the societies which experienced them?
- What are the characteristic features of religious narratives on the 20th-century repressions? How do they affect memory, memory politics and conflicts of memory between Central and Eastern European neighbors?
- What is religious organisations’ and religious communities’ stake in memory politics? Why do religious organisations and religious communities engage in memory work?
- How does religion influence the ethics of memory? How is religion applied in discussions on reconciliation, transitional justice, conflict resolution – issues crucial in the field of memory studies?
- What are the differences between the narratives of the past produced by various religious groups, including different Christian groups and other religious groups belonging to Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.?
- To what extent can the relationship between memory and religion be explained within existing concepts of memory and identity?
- Is the new martyrdom phenomenon visible in many Christian Churches a continuation of the old beliefs or is it rather a new invented tradition? What is its social function?
- How are the historical sources and methods typical for the historians’ language of commemoration used within the religious field?
- What are the social consequences of the alliance between history and religion? What may be its impact on cultural memory of the 20th century in Central and Eastern Europe?

We encourage the participants to send proposals covering one of the following themes:
- Theoretical reflection on memory and religion
- Research methods for memory studies applied to the field of religion
- Features of the religious narratives on the past
- Influence of religious organisations on memory politics
- Uses of religion among different memory actors and the purpose of this use
- Connections between religion and processes of reconciliation, transitional justice, conflict resolution
- Canonisation as a way of acquiring cultural capital in connection to memory politics
- Uses of religious symbols in contemporary memory projects
- Impact of contemporary memory rituals on the religious ones
- Commemorative practices inspired by post-secular aspects of religion

Keynote speakers: Prof. Aleksander Agadjanian (Russian State University for the Humanities), Prof. Geneviève Zubrzycki (University of Michigan)

Organisational information:
Language of the conference: English

Please send your abstract of no more than 300 words, together with a short biographical statement, by 14 May 2018. Selected candidates will be notified by 11 June 2018. If accepted, you must submit your conference paper by 17 September 2018 in order to have it distributed to commentators in advance.

Conference participation is free of charge. The organisers will provide accommodation and catering for the conference speakers. However, only a limited number of travel refunds for younger scholars and doctoral students will be available.
We plan to publish selected papers in a peer-reviewed journal or in a volume by an established international publisher.

Please send your abstract and a biographical statement as well as all other inquiries to

Conference Committee:
Conference Convenors: Dr. Zuzanna Bogumił (The Maria Grzegorzewska Pedagogical University, Warsaw), Dr. Yuliya Yurchuk (Södertörn University, Stockholm)
Program Coordinators: Dr. Małgorzata Pakier (ENRS), Dr. Joanna Wawrzyniak (University of Warsaw)
Event coordinator: Karolina Dziełak (ENRS)
Academic Council: Prof. Radosław Zenderowski (Cardinal Wyszyński University in Warsaw), Prof. Jay Winter (Yale University)
Other members of Academic Council are yet to be confirmed.
Organiser: European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS)
Partners: The Maria Grzegorzewska Pedagogical University in Warsaw and the Institute of Sociology University of Warsaw

The Genealogies of Memory are annually organised since 2011 by the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity. It aims to facilitate academic exchange among Central and Eastern European scholars and to promote the study of memory in the region among the international academic community. We invite you to visit our website at:, where you can find further information on this and previous Genealogies of Memory conferences.

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