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Shaping Memory and Identity in Europe: Countervailing Forces from Above and Below 22nd International Conference of Europeanists

7/8/2015 - Paris

Critics of European integration never grow tired of pointing out that European leaders and institutions are out of touch with ordinary people’s concerns. In recent years, the European Union has therefore redoubled its efforts to be more inclusive and to enhance citizens’ degree of identification with the integration project. Remembering Europe’s joint and divisive past has become an increasingly important component of this strategy. At the same time, social movements and elite initiatives at the local, national and even transnational level have challenged the memory politics of the European Union. They have, for example, demanded the official recognition and better representation of historical experiences – such as the GULag, colonialism, migration – in supranational organizations.
How can we conceptualize this development that is driven both from below and from above, often in conflictual and contradictory ways? Who are the important actors in the shaping of remembrance and identity? How do they interact, cooperate, compete? Which policy-making mechanisms and narrative devices are employed in order to persuade institutional decision-makers or the public? How effective are memory and identity projects initiated or supported by the European Union? To what extent does the EU collaborate with local and national actors in its efforts to enhance citizens’ identification through its memory initiatives?
For the next Conference of Europeanists taking place in Paris, July 8-10, 2015 we are looking for research projects from all disciplines, which examine those questions from different angles, and use different methodological and theoretical approaches. In keeping with the overall Conference theme, we particularly welcome contributions that highlight the contradictions between various readings of European history, as well as between the different actors that promote them.
Paper proposals (250 words abstracts) should be sent to aline.sierp@maastrichtuniversity.nl and jwustenberg@gmail.com by September 15, 2014.
We are looking forward to your submissions!
Dr. Aline Sierp, Maastricht University
Dr. Jenny Wüstenberg, Free University Berlin


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