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Call for Papers - School vs. Memory

Conference venue: Prague, Czech Republic
Period: October 10-11, 2014
Deadline for submitting abstracts: May 11, 2014



In Central European countries, a tension potentially arises between history education in schools and memory at the level of family, social group or community. Memory as a concept describing a plurality of modes of relating to the past has gained ground both in the humanities and in social sciences. Memory replaces or complements traditional historical narratives. This conference focuses on memory from a didactic perspective.

Our aim is to deal with questions such as What are the difficulties that result from the employment of a memory layer into the traditional interpretative frameworks employed at school? How does a memory layer arise and what are its sources? What role does family memory play in the creation of historical consciousness? Where are frictions between family remembering and school history narratives formed and under what conditions do they vanish? And last but not least: What does the impact of this memory in the classrooms look like?

The plurality of narratives of the past is one of the great challenges for societies experiencing a cultural transition. Although the discussion on the relationship between education and remembering will be focused on the Central European context, we intend to bring insights from and comparisons with the contexts of migrant society, with post-colonial situations and with the experience of genocide(s).

Eligible topics

We welcome all papers that address one of the main topics organized into the following panels:

  1. Memory as a theoretical concept: approaches and criticism. The aim of the panel is to depict memory in current research, to clarify the distinction between memories generated at various levels and their mutual interaction. What are the mechanisms of formation and transmission of ethnic, national and family memory? What are its characteristics (local determinism, dealing with space and time within family narrative, indifference to politics, fragmentation, accumulation)?
  2. Memory at school. The status of memory in the school environment through the lens of empirical research. Analysis of textbooks, curriculum and educational practices. What are the different objectives of education and memory? How could be family memory used in school education, what kind of challenges does it pose? Is there a place for memory, and more precisely family memory in curricula? What is the relationship between school historical knowledge and memory? In this context, what should the result of history education look like? Moreover, what should the ideal result look like? What kind of attention is or should be given to children from migrant families or minority milieu?
  3. Memory as a conflict field: science, politics, school and memory. Identification of divisive memories and conflict groups of family bearers. How are differences created and how are they operationalized at the level of official or state memory? How can “divisive memories” be worked in school practice? What role does school as the eventual political or legitimizing institution, play in the formation of memory? Where could the “shared ground” of history be found? What are the ethical consequences of the employment of family memory in school education? Where are the limits of cultivation of family memory?
  4. Media and art representations working with the concept of memory. To which extent has family memory been shaped by media (photography, literature, film, comics)? What types of memory do media produce? How could these aspects of media be used in the educational process?

Poster section:
The conference provides a space for the presentation of particular educational projects that aim to work with family memory. What are your experiences with the use of family memory in the classroom?
Panels should include practical examples of projects and methods of making use of family memories. We lay great emphasis on developing objectives and methodological reflection. We welcome the following topics:
Contemporary history: Taboo, traumatic and conflict issues, the study of the everyday.
Civic education (Politische Bildung): Does family memory distort efforts to learn from the past?
Multicultural education: Particular examples of education of ethnic minorities.
To be scheduled after the deadline of the CfA.

Guidelines for submission

All abstracts shall undergo a double-blind peer review process by at least two members of the Program Committee and should be submitted here.


Information & contacts

Eva Kubatova
Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes
tel.: +420724213130


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