CfP: Why Remember? Ruins, Remains and Reconstructions in Times of War and Its Aftermath

3-Day Symposium in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, June 27th-29th, 2018, Hotel Europe

Keynote Speaker: Donald Weber, Photographer

Sponsored by London College of Communication, University of the Arts London; Salem State University Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, De Montfort University, Leicester UK; WARM Festival, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dr. Stephenie Young, Salem State University, USA
Admir Jugo, Ph.D. Candidate, Durham University, UK
Dr. Paul Lowe, University of the Arts, London, UK
Professor Kenneth Morrison, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
Velma Saric, Post-Conflict Research Center, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

In his book In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies, David Rieff questions 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. Yet, how do they reverberate in the context of post-war societies, post-conflict reconciliation, conflict prevention, questions of memory and past events? 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?

For summer 2018 we continue the conversations on aesthetics that we initiated in our 2017 conference but with a more specific focus on “ruins, remains and reconstructions.” In his book The Texture of Memory James E. Young states that public art can often been static and is “seemingly
In light of this, we are interested in papers that consider the contemporary status of not only what “ruins or remains” are and how they are construed, but also the ways that post-conflict societies remember through reconstructions (material—such as renovations—or philosophical or theoretical). What are landscapes of memory? How do reconstructions remember memory? What kind of art is produced in conversation with remains and ruins? What is the role of remains (human/material) and ruins in relation to the communities that live with them? How are communities established around memorials and what impact might a memorial have on a community? What kind of role does visual culture, such as photography, play in these considerations?

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 including photography
Politics and aesthetics

**Interdisciplinary approaches are especially encouraged.

We welcome formal paper abstract submissions from early career researchers and post-docs as well as established scholars. We encourage applications from a range of academics, current PhD students, particularly from 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).

This academic conference is part of the larger WARM festival, which takes place in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina 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 here for more information.

Registration cost: 150 Euros. Concessionary rates are available for all graduate students, for faculty applying from non-EU/US institutions, and for those can present a case for reduced fees. Information about hostels and hotels will be provided for participants upon acceptance.

Please submit your proposals no later than February 15th, 2018 to

Decisions will be made by the beginning of March.