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Early Modern Memory Conference May 2014

Early Modern Memory Conference
Early Modern Research Group
8-9 May 2014

Click here for full conference programme

Plenary Lecture: Professor Andy Wood (Durham University), ‘Memory, History and Time’

The objective of this conference is to contribute to the study of cultural memory in the early modern era (1500-1800) through a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach. With this in mind, we ask the following questions: how did men and women of this period remember and forget? Which stories were ‘permissible’ and which ‘prohibited’, from a social, personal, and political standpoint? How did representations of the past determine the present and shape the future? In what ways did the various discourses of the past determine collective and individual identities? What were the strategies and practices of memory? To what degree were non-official or repressed forms of cultural memory influential? What were the relations between memory and monuments in the early modern period? How can we understand the dual nature of early modern monuments: as tools of ideologically driven memory (fixed memory) and/or as constant sources of memory construction and influence? What were the connections between culturally inherited memories and individual memories? How did technological developments influence the process of forgetting, remembering, and/or commemorating the past? How did the role of cultural memory influence the relationship between historical research and images of the past in various early modern societies and cultures?

The overall aim of the conference is to explore the role of cultural memories in the early modern period in their broad contexts and so the conference aims at fostering a critical dialogue beyond the boundaries set by various disciplines. Papers from various disciplines and fields are most welcomed. Submissions of proposals for fully-formed panels and suggestions for workshops are also encouraged. We hope that due to its interdisciplinary nature, the conference will bring many interesting observations on and discussions of the role of cultural memory in the early modern period.

Possible topics could include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

Memory and Identity: transgenerational memory; biographical and autobiographical memory; memoires and histories; the ‘hom?’; immigration; the migrant; borders; nationalism; ethnicity; history and changing historical narratives; tradition; violence; trauma and terror; forgiveness; memories of transitions: important personal, national and international events.

Memory and Politics: the use of propaganda; the use of cultural memory; the politics of cultural memory; authority; resistance; alternative memories; the forbidden or repressed past; creating and transmitting cultural memories; advertising; collective remembering and forgetting.

Memory and Space/Place: architecture; geography (cartography); travel; the city; the use of nature in the collective memory; transformed places; battlefields; monuments and forgotten or demolished monuments; archives and museums; the theatre.

Memory and Social Institutions/Cultural Products: myth; religion; government; art/literature presentation; language; clashing memories, popular culture; music; war legacies. Memory and Culture in Daily Life: rituals; education; bodily practices; fashion; nostalgia; journals and diaries; epistolary writings; newspapers and pamphlets.

Mediated Memories: cultural representations; mass media memories; frameworks of remembering/forgetting.

Contemporary Memories/Inherited Memories: post-1800 conceptions and representations of the early modern period; exploration of memories of the early modern period from a present-day or later centuries’ perspective; the presence of early modern memorials within a post-1800 context.

The conference is organised by Worcester University’s Early Modern Research Group and will be held on the University’s City Campus. It is intended that the conference will commence with a plenary lecture at 4 pm on, Thursday, 8 May 2014, followed by a full day of panels and roundtables on, Friday, 9 May 2014. Please email your proposal (200-250 words) for individual papers or panels, including fully formed panels, to the Lead Organiser, Ms. Erin Peters (, by 1 February 2014.