Message posted on 12/09/2022

Online Workshop 21-22 Sept: Colonialism and Transgenerational Memory in Europe

Hey All,
This worskop, entitled Colonialism and Transgenerational Memory in Europe,
organized online by Markus Wurzer on 21 and 22 September, may be of interest
for some. You can register until 20 September by sending an email to Sophie
Schreyer (schreyer@eth.mpg.de). Detailed programme here:

https://web.eth.mpg.de/data_export/events/10798/Programme_WS_Colonialism_and_
Transgenerational_Memory_in_Europe.pdf
Workshop desription:
Markus Wurzer, Max-Planck-Forschungsgruppe "Alpine Histories of Global
Change", Max-Planck-Institut fr ethnologische Forschung, Halle/Saale

In recent years, colonialism, its memory, and diverse legacies have been
studied in various ways and contexts, demonstrating how colonial pasts still
shape the present. While scholarship has dealt with colonial remnants, for
instance in museums and public spaces, another venue of collective memory
has hardly been addressed: the sphere of family memory.
Colonialism and Transgenerational Memory in Europe
In recent years, colonialism, its memory, and diverse legacies have been
studied in various ways and contexts, demonstrating how colonial pasts still
shape the present. While scholarship has dealt with colonial remnants, for
instance in museums and public spaces, another venue of collective memory
has hardly been addressed: the sphere of family memory. The lack of research
is even more surprising because transgenerational memory is considered to be
one of the most important modes of collective memory, especially when it comes
to the transmission and construction of a historical consciousness.
Ordinary colonial agents, soldiers and the like brought home such objects as
postcards, photographs or keepsakes as well as stories, which, in Europe,
families pass down through the generations. This workshop starts from two
premises. First, this process significantly shapes the collective imagination
of the colonial past. Secondly, family memories are not apolitical: when kept
over the generations such narratives and objects pass down interpretations of
colonial realities that are based on everyday colonial knowledge and that
support particular imageries such as the idea of white superiority. In
addition, it can be assumed that the myth of the good colonialist, as
circulated in many European societies, has been so powerful because this
historical imagination is rooted within the personal level of the family.
Usually, they imagine their relatives who were involved in colonial
enterprises as decent and morally upright colonialists and vehemently reject
the possibility that they participated in colonial violence. The latter is
always externalised and attributed to other groups, other actors, or even
other colonial powers.
Therefore, it is high time to address colonialism in transgenerational memory.
This workshop will ask how and which memories of a colonial past have been
passed down in European families whose forbears were involved in processes of
de/colonialisation in the 19th and 20th centuries either as colonisers or
colonised.



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