CHC researchers present interactive panel at international memory studies conference in Madrid

On June 28, Siri Driessen, Laurie Slegtenhorst, Pieter Van den Heede and Lise Zurné presented the interactive panel 'Users in Focus: Memory Consumers in Academic Research on Popular Representations of War History at the third annual conference of the Memory Studies Association in Madrid

During the panel, they discussed how representations of violent pasts are appropriated by users/consumers through popular historical formats such as battlefield tours, VR apps, entertainment games and reenactments. More information about the panel can be found below.

Summary panel

Research in cultural memory has turned towards memory practices and performativity in recent years. Indeed, notions such as ‘post memory’ (Marianne Hirsch, 2008) and ‘prosthetic memory’ (Alison Landsberg, 2004), imply (and result from) an increasing interest in memory’s reception and appropriation. In the end, as was underlined by the work of memory scholars Alison Landsberg and Wulf Kansteiner, it is the user who decides what to take on as meaningful from the abundance of representations of the past. Yet, there is still a strong focus on the ‘producers’ of memory practices and especially the ‘products’ around which these are centered.

In our research program ‘War! Popular Culture and European Heritage of Major Armed Conflicts' we examine how 20th-century wartime violence is represented and appropriated in contemporary popular culture. This process of appropriation is often implicit and rarely controllable. Investigating how representations and practices resonate with the viewpoints, prior experience and knowledge of their participants is therefore highly relevant. In this panel, we will do so by actively engaging with the panel participants, to allow for a vivid discussion on appropriation practices.

The panel is an outcome of the broader research program 'War! Popular Culture and European Heritage of Major Armed Conflicts' (2015-present), led by prof.dr. Maria Grever and prof.dr. Stijn Reynders.

In March 2020, the 'War!'-research group is organizing the conference 'The Stage of War: Academic and Popular Representations of Large-Scale Conflicts'. More info about this conference can be found on the official website.

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