Memory, Migration and Materiality

Director: Alexandra Délano

The politics of memory decisively shape the contexts in which concepts such as political community, citizenship, ‘foreigner’, ‘guest worker’, immigrant, and refugee, among others, are (re-) defined. Opportunities for migrants to influence these debates about the ‘national past’ often remain restricted and their encounter with and expression of collective narratives about the past is frequently relegated to alternative publics, so that new analytical lenses are required to avoid reproducing official narratives.  New practices of social remembering and representation of lives lived in the shadows are being engaged in by artists and scholars, and often migrants themselves; how do their material representations of the past force new narratives about migration and belonging, and give recognition to different faces, lives and voices? This working group/research cluster  brings together two fields of study – memory studies and migration studies – that have only very recently found overlapping research concerns. Through contributions of cultural theorists, political scientists, historians, designers, and forensic anthropologists working at the intersection of migration and social memory, the project seeks to enrich our understanding of the migrant experience and of the politics behind immigration and to use migration in turn to rethink research on social or collective memory.



On May 1 – 3 2014, the working group, in collaboration with the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, the Global Studies Program and the Politics Department, organized the workshop “Memory, Migration, and Materiality.”

You can read the full report here: Memory, Migration, and Materiality Workshop – May 1-3, 2014