Memory Studies Group at The New School

Memory Studies Conference Call for Papers

The Weaponization of Memory in Times of Political Rupture(s)
Joint In-person Conference
New York City
Saturday, May 13, 2023

Call for papers 

Recognizing the global shift to populist politics, the re-emergence of authoritarian regimes, and the ongoing war conducted by Russia against Ukraine, we are proposing a theme that spotlights the striking instrumentalization of memory and unmasks the logic of power relations. Examples of  “using and abusing the past” are visible in many cases: the unprecedented proliferation and cultivation of biopolitics during the COVID-19 pandemic; the national populist rhetoric against migrants in Trump’s USA or Orban’s Hungary; the Russian invasion of Ukraine; the full out war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus; the attack on democracy and the rise of illiberal regimes elsewhere from Bolsonaro’s Brazil to Modi’s India. All these and other profoundly unsettling political and social events illuminate “the power of memory” and “the power over memory” (Müller 2002) in our time of political and social upheavals and cataclysms. 

The conference panels will be structured according to the main theme that may contain sub-topics, including but not limited to the broad themes listed below:  

  • Populism and nationalization of the past under illiberal regimes (Russia,  Hungary, Turkey, Brasil, India, etc.); 
  • Trump,  MAGA movement and re-making America’s’ memory 
  • Attacking factual history, creating alternative past and memory in time of disinformation, fake news, and post-truth 
  • New censorship: rewriting, redefining, and changing the meaning of the past 
  • Politics of erasure of memory and social amnesia 
  • Suppressing memories and identities of vulnerable groups (LGBT community,  ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities)
  • Solidarity, resistance,  and mobilizing memory:  political movements and civil society during the crisis of democracy 
  • Memory, -transitional justice, and democratization
  • Memory and historical dialogue as a way of political reconciliation  ‘
  • Truth-seeking, truth-telling, and memorial culture in times of rupture. 


We welcome submissions from The New School faculty and graduate students for individual papers. 

Please send your proposals (title and abstract at max. 300 words) along with a short bio (max. 100 words) to Submissions are due April 7, 2023. Applicants will be informed of a decision by April 14, 2023

The conference will be in person only and it will be open to the public (with RVSP). 


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