Memory and Diverse Belongings NUBS 2.08
Jul 06, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230706T1100 20230706T1230 Europe/London 6.3. Borders and places NUBS 2.08 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
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Homotheties in heritage discourses, memory and the dynamics of (mis)recognition on the margins of former Yugoslavia
Individual paperMemory and Diverse Belongings 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 10:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 11:30:00 UTC
Heritage as a negotiated and performative set of heritage-making practices used for identity claims opens the issue of (mis)recognition, as such it illustrates the dynamics in equity of social participation and redistribution of resources (Smith 2022). These dynamics are that more challenging in historically and currently contested borderlands, often marked by "undigested past" (van Voren 2011), "entangled" (Daskalov & Marinov 2013) and "extruded history" (Ballinger 2012). Illustrative examples of such dynamics can be identified on the two extreme borders of former Yugoslavia: in the upper Adriatic territory on the Slovene-Italian border, in the region of Istria and Triest, as well as on the border of Northern Macedonia, Greece and Albania, in the regions of Macedonia and Epirus. Particularly throughout the 20th century, both regions were marked by shifting borders and by different waves of population changes, even population transfers, as well as switches in ideological frameworks (from empires to nation states, socialist ideology and/or system on one side of the border, and global democratic-capitalist system) which conveyed intense changes in heritage discourses and the related misrecognitions. These are especially discernible in the representations in and of the built environment (interventions in and design of public spaces, conservation approaches to historic buildings, toponymy, museological interpretation etc.). In the contribution we bring together and compare the results of over 10 years of individual research in each of the two regions, and identify the homotheties as well as inverse homotheties between the two contexts. We pay particular attention to the dynamics of the changing authorized discourse in each region through time, and also to the changes between authorized and subaltern heritage discourses, and the related memory discourses of the (changing) hegemonic and the minority groups.
Neža Čebron Lipovec
Researcher, Assistant Professor, University Of Primorska, Slovenia
Pierre Sintès
Lecturer, Researcher, Aix-Marseille Université - CNRS
Silesian identity: Caught In-Between Hegemonic and Counter-Narratives
Individual paperMemory and Diverse Belongings 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
There is a general agreement and widespread acceptance by the Czech majority population as well as some academics that the Czech Republic is a country of one language, one culture, one ethnicity, and one history. However, this hegemonic national narrative is being openly and systematically challenged by various social actors, who are employing diverse counter-narratives. In this paper, I focus on how concrete social actors hinder such narrow, restricted, and homogenized understanding of Czechness by invoking the complex Czech-German historical heritage. Based on longitudinal research, I present a fine-grained ethnographic study of a memory war between the hegemonic narrative of essentialized Czechness on one hand and vernacular counter-narratives of cultural hybridity and fluidity on the other, that are currently happening in the border region of Czech Silesia over its collective identity and cultural heritage. This article is structured around two 'arrival' stories on which I present the tensions between the top-down national narrative and the bottom-up vernacular narrative. The first narrative is presented through my encounters with the work and views of academics at the provincial Silesian University in Opava. The bottom-up counter-narrative, depicted through my experience with the Hlučín Museum, represents its demotic counterpart. In particular, I explain how the hegemonic narrative, together with 'methodological nationalism' of Opavian academics leads to an overt promotion of homogenous Czech national identity and simultaneously also to a strong neglect of any traces of the pre-war German heritage. In the second case concerning the grass-root Hlučín Museum, I observed how local mnemonic actors, the Hlučíns, are able to incorporate alternative historical accounts relating to Silesian 'Germanness' and to Silesian experiences of the Second World War into their museum exhibitions, treating it as Silesian 'difficult heritage'.
Johana Wyss
Researcher , Institute Of Ethnology Of The Czech Academy Of Sciences
Alsatian memory: feminine representations to come to terms with the past and connect communities
Individual paperMemory and Diverse Belongings 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
The Franco-Prussian, First, and Second World wars saw the border region of Alsace change nationality four times in seventy-five years. This position between France and Germany created deep divisions and mistrust within the local community as well as between the local, national and neighbouring communities. After each conflict, and as the Alsatians joined a country they had fought against during the war, memory became a central stake of post-war reconstruction and integration into the national community. In Alsace, memorials, therefore, had to fulfill the double objective of commemorating the local dead and reconciling the local and national communities. 
In this process, feminine representations played a crucial role. Looking at war memorials (their construction and evolution), commemoration ceremonies, and objects of Alsatian memory, this paper argues that by replacing the proud, victorious soldier by the powerless victim, and by putting images of women on memorials, femininity became the center of Alsatian memory and local identity. This paper argues that Alsatian femininity, by representing the region's attachment to France, its unique position between France and Germany, and the universal pain of a mourning mother, has allowed the local and national communities to come to terms with two very different experiences of the conflicts. 
This paper further argues that behind the apparent stability of memory (unchanged memorials for decades, same template and music played at commemoration ceremonies, same feminine representations used for over a hundred years) Alsatian memory has supported multiple agendas: integration into the French national community, reconciliation with France and Germany, support for the EU, promotion of the local identity, or coming to terms with the region's difficult past. The recent debates about Alsatian memory, from the integration of the Malgré-nous (young Alsatian men forced to join the German army during the Second World War) into the French national memory to the renovation and moving of memorials, reveal how the local memory reflects the evolution of the relations between the local, national and international communities. 
Lili Toitot
Doctoral Researcher, Brunel University London
Two Old Industrial Borderlands – Two Cultural Memories: the Donbas and Upper Silesia in Comparative Perspective
Individual paperMemory and Diverse Belongings 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
The scholarly project "Poetics of Industrial Landscape: the Donbas and Upper Silesia in comparative perspective" offers theory-based insights into literary and cinematographic representations of both regions. To increase the understanding of these Eastern European old industrial borderlands vacillating between the (quasi-)imperial and nation- and state-related affairs, I draw from the assumption that the regions in permanent transition acquire contours through various narratives in literature or film.
The Russian aggression against Ukraine and the ongoing war in the Donbas entail discussions concerning the Russian-Ukrainian industrial borderland. This region had only been a part of a national state since 1991. At the same time, in today's European Union, industrial regions claim their identities against the backdrop of their national states (e.g., Catalonia and Upper Silesia). Whereas such local communities revolved around space-related nation-building, in the Donbas, on the contrary, the category of industrial space corresponded with post-Soviet phantasies. Hence, regarding the work of Aleida Assmann, I ask some fundamental questions concerning memory politics in both regions: Where does the interest in forming new spaces of memory originate? Which constellations of the past are emerging? How are the new narratives implemented in the local communities, especially in the context of literary visions? My presentation aims to compare the narratives of memory prevailing in the literature dealing with the Donbas and Upper Silesia from the 1990s onwards. Memory and Diverse Belongings and Memoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) are the streams addressed.

Alina Strzempa
Research Assistant , Universität Regensburg
Contested Heritage and Ethics of Care in the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Individual paperMemory and Diverse Belongings 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
The interdisciplinary literature on memory politics demonstrates how stories of the past are always entangled within national histories and heterogeneous memorial topographies. Different versions of the past compete with one another in the urban environment as groups and individuals strive to inscribe their particular perspectives into public spaces. The everyday practices that occur in places, give them meaning, and as actors engage and interact with their surroundings they create affective relationships with place. Drawing on the work of memory studies scholars who examine commemorative practices above all as place-making processes, in this paper I study how the everyday practices, affects, and material objects in and around the Historijski Muzej or History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina interact to assemble this place of memory. The History Museum is nurtured in a disputed space that since the conflict in the 1990s continues to be an object of debate as government officials fail to resolve its legal status. Sarajevo's cultural heritage was intentionally targeted during the siege of the city and this destruction carries on three decades later through a post-war of attrition. Despite the controversy that surrounds the World War II and the socialist period, the curators of the History Museum opened up dialogue with the public on how this heritage should be presented. In seeking to preserve this contested heritage for future generations, Sarajevo's residents were offered the opportunity to engage in place-making processes with the museum by reinterpreting and reactivating the collection. In the absence of government support, institutions, activist groups, feminist artists, and NGOs engage in commemorative practices together to unsettle dominant ethnonationalist narratives. Without any obligation from the state to promote ideologies that legitimise and sustain the regime, the spaces of the History Museum have been transformed in to contact zones from which activists and artists resist the destruction of a multiethnic BiH identity and seek to broaden the notion of belonging.
Presenters Lana Balorda
Doctoral Candidate And Research Assistant, Collaborative Research Centre - SFB 1070 ResourceCultures And University Of Tübingen
researcher, assistant professor
University of Primorska, Slovenia
Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Doctoral Researcher
Brunel University London
Research assistant
Universität Regensburg
Doctoral Candidate and Research Assistant
Collaborative Research Centre - SFB 1070 ResourceCultures and University of Tübingen
Doctoral Researcher
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
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