Creative Approaches to Memory NUBS 4.06
Jul 07, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230707T0900 20230707T1030 Europe/London 8.12. Memory and affective practices NUBS 4.06 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Remembering and forgetting, social networks and the construction of the social memory of Charles Gordon
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 09:00 AM - 10:30 AM (Europe/London) 2023/07/07 08:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/07 09:30:00 UTC
In Memory, History, Forgetting, Paul Ricoeur explored the place of 'forgetting' in the construction of a social memory. He suggests that what is 'forgotten' is as important as what is 'remembered.' When a social memory is examined in the present, how can what has been forgotten be recovered? Biographies recount the lives of individuals and give some details of their contacts, people they knew and interacted with. This is certainly true of Charles Gordon.
Gordon was a 'controversial'  nineteenth century British Royal Engineer officer.  He first achieved 'fame' in China in the 1860s where he led a force that helped suppress the Taiping Rebellion, afterwards he was dubbed 'Chinese Gordon' by the British press. He then spent six years as Commandant of Engineers in Gravesend in Kent where he became engaged in extensive philanthropic activities during his off-duty time. He donated money, took part in committee work, taught in the local Ragged School and visited the sick. Gordon also carried out philanthropic work on his own account which included the care, education and employment of homeless boys. Gordon was later killed during the Mahdist Revolt in the Sudan in 1885.
Today, he is still remembered for his work among children in Gravesend where there is an annual commemoration service held around Gordon's statue in the Gordon Memorial Park. This attracts over a hundred local people including military veterans, local school children and politicians. 
There have been over three hundred biographies written about Gordon, however, they do not reveal very much about Gordon's dealings with his contacts in Gravesend. A different approach is needed. The approach of this paper is to construct egocentric social networks for Gordon in Gravesend between 1865 and 1871 using Lucid Park software. The data for these networks was found in a wide range of archival sources including the British Newspaper Archive, County archives and local studies collections. This methodology was used by Brea Perry to analyse the social networks of suffragettes in the nineteenth century. 
Gordon's network indicates that he had a wide range of contacts, both men and women, these included leading religious, political, legal  and philanthropic figures in the town. They also include people from a range of ethnic groups including Polish Jews and Irish Catholics. Although one or two of Gordon's social contacts are mentioned in the annual Commemoration service, none of them are memorialised in the way Gordon is. This paper concludes by looking into some of the reasons why Gordon is remembered and his fellow workers have been largely forgotten, these include outdated anti-semitic and anti-catholic views. 
Presenters Paul Mersh
Post Graduate Research Student, University Of Greenwich
Social ontology of memory – a hegelian approach
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/07 22:00:00 UTC
Memory studies is an interdisciplinary field that, in order to maintain privileges of being in-between, avoids grounding its foundations in any philosophy nor paradigm. However in the last few years voices have been raised to consider the nature of collective memory from the philosophical-ontological perspective (Sutton, Blustein, Cordeiro); philosophers postulate presenting concepts concerning collective memory in the form of analytical philosophy, putting questions such as: what are necessary and sufficient conditions to call something a "collective memory"? This approach is sufficient to clarify some notions, but general grounding demands more complex philosophy. Analyses of group agency and attitudes in mainstream social ontology mostly consider limited groups (clubs, societies, families, nations, generations etc.).
I would like to propose a different approach: reaching the philosophy of GWF Hegel, whose notion of spirit is broader - contains the whole of humanity (while spirit is not just simply identical with humanity as a sum of all living people). Individual subject, entity, is immersed in culture and thanks to it contains unconscious memory of the spirit (humankind/culture). Moreover ontology of collective memory demands ontology of collective subject, and this can be found in Hegel's philosophy of spirit. This will also allow us to ask a question: is it (and how) possible that the collective subject remembers something that none of the individual people remember?
Presenters
JG
Jan Grzybowski
University Of Warsaw
Circumtrauma: Memory as an Affective Inheritance
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/07 22:00:00 UTC


Maurice Halbawach's theory of "collective memory," according to Jeffery K. Olick, did not resolve the divergent versions of the shared and remembered past that exist in the form of individual aggregated memories (what Olick calls "collected memory").By making this distinction, Olick demonstrates the idea that individuals, whether collective or individual, are central to remembering and that public symbols that carry the memory can only be understood to the extent that they make some group of people feel something. Olick's scholarly intervention provides a useful method for reading the Nigeria-Biafra War (1967–1970), which remains one of the most significant and widely represented events in the history of the country and in its literature.
In this presentation, I examine the afterlife of the Nigeria-Biafra war in the "collected" memory of the Nigerian people through a creative project titled circumtrauma. My argument in this presentation is that the convergence of emotions from the pre- and post-war periods, as reflected in creative works on the war, characterizes what becomes the resentment and grievances that inform the "collected" emotions that shape social relations in ordinary lives. Circumtrauma, which is mainly conceptual poetry, depicts how an emotional valence propelled by memory, characterizes and transforms how we relate with others. My method in creating this art is steeped in my creative practice of "elliptical imagining," which adopts the primacy of storying the imagination to make meaning of the absences in the events of our past-both individual and collective. The claim here is that imagination is an invention of undetermined memories.
The majority of literary works on the war appear to replicate group contestations, these debates, while considered collective memories, are propelled by individual memories of the war. My presentation referencing Olick's idea of acknowledging individual memories as central to collective remembering, attempts to draw connections on the affects that can emerge when trauma narratives encounter each other.
In my presentation, using conceptual poetry, I will execute circumtrauma as a methodology for interrogating the intertextual relations of post-War novels and what can emerge when these texts interact. In my proposed presentation, I will discuss how post-war narratives in Nigerian society produce conflated emotions, creating grievances that continue to circulate, each insisting upon the primacy of one ethnic group experience over another. Together, these narratives form a multidimensional and complex affective environment of ressentiment that demands a method of engagement that has yet to begin.






Presenters
JV
Jumoke Verissimo
Assistant Professor, Toronto Metropolitan University
University of Warsaw
Post Graduate Research Student
,
University of Greenwich
Assistant Professor
,
Toronto Metropolitan University
associate professor
,
University of Copenhagen
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