Memoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) NUBS 4.25
Jul 05, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230705T1100 20230705T1230 Europe/London 3.20. Material memoryscapes NUBS 4.25 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
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Cultural Memory and Domestic Architecture: Pre-revolutionary Interiors in Iranian Cinema
Individual paperMemory and Diverse Belongings 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 10:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 11:30:00 UTC
Given the drastic reconstruction of Tehran, before and after the 1979 revolution, the architectural look and the structure of the city have been altered significantly. What remains of the pre-revolutionary vernacular and early modern structures, over and above the seriously damaged, semi-destroyed, and abandoned buildings, is a highlighted memory of this architecture, embodied in artistic representations. These buildings are similar in having a key role in the ways collective memory and consequently the production of various forms of social and cultural identity are institutionalised in Iran. In this sense, these structures should be seen as key materials employed in the ideological battles over the past and national identity in contemporary Iran. Here, besides the conflicting pre- and post-revolutionary regimes' official reading of these structures, I am concerned with the way the pre-1979 architecture is remembered among the generation born after the mass reconstruction of Tehran, and how the past is brought to the present through employing such structures as sites of memory.
Comparing some of the most popular productions of Iranian cinema before and after the revolution, I explore the emotions that are invested in and triggered by the image of pre-revolutionary architecture. Studying the role of cinema in shaping the collective imagination of the past, my main concern is to track media of cultural memory by regarding my targeted architecture as a Memory Cue, as Astrid Erll puts it. I consider the highest-grossing productions of this cinema between the mid-1960s and the late 1990s as part of what Dagmar Brunow calls audiovisual memory. In this sense, I will focus on the cinematic representations as circulating archives that may generate a prosthetic memory, as Alison Landsberg puts it. Here, the way the pre-1979 architecture is remembered in the 2000s and 2010s-or, in other words, how the past is brought to the present through employing such structures as sites of memory, will be of my concern.

Cinema studies has mainly focused on the urban environment (public life), particularly when it comes to the experience of modernity. Casting light on this underprivileged area of research, a gap in the existing work on Iranian cinema, I will focus on both Iranian interiors. In this regard, I will discuss the role of national identity and cultural nostalgia, female innocence and sacrifice, and the conflict between familial values versus individuality in the representations of my targeted architectural types.
Presenters Hossein Tavazoni-Zadeh
PhD Candidate, University Of Groningen
Materialities and memories of the Spanish Civil War: an approach to Bilbao’s Iron Belt through digital humanities
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 09:45:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 11:15:00 UTC
Historical narratives linked to war heritage are selected and provided by public institutions, forging an official interpretation which does not necessarily have to coincide with the individual or collective ones. In conflict heritage, (post) memory takes on greater relevance given its war-like and traumatic nature. The archaeological record is part of this complex heritage since it acts as a repository, where the same materiality supports different memories (hegemonic/counter-hegemonic, resilient/subaltern).
In the case of the Spanish Civil War, both the outlook and narratives of the regions with a distinct identity normally differ from the official discourses. In the Basque Country, the recovery of the memory from the war has boomed since the definitive cessation of violence by the terrorist group ETA as it has strengthened the political consensus around this research field.
This study analysis the confronted narratives generated by the mythic Iron Belt; this line of Republican fortifications defended Bilbao from the Francoists in 1937. Through the analysis of 4 of its sections, the aim is to discover differences in terms of research, management, and memorialising processes, in a context where local entities and associations play a leading role. This WWI imitation structure was designed to create a solid fortification around Bilbao to make the Biscayan capital an impregnable redoubt for Franco's troops. Within the Basque imaginary, the Iron Belt has become one of the war symbols, creating a veritable mythology around it with multiple perspectives. Key issues such as whether the betrayal of the engineer Alejandro Goicoechea was decisive in the Iron Belt's fall, the identity of the defenders, the place of the Iron Belt within the landscape or its real strength have led to its conversion into an emblem of the Basque resistance and one of the main targets of the government's memorial policy.
To explore these questions, we have focused on the geospatial and temporal dynamics of memorialization along a sample of the Iron Belt's fortifications. The key to unravelling the memory-landscape duo will be a database that integrates geospatial and textual evidence, to which quantitative methods will be applied to understand this diverse and complex dataset.
Presenters Tania González Cantera
PhD Candidate At The University Of Girona, Universitat De Girona
What do we do with Vasco?: Re-inscribing the Age of Discoveries into 1990s Lisbon
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 09:45:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 11:15:00 UTC
António Lobo Antunes's 1988 novel The Return of the Caravels uses parody to take an unequivocal stand regarding the need to revise the national heroes of Portugal's imperial past. The novel diagnoses an exhaustion of Portugal's traditional array of Age of Discovery-related figures, including the likes of Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões, prescribing a reevaluation of these figures and the identification of new ones. This all occurs amidst a Lisbon turned upside-down by the upheaval of the Carnation Revolution, colonial wars, and the tense transition from dictatorship to democracy: a national community undergoing significant change. However, in 1997, the Centro Colombo shopping mall was built in Lisbon's Carnide neighborhood, notable for being one of the largest shopping centers in Europe and for its explicit Age of Discoveries theme. In 1998, Lisbon hosted the final of three World Expositions held in Southern Europe throughout the 1990s, whose official theme was "The Oceans, a Heritage for Our Future," although the Expo was also themed according to the 500-year anniversary of the Discoveries. At the same time, Europe's focus was on coming closer together as an international community following the 1985 Schengen Treaty and the introduction of the Euro in 1999 with an emphasis on 'shared European values' and inter-community cooperation, occluding the colonial past Indeed, Aline Sierp's 2000 article about EU memory politics outlines the ambivalence of the EU in its recognition of a European colonial past.[1] My paper identifies the tensions involved in Portugal's expression of itself as a renewed, modern, European state at the same time as it capitalized upon the quincentenary celebration of the Discoveries to reinscribe the age of empire into Lisbon's urban fabric and public memory. I will draw upon the disconnect between those, including Lobo Antunes, arguing for a reformulation of Portuguese cultural memory and the largely uncontroversial large-scale manifestations of traditional national heroes in Centro Colombo and the Expo. This paper thus traces instances of change and fixity-both imagined and realized-in Lisbon's urban memoryscape over the past few decades.
[1] Sierp, Aline. "EU Memory Politics and Europe's Forgotten Colonial Past." Interventions (London, England) 22, no. 6 (2020): 686–702.

Kyle Thomson
PhD Candidate, UC Berkeley
The Eternal Eighties: Layered Pasts on Sweden Ferries as Memoryscapes
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
Since the 1960s, the regular ferry traffic between Finland and Sweden has been an essential element in the everyday interaction between the two countries and a popular means for easily accessible and inexpensive leisure traveling. Especially in Finland, "Sweden ferries" are a cultural phenomenon known to almost everybody: large majority of Finns has traveled on the ferries, as a child with their family, as a young person taking a booze cruise with friends, as an adult traveling for work meetings, or as an elderly person enjoying day dancing. The ferries have created a space of cultural and personal exchange between the two countries, but also between different language and minority groups in the neighboring countries. The Sweden ferry is in Finland such a well known concept that virtually everyone has a mental image of what the ferries are like even if they never have traveled the route themselves.

In this presentation, we address the imagined and layered pasts of Sweden ferries as they are portrayed in Finnish popular culture during the 2000s. We analyze audiovisual sources, such as films, TV series and radio programmes that address the ferry travel and focus in particular on the diverse pasts that are constructed in these narratives. Even when describing the present, the imagined ferry travels draw from the past. Our hypothesis is that the Sweden ferries as memoryscapes construct an imagined, eternal 1980s, which is also the decade from which many of the long operated ferries originate. The 1980s was a heyday of the ferry route and also a decade of consumerism in Finland that ended with the economic depression of the 1990s. Simultaneously the increased ferry travel to Estonia and the growth in air travel reduced the significance of the Sweden ferries. 

In the presentation, we describe the remarkable continuity, as the ferries form a type of a liminal space that is outside of time, but also the often subtle changes that have occurred over the decades. In addition to addressing the leisure and holidays on the ferries, we likewise analyze how the darker sides, such as crimes, accidents and even deaths on the ferries are present in popular culture. The presentation is a part of a larger Finnish-Swedish research network that studies the surprisingly little researched history of ferries and ferry-traveling between Finland and Sweden.
Riikka Taavetti
University Lecturer, University Of Turku, Finland
Tiina Männistö-Funk
University Of Turku
Memory Politics, Memory Policies: Shifting Communities and the Renovation of Paris
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
In 2015, major changes to the Parisian cityscape were announced, in particular through its museums, fourteen of which were selected for renovation. The year had begun with the attacks on the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, which shifted attitudes towards Parisian and French cultural identity, as well as creating an increased emphasis on the importance of the ephemeral memorial. In 2021, in the aftershock of the lockdowns of Covid-19, the Conseil de Paris adopted the Pacte parisien de la proximité in the context of mayor Anne Hidalgo's 15-minute city project, which aimed to ensure that the needs of the city's inhabitants were met with greater accessibility. Today the city is preparing itself for the Paris Olympic Games due to take place in 2024. In the wake of crisis and in anticipation of external scrutiny, Paris has undergone, and will undergo, great changes to its memoryscape.
This paper will analyse a series of major changes (proposed and actual) to the city of Paris between 2010 and 2024, to assess the ways they create shifts in the historical curation of the narrative of the capital. In so doing it will ask: to what extent does the Parisian memoryscape reflect the needs of its communities? When these changes are made, who are they aimed at? Drawing upon the socio-ethnographic memory research work of Sarah Gensburger, and the transnational memory work of Aline Sierp, the paper will assess tensions and changing priorities that inform the internal and external power balances that shape the city both on the ground and in its museums.
Elizabeth Benjamin
Assistant Professor In Memory Studies, Coventry University
PhD Candidate
University of Groningen
University Lecturer
University of Turku, Finland
Assistant Professor in Memory Studies
Coventry University
PhD Candidate
UC Berkeley
PhD candidate at the University of Girona
Universitat de Girona
 Rebekah Vince
Lecturer in French
Queen Mary University of London
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