Memoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) NUBS 4.25
Jul 06, 2023 13:30 - 15:00(Europe/London)
20230706T1330 20230706T1500 Europe/London 7.17. Virtual memoryscapes NUBS 4.25 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
29 attendees saved this session
Sites of Shame
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 01:30 PM - 03:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 12:30:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 14:00:00 UTC
Our present-day understanding of cultural memory is grounded on the premise that memory is produced and mediated through "technologies of memory" (Sturken, 2008). Approaches to the preservation of memory evolve together with the introduction of new technologies including audio/video recordings, holograms, virtual reality, etc. In this paper, the authors will demonstrate how innovations at a community-founded digital archive called Densho recontextualize the past and address gaps in present-day understandings of their community's history. 
Densho is a digital archive, led by Japanese American community members, that focuses on preserving the history of the Japanese American incarceration during the Second World War. Much of the existing research on the incarceration ends abruptly following the end of the war, ignoring the intervening thirty or so years until the Redress Movement in the 1980s. The paper focuses on Densho's development of a mapping tool, entitled "Sites of Shame", which marks a clear departure from earlier efforts that focused on recording oral histories of survivors. The tool provides users with an unprecedented view of the landscapes and dislocations of WWII incarceration by combining the latest scholarship on WWII incarceration history, data gathered by the US government during WWII, and original research by the Densho team on an interactive map platform. Specifically, the research makes use of government data and geo-mapping technology to map out not only the nearly 100 sites where Japanese Americans were detained but also to follow the outflows of the community following the war. The authors explore how this data-driven approach to memory can shape (or re-shape) perspectives on the resettlement period, while highlighting the effects of forcible removal and present-day community members' relation to home, belonging, and place. 
Naomi Kawamura
Executive Director , DENSHO
Exploring the virtues of protective erasure: Burning papers and the longer history of data protection
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
In his widely-cited article on seven types of forgetting, Paul Connerton characterized erasure as "repressive" and a sort of memory work that was principally carried out by the powerful-i.e. "states, governments or ruling parties"-and imposed upon those lacking the power to resist. But just as different types of forgetting have been identified, there are also distinct types of erasure that can be distinguished and examined as particular historical phenomenon. In this paper, I discuss a variant of erasure that was neither repressive nor state-centric, but rather concerned with protection and engaged in primarily by individuals seeking to assert a level of control against a wider system for the recording and storage of memory. In short, I present a type that I describe as protective erasure, which operates according to a markedly different logic than Connerton's version of repression. 
While the notion of erasure as protection is familiar from attempts to evade the pervasive reach of online memory in the present, such practices of deleting, erasing and destroying personal information are far from restricted to our current digital moment, and can be discerned in a range of historical contexts. To point towards this longer history of (what can anachronistically be termed as) data protection beyond the birth of the internet and networked technologies of memory, I turn to a series of examples from nineteenth-century print culture. More specifically, I explore the genealogy of the desire to avoid unwanted public attention that motivates protective erasure via the archival practices and instinct of various Victorian authors. Through considering how figures such as Charles Dickens and Harriet Martineau sought to destroy those traces of their personal correspondence they wished to shield from future publics, I show how proactive erasure proved a distinctive form of archival agency. In contrast to state oppression, this was a matter of erasure as the self-willed attempts of individuals to protect their posthumous privacy and escape the commemorative gaze of the future. 
(PS. I wasn't really sure which thematic strand this paper might best speak to, but opted for "Memoryscapes" insofar as it opens for comparison of analogue and digital memory regimes.)
Chris Haffenden
Researcher, Uppsala University And The National Library Of Sweden
Social Media Platforms as Memory Site for Georgian Immigrants
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC

In our digital era, social media platforms are widely utilized by Georgian immigrants. There are specific pages and/or closed groups on Facebook where immigrants can post, share, and discuss a wide variety of information and concerns. Georgians abroad largely discuss information about legal residence and migration documents. Many immigrants post suggestions for newcomers regarding jobs and accommodations. One can find posts on places and areas for entertainment and leisure, and also on locations of Georgian cafes and restaurants. Likewise, in the USA, the issues put online usually cover searching jobs, renting apartments, organizing national food fairs, discussing political developments in Georgia, etc. The user-generated data allows us to see more clearly how immigrants themselves represent their national culture, customs, traditions and more within their groups. The social media platforms where users produce content (Bechmann and Lomborg 2013) imitate social interactions in the physical world and can be regarded as a distinct site where 'long-distance nationalism' (Anderson 1992) plays out. Of course, not everyone is actively using the internet. Some migrants are enthusiastically engaged in discussions and share useful information for fellow Georgians on Facebook; others, due to lack of time, just passively scroll down on newsfeeds. Still, diaspora communities significantly utilize a virtual space not only for communication and discussion of everyday issues, but also for symbolic and "cultural expressions", therefore we can discuss Social Media Platforms as Memory Site for Georgiam Immigrants. Given the purpose of my topic, I employ content analysis to engage with the data gathered from Facebook pages and groups of Georgian immigrants for two years, 2020-2022. The recurring topics and subtopics discussed in these virtual spaces will be sorted out , analysed and interpreted. 

Maia Araviashvili
Assistant Professor, Ilia State University Tbilisi
Beyond the online-offline binary: Virtual museums of migration in Central and Eastern Europe
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
Virtual museums experienced their renaissance during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Even before 2020, however, they occupied a prominent place on Central and Eastern Europe's commemorative landscape. Historians and museologists have hitherto focused primarily on state-run brick-and-mortar museums and their impact on memory and identity. Scholars of the Internet analysed how 'ordinary people' negotiate their collective memories through online fora and social media. However, historical museums based on websites and on mobile applications remain under-researched. As a result, commemoration is often analysed from the perspective of binaries between the 'real world' and the Internet, between top-down and bottom-up initiatives, and between national and transnational narratives. My paper goes beyond these binaries by analysing virtual museums in Central and Eastern Europe. How do virtual exhibitions in Germany, Poland and Russia represent (forced) migration differently from their brick-and-mortar counterparts?
My case studies include six museums from Germany, Poland, and Russia. Each institution has both online and brick-and-mortar components. Furthermore, each engages with (forced) migration in the twentieth century – a topic entangled in the collective memory of multiple nations and communities, and at the same time exploited in the national(ist) discourse in the region. I explore how online and offline exhibitions approach: (1) the collection and display of exhibits; (2) space and spatiality; and (3) the museums' activities beyond the exhibition. In each of the three sections of my paper, I probe into the binaries outline above: online vs. offline, top-down vs. bottom-up, national vs. transnational.
I show that virtual museums – in line with 'new museology' – tend to be more democratic than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Projects based on websites or on mobile apps allow for a multiplicity of historical narratives (local, national, transnational), engage with their host and target communities, and exercise self-criticism. The Internet helps curators source and display various – often conflicting – exhibits, testimonies, and interpretations of the past. I argue, however, that virtual museums are more aligned with the principles of 'new museology' only in part thanks to the Internet's democratising potential. Often, online museums are simply newer or more malleable than brick-and-mortar ones. At the same time, digital technologies are used to constrain the visitors' choices, to manipulate their emotions, and to impose certain interpretations of the past for political gain. The Internet, therefore, is not the democratising gamechanger that it promised to be in the 1990s. Instead, it provides new grounds for fighting old battles over history, memory, and identity.
Tadeusz Wojtych
Research Associate, Newcastle University
Virtual Sites of Memory
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
This paper explores how the process of remembering and forgetting takes place on the Internet. It studies how users navigate video-sharing portals and use music to create "virtual sites of memory" a term that expands Winter's notion of physical sites of memory to consider online environments as virtual sites of commemoration. Video-sharing platforms' affordances, such as those of YouTube, enable users not only to disseminate content but also provide them with a social component that allows for non-verbal and written expressions to be recorded and shared. By sampling traditional and YouTube-native content related to the socioeconomic crisis of Argentina in 2001, the niches created on YouTube substantiate that these are active sites of memory, because in the commentary section users discuss historical representations, contest memories, and share their recollections triggered by the audiovisual element. Thus, the social component provided in these online platforms evinces commemorative practices at work.  
Delia Fuentes Korban
Spanish And Italian Language Lecturer, University Of Miami
Executive Director
Uppsala University and the National Library of Sweden
Assistant Professor
Ilia State University Tbilisi
Research Associate
Newcastle University
Spanish and Italian Language Lecturer
University of Miami
Professor Areti Galani
School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University, UK
 Seda Şen
Baskent University
 Ning Zhang
University of Nottingham
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