The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory NUBS 1.13
Jul 06, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230706T1100 20230706T1230 Europe/London 6.1. Colonial Memories/Memories of Colonialism NUBS 1.13 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Memory-Making and the Question of Nostalgia
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 10:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 11:30:00 UTC
In the aftermath of the abrogation of article 370 in August 2019, the Kashmiri body can be best described as a site of attempted depoliticization. It is a visibly depoliticized body rendered with a repressed and dysmorphic understanding of its historical past, distorted present, and unimaginable future. However, just through the attempt of imposed depoliticization of the colonized body, it becomes the very site of politics. The site of an attempted depoliticized Kashmiri body becomes a curious case of investigation in relation to its conception and re-conception of memory, memory-making, living memory, post-memory, and nostalgia as a cause and consequence of memory-making. Disentangling from romanticism and its ramifications, this paper attempts to configure the relationship of a Kashmiri body's narratives with memory in relation to nostalgia, considering its presence or its absence, particularly probing the generational aspect as a stimulation. In this paper, I argue that a Kashmiri body finds itself stuck spatially and temporally in the now- which is ironically stuck in the past. Remembrance asserts the occurrence of certain events, whether traumatic or not, in the past. However, in Kashmir the overlapping of several events collapses into singular core memory, sometimes inherited, sometimes lived, sometimes both- thus in glitch, thus schizophrenic, and possibly distorted. It becomes equally crucial to reinvestigate the Indian colonial rule as an interruption in the indigenous memory making which far exceeds the formation of India as a nation-state post its independence from British colonial rule. It also demands the reimaging of memory as continual, a living experience of violence that has stretched into one singular event. In this paper, I weave together the Kashmiri transgenerational memory as a living memory of which trauma and nostalgia are intricately and intimately connected with India's colonial military occupation forming an obvious parenthesis.  I argue that while narrating the everyday lived experiences, the Kashmiri body does not invoke a "sad process of remembering" nor is there a visible practice of imploring nostalgia. Using autoethnographic reflections along with eight semi-structured oral histories of local Kashmiri people, I attempt to touch upon the disjointed affair between living transgenerational memory as an ongoing phenomenon, non-remembrance with an obscene longing to forget, and relationship with nostalgia as inundated with trauma. 

Presenters Ain Ul Khair .
Ph.D. Student, Central European University, Department Of International Relations
'Lascars' Below Deck: The Making of a British Maritime Tradition
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
The interwar transatlantic liners and cruise ships occupy an important place in the imaginary of British modernity and there remains a veritable cottage industry of handsome books memorialising the grand aesthetics of maritime leisure. As both technologies and environments, these ships have become powerful symbols of nostalgia, harkening back to a 'Golden Age' of British development and international prominence. Most scholarly accounts of life on board the ships tend to celebrate how passengers experienced geographical mobility as leisure, enjoyed a marked break with the time and space of labour, and anticipated future freedoms in everyday life.
However, this is only part of the story of the cruise ship, for these 'modern' experiences were rooted in the context of an imperial maritime logic inherited from British colonialism. The iconic promotional images of cruise passengers basking on promenade decks were erected upon the hidden labour of 'lascars' whose exploitation was the condition of possibility for British maritime leisure. This presentation explores the lives of those South Asian seamen by examining archival photographs, oral testimonies and shipboard diaries stored at the University of Glasgow Shipping Archives. These autobiographical texts evoke memories of a different modernity, one concealed by a heritage industry that commemorates captains and consumers. Combining historical materialist analysis and close textual readings, I examine how racial exploitation, entrenched in the capital-labour relations of the cruise industry, underpinned an experiential gap which shaped the meanings of 'freedom' and 'mobility' in British modernity.
Presenters
EC
Eamonn Connor
Postgraduate Student, University Of Glasgow
Colonialism as a “Crime against Humanity”? On the (im)possibility of political apologies
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
In 2021, Algerian historian Benjamin Stora presented his "Rapport sur les questions mémorielles portant sur la colonisation et la guerre d'Algérie" to French President Emmanuel Macron. In the same year, the German Foreign Office announced that the negotiations with the Namibian government on the official recognition of the genocide committed against the OvaHerero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908 in the former colony of "German Southwest Africa" could be concluded. In a press release issued on 28 May 2021, then-Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) declared that "[i]n light of Germany's historical and moral responsibility [...] we [will] ask Namibia and the descendants of the victims for forgiveness". In contrast to the German approach, Stora's report raises the question of whether the formulation of an official apology can be sufficient to achieve a "reconciliation of memories". In response, the Elysée Palace issues the slogan "no excuse, no repentance". To date, neither the French nor the German governments have issued an official apology. Speaking of "the recognition of the immeasurable suffering" or rejecting apologies as an expression of "repentance" draws attention to the importance of emotions in postcolonial memory politics. In his work on "collective memory", the sociologist Maurice Halbwachs (1985 [1925]) emphasizes that only those pasts are relevant to contemporary societies that can also be experienced affectively. Applied to the field of memory studies, this means that the discursive attribution of emotions determines the ways in which societies do or do not assign importance to the coming to terms with their colonial past. The paper departs from the assumption that emotional discourses regulate what is recognized as official knowledge about the past and thus rationalized as an 'obligation to remember'. The paper examines the ways in which emotional discourses make political apologies for the colonization of Algeria in France and the genocide against the OvaHerero and Nama in Germany an impossible instrument in postcolonial memory politics until today. By analyzing newspaper articles, speeches, policy papers, government and NGO publications as well as websites, the paper identifies the emotional mechanisms through which the Algerian War is remembered while the colonial expansion of the 19th century is affectively dis-remembered. In Germany, on the other hand, the discourse analysis reveals ambivalent references to the notion of "moral responsibility" through which the genocide is recognized while the descendants of the victims and their claims are ignored. Methodologically, the paper interrelates German and French memory politics in order to analyze the transnational effectiveness of discursively produced emotional orders against the background of political apologies as a global phenomenon. Comparisons have the potential to examine the relationship between transnationalization and nation-state oriented memory politics. More importantly, it serves as a tool to critically reflect on the normative ideas associated with the demand to work through colonial pasts. Since political apologies reflect existing power relations, consequentially, their articulation should not be misunderstood as a desirable conclusion of the process of coming to terms with historical crimes.
Presenters
SR
Sahra Rausch
Research Assistant, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena (Germany)
Isolated Memories? Remembering (and Forgetting) Colonial Deportations from Libya to Italy
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
Europe's troubled relationship with its colonial past has gained increasing academic attention over the past few years. It is widely agreed that Europe struggles to deal with the colonial past and its legacy both at a national and supranational level. At the same time though, local and emplaced forms of memory work around the topic are seemingly under-represented in the academic debate. This paper seeks to address this gap by exploring the extent to which colonial deportations are remembered (and forgotten) by the communities of three small Italian islands, namely Ustica, Ponza, and Favignana.  
In 1911, the Italian liberal government launched the colonial occupation of Libya, which was met with unexpected and prolonged resistance by the local population. Between 1911 and the early 1930s, Italy resorted to mass deportations to the metropole to sedate local rebellions. The practice continued for more than two decades, under both the liberal (1861-1922) and fascist regimes (1922-1943). Thousands of 'rebels' (including women and children) were deported to the South of Italy, mostly to remote and small islands, where a police exile regime for common criminals was already in place. Under the fascist regime, Libyan deportees coexisted with anti-fascist opponents sent to confinement by Mussolini. Imprisonment and confinement were routine practices for most European colonial empires. Yet, with a few exceptions, these were implemented within the colony, and not in the metropole. In this sense, the Italian case is almost unique, and therefore deserving of academic attention.  
Similarly to other European countries, Italy has a troubled relationship with its colonial past. As some scholars observed, Italian colonialism is either removed from public debate, or framed as an overall positive experience through which the national community showcased its benevolent and selfless character.  
The presence of Libyan deportees is remembered (and forgotten) differently across former sites of confinement. While some islands dedicated cemeteries or commemorative plaques to the victims of the deportation regime, others are seemingly oblivious to this particular aspect of their local history. Nonetheless, between the late 1980s and 2010, Colonel Qaddafi would send delegations from Libya to some of the islands to commemorate the victims of the deportation regime, thus prompting local communities to engage with their past. 
The articulation of memory work around colonial deportations in former sites of confinement potentially challenges national collective amnesia, but its ability to shape public discourse is seemingly hindered by its locatedness. Therefore, this paper seeks to explore the extent to which local forms of memory work around colonial deportations challenge or reproduce national collective amnesia. In order to do so, the paper adopts a comparative approach to analyse the factors driving the articulation of communicative and cultural forms of memory work around colonial deportations on the three islands. At the same time, the paper seeks to throw light on the factors explaining the lack of memory work on the issue. 
Presenters
GR
Galadriel Ravelli
Dr/Lecturer, University Of Bath
Postgraduate student
,
University of Glasgow
Research Assistant
,
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena (Germany)
Dr/Lecturer
,
University of Bath
Ph.D. Student
,
Central European University, Department of International Relations
Postdoctoral researcher
,
University of Vienna
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