Global Memories WG | The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory NUBS 1.03
Jul 04, 2023 15:45 - 17:15(Europe/London)
20230704T1545 20230704T1715 Europe/London 2.9. GLOBAL MEMORIES WORKING GROUP PANEL I – LAWS, ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVISTS

Jan Assmann considered "global memories" as a paradoxical notion. It appears contradictory, he writes, because memory "functions in the direction of identity which, in all of its fuzziness, always implies a notion of difference," while globalization "works in the direction of diffusion, blurring of all boundaries and bridging all differences." Although not only the interdependence of memory and identity has been questioned but also that between globalization and homogeneity, the notion of global memories nonetheless presents a point of tension, friction and contestation.Global memories become apparent as a site of contestation when considering the historical forces driving forward globalisation, among them imperialism, colonisation and capitalist expansion. Reflecting on global culture as a product of globalization, Walter Mignolo writes: "Westernization of the planet did not erase the multiplicity of local temporalities. It only disguised them for a while. Five hundred years was a short period and a circumstantial victory to pretend that the regional time of Western modernity was universal time. The Greenwich Meridian is only a reference to administrative temporality, far from absorbing and replacing lived temporalities of human experience and ancestral memory around the planet." If globalization enforced a homogenizing process through westernization,Mignolo suggests, then this era is in decline. Mignolo continues by outlining the fundamental transformations of the present. He writes that "[t]he awareness of pluri versality is ending the epoch of one universal cosmogony, and the change of epoch comes from every corner" (Mignolo 2020, 211). As changes hail from every corner, do these also spell an end to, what may be tentatively called, global memories? Or does the p ...

NUBS 1.03 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Jan Assmann considered "global memories" as a paradoxical notion. It appears contradictory, he writes, because memory "functions in the direction of identity which, in all of its fuzziness, always implies a notion of difference," while globalization "works in the direction of diffusion, blurring of all boundaries and bridging all differences." Although not only the interdependence of memory and identity has been questioned but also that between globalization and homogeneity, the notion of global memories nonetheless presents a point of tension, friction and contestation.

Global memories become apparent as a site of contestation when considering the historical forces driving forward globalisation, among them imperialism, colonisation and capitalist expansion. Reflecting on global culture as a product of globalization, Walter Mignolo writes: "Westernization of the planet did not erase the multiplicity of local temporalities. It only disguised them for a while. Five hundred years was a short period and a circumstantial victory to pretend that the regional time of Western modernity was universal time. The Greenwich Meridian is only a reference to administrative temporality, far from absorbing and replacing lived temporalities of human experience and ancestral memory around the planet." If globalization enforced a homogenizing process through westernization,

Mignolo suggests, then this era is in decline. Mignolo continues by outlining the fundamental transformations of the present. He writes that "[t]he awareness of pluri versality is ending the epoch of one universal cosmogony, and the change of epoch comes from every corner" (Mignolo 2020, 211). As changes hail from every corner, do these also spell an end to, what may be tentatively called, global memories? Or does the proliferation of conflict, crises and changes, on the contrary, enable further globalization of memories? Debates on a possible 'end of globalization' seem to suggest increasing numbers and varieties of cultural memories with global tendencies, whether these concern neo imperialism, de westernisation, decolonisation, the Global South, social justice movements or countless other global memory forms and contents.

The Global Memories Working Group takes up the Memory Studies Association's theme of changing communities to approach the fundamental, wide ranging, and diverse social changes in relation to emerging, dominant and declining 'global memories.' This panel investigates the tensions, frictions and contestations concerning global memories on the level of laws, organizations and activists. Tyler Goldberger analyses the fundamental changes in transnational human rights remembrance of the Spanish Civil War and Franco Dictatorship within the United States from 1937 to 1962. Miray Philips continues this discussion by shifting the focus to transnational memories of Christian persecution between the United States and the Middle East. Danielle Lucksted then asks whether homogenization is mandatory or coexistence is possible in the merging of legal memory norms at the transnational level. Jelena Dureinovic lastly identifies travelling memories of decolonization between East and South by revealing global Cold War relations between Yugoslavia and Africa. Each contribution discusses global memory dynamics between grassroots activism, medium level organisations and larger national as well as transnational institutions, revealing tensions, frictions and conflicts between local and global remembrance.



Tyler J. Goldberger

'Spain in Chains': Transnational Human Rights from the Spanish Civil War and Franco Dictatorship within the United States, 1937-1962

On the eve of Allied victory in World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed, "Most certainly we do not forget Spain's official position with and assistance to our Axis enemies… These memories cannot be wiped." However, by 1962, the 25th anniversary of the first Americans arriving in Spain, Franco's legacy had completely shifted within American national consciousness. The Soviet Union preoccupied the fears of Americans, and Franco Spain became associated with its anti-communist stance over its gross human rights violations. Between 1937 and 1962, the evolution of Franco Spain in collective American memory exhibits the power of amnesia of previous human rights convictions due to Cold War priorities.
Even so, human rights activists continued to acknowledge Franco's reign of terror and oppression. This paper argues that non-state actors, particularly those aligned with New York City and Seattle leftist organizations, fought to keep the transnational memories of the Spanish Civil War and Franco dictatorship alive in the American consciousness despite diplomacy that allowed this past to be forgotten. In light of this silencing by national narratives of United States-Spain relations throughout the Cold War, I assert the importance of these historical agents in transforming human rights rhetoric by illuminating the ways in which non-state actors in the United States counteracted diplomacy with Spain.


Miray Philips

Transnational Memories of Christian Persecution between the United States and the Middle East

Shifting from the national to the global, the interdisciplinary scholarship on memory has seen an influx of work theorizing global, cosmopolitan, transnational, and regional memories. I advance this scholarship by specifically exploring transnational memories of religious kin; these are groups of people whose memories are connected through a shared religious identity. I do so through an empirical exploration of the transnational construction of 'Christian persecution' between Christians in the Middle East and the United States. In the Middle East, Christians grapple with discrimination and violence, giving rise to contested memories about the purpose of life and the meaning of martyrdom. Drawing on a sense of global Christian kinship, far-right and conservative Christians in the United States (and Europe) have become some of their loudest advocates (not without contestation). Based on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Washington, DC among conservative American Christian advocates, I argue that these transnational memories are powerfully shaped by domestic culture wars on religion, specifically driven by a fear that Christianity is in decline. In fact, I show how conservative American Christians domesticate the suffering of Christians in the Middle East to claim that Christians are persecuted everywhere, including in the West. By exploring transnational religious memories, this research sheds light on the role of powerful actors-who themselves have not experienced direct violence-in shaping transnational memories of religious persecution for political gain.


Danielle Lucksted

 Homogenization or Coexistence? The Merging of Legal Memory Norms at the Transnational Level

The juridification of memory in the decades following the Holocaust brought with it new legal frameworks, including "memory laws": legislations that monitor statements about and commemorations of the past. As with the traveling of any norm across state lines, though, conflicts are likely to arise when it comes into contact with diverse cultures. The same holds true for national memory norms in an ever-globalizing world. Since the 1980s, approximately 30 nation-states have implemented some form of legislation prohibiting genocide denial: the specific subset of memory laws at the center of this paper. Building on the author's existing research on the diffusion of "globalized" memory law scripts, this paper examines the specific tensions at play when regional or national legal norms concerning memory are elevated to the transnational level. Specifically, it analyzes efforts to unite memory laws under a "common European memory" umbrella such as the Council of Europe's 2003 Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime and the European Union's 2008 Framework Decision. Transnational legal efforts like these reflect a now-global memory space: one that requires the disentanglement of memories contained by nations. A timeline of memory laws through the present day highlights new legal confrontations with old memory conflicts. More specifically, we find an emphasis on Holocaust uniqueness in Western Europe "clashing" with the centrality of memories of communism in Central/Eastern Europe. This emphasis opens inquiry into present-day decolonization efforts and comparative memory of atrocity writ large.


Jelena Đureinović

Decolonisation and Travelling Memory between East and South: Yugoslavia and Africa in the Global Cold War

The paper combines the approaches of global history and memory studies and investigates veterans' internationalism and the role of historical memory in the networks of solidarity between Yugoslavia and Africa during decolonisation. The paper centres on SUBNOR, the association of the veterans of the People's Liberation War, the Partisans' struggle during the Second World War in Yugoslavia. SUBNOR was not only a veteran association; it was the central mnemonic agent in Yugoslavia working on educating the domestic and international public about the Yugoslav socialist revolution. This paper is interested in the international dimension of SUBNOR activities and their networks with active anti-colonial liberation movements and veteran associations across continents. The narrative of the shared past of the struggle for freedom underlay the Yugoslav veterans' internationalism in the postcolonial world. In addition to the advocacy for peace and improvement of veteran status within international organisations, SUBNOR engaged in the global promotion of the People's Liberation War and liberation movements and veteran associations from Yugoslavia and the Global South exchanged their experiences in memory work. The paper focuses, first, on Algeria as the blueprint for the Yugoslav support for African liberation movements and, second, on the liberation movements of Portuguese-ruled Africa (PAIGC, FRELIMO, MPLA) whom the Yugoslav veteran revolutionaries considered closest to themselves in their ideology and worldview.

History PhD Candidate
,
William & Mary
PhD Candidate
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University of Minnesota
PhD Student
,
Stony Brook University
Postdoctoral researcher
,
University of Vienna
Associate Professor of Sociology
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CUNY/Borough of Manhattan Community College
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