The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory NUBS 2.10
Jul 07, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230707T1100 20230707T1230 Europe/London 9.1. Memory and Post/Decolonization in (Post)Soviet Context NUBS 2.10 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Boundary making and ethnic exclusion/inclusion between imperial and post-colonial production of history and memory (the case of Georgia)
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC
This paper intends to exemplify how the colonial mechanisms of ethnic categorization, division, and history production determine the current politics of inclusion and exclusion in conflict-torn societies of the so-called former Soviet space. The project aims to deconstruct the structure of the ethnocentric and exclusive historical knowledge of the Soviet time that still divides closely related Georgian and Abkhaz people who have long and rich experience of peaceful coexistence. What looks like a micro-history of a tiny region of Georgia will contribute to the scholarship about the larger and complex phenomenon of the emergence of territorial nationalisms and clashes along ethnic lines in the post-communist era. 
In particular, the project deals with the historiographical foundations of ethnic boundary construction in the case of the dynamic of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict since the late 1980s. 
I will reflect on this issue in the framework of actors (historians) and institutions (research institutions and universities) within different political conjunctures and "memory regimes. "
I will try to see the individual and his works in institutional surrounding in which historical knowledge and memory is produced, cultivated, and reproduced. I will try to illuminate the political impact of academic publications, discussions, and debates-for instance, the role of researchers and educational institutions in ethnic mobilization from the 1950s to the 1990s and in contemporary times. The contested Georgian and Abkhaz historiographies centered on mapping the territories and constructing "ethnic landscapes. "This sort of "territorialization of memory" was/is an important symbolic and political factor in the Georgian-Abkhaz relationship's gradual deterioration. 
The main questions focus on how and why the contested narratives exist. Why are they focused on boundaries, division, and exclusion? Did the historian's craft (M. Block) bring the conflict as an outcome? Can history be a causal mechanism independent of the political and social environment? On the contrary, are contested narratives the result of the conflict defined by other factors (structural, institutional, social)? Why do groups then see history as a crucial factor? To what extent could contested narratives and historical debates be considered as means and instruments in the hands of political actors?  All these questions refer to the practices of "using and abusing the past" and how it is used.


Presenters
MT
Malkhaz Toria
Associate Professor, Head Of The Memory Study Center , Ilia State University
Memory practices on the post-imperial Russian heritage in contemporary Poland
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC
There has been a long-lasting discussion in the social sciences on various types of colonialism and on defining the situation of East-Central Europe as a postcolonial condition. A large part of these discussions covers the imperialism of Tsarist Russia and of the Soviet Union. Research on the post-colonial condition relates generally to the study of the influence of tsarist and Soviet rule on economic and political relations, on culture and the way of thinking, however, there has been no extensive research on social practices regarding the tangible heritage left by the years of Russian rule in East-Central Europe, while some elements of the post-imperial Russian heritage survived the communist era and function in urban space in different ways, subjected to the practices of discovering, concealing and redefining.

As Karl Schlӧgel noted, historical events and phenomena always have a spatial dimension. Social memory researchers also pay increasingly more attention to the material, spatial and landscape dimensions of both remembering and forgetting, and emphasize the usefulness of the palimpsest category for studying social relations with the past in urban space. The issue of tangible post-imperial Russian heritage in Poland is particularly interesting here thanks to various forms of its presence in space. Many elements associated with tsarist imperialism, including monuments and Orthodox churches were removed. To this day, however, objects such as some Orthodox churches and cemeteries, military facilities (forts and citadels), public buildings and urban infrastructure facilities that were built during the tsarist rule have remained in the landscape of Polish cities. This kind of heritage may pose an interpretative challenge for the contemporary creators of the policy of remembrance and narratives about the history of Poland, as it carries a double meaning. On the one hand, it is a testimony to political domination and enslavement in the past, and constitutes the basis for building martyrological and heroic narratives. However, on the other hand, it is a legacy of development and modernization that took place in the 19th century and sometimes is presented as a testimony to the multicultural past of Poland. 

In my paper I will focus on the post-imperial Russian heritage in Poland's capital city – Warsaw. I will apply categories developed by Christoffer Kølvraa and Britta Timm Knudsen associated with the practices on post-colonial heritage: "repression", "removal" and "reframing" to analyse contemporary social practices on post-imperial Russian built heritage. I will analyse how these practices are connected to the narrations on the past of the Polish state and the city itself and which social actors were active (and how) in the sphere on the (re)interpretation of the post-imperial Russian heritage in different social circumstances (from the communist times through different periods of post-communism to the contemporary times of war in Ukraine).
Presenters
MG
Małgorzata Głowacka-Grajper
Professor, The Center For Research On Social Memory, Faculty Of Sociology, University Of Warsaw
Reparative vs Repetitive Histories. Statue Wars as the Realm of Intersection of the Post-Colonial and the Post-Socialist Discourse
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC
After three decades of living within the democratic political system, the Central European region has experienced the fight for its future political and societal inclination. The strong illiberal tendencies, consisting of the rise of populism, nationalism, racism, and conservatism, have penetrated various spheres of academic, political, cultural, and everyday life. The democracy seems to be sliding back, while the authoritarian or oligarch individual figures are reaching the prominence. Nevertheless, the opposite social forces can be also detected. There exist young political and social movements, whose interest and agenda lies in the politics of identity, social and environmental justice, and the issue of decolonization. And thus, as no surprise, the new cultural wars have unfolded across the society. And statues in public space have become one of the war fields.
The paper provides a case study of the Czech statue war that revolves around the public debate and actions related with the commemoration of the communist past. In this specific context, it shows a particular aspect of this debate in which the post-colonial and the post-socialist discourse intersect. Which narratives of the communist past are activated if public monuments coming from the totalitarian era are on stage? Which decolonial repertoires are used by polarized social groups which protect and challenge the monuments? And how is the public debate re-framed if the local monuments are contested in the name of the social justice movements Black Lives Matter and Decolonize This Place that are bringing a new ideological framework into the regional context? 
The paper is built upon a theoretical framework investigating if/how the post-colonial theory can/ cannot be applied on the political and social experience of the former satellite countries of the USSR. It presents the basic lines of this discussion through work of the renowned authors like Tlostanova, Gagyi, or Sowa, but it emphasizes the specific situation in the Central European region. Therefore, it reflects upon this literature through the prism of the illiberal turn and the concepts of ethnopopulism (Vachudova 2020) and Eastern-Europeanism (Kalmar 2022). It demonstrates different conceptual groundings of the public debate on decolonization in Western and Central Europe based on proposing the opposition between reparative (Western Europe) and repetitive (Central Europe) histories. It shows how the uneasy dealing with the totalitarian past in the Czech Republic frequently activates the decolonial discourse and discussions about the political and ideological imperialism of the former East and the contemporary West. 
The findings draw upon various data; specifically, they come from the analysis of social media discussions, media article discussions, photographs, and semi-structured interviews. In terms of methods, the conference paper demonstrates the use of qualitative pluri-methodological research in which elements of digital ethnography are combined with visual analysis. All the examined data were published from 2018 until 2022, and therefore the paper provides an insight into the latest formations of cultural memory in the Czech Republic that is newly encountering the decolonial agenda in the public discussion and the public space.
Presenters
AP
Andrea Pruchova Hruzova
Postdoctoral Researcher, The Institute Of Contemporary History, Czech Academy Of Sciences
Partially Recognised but Doubly Forgotten: Russophone Koreans’ Aphasia in Post-Socialist Memory-scape
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC
This paper attempts to locate the aphasia of Russophone Koreans at the intersection of post-Soviet amnesia and South Korea's anti-colonial memory-scape. Since the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, former Soviet Koreans have begun to migrate to South Korea, with numbers sharply increasing since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea. Today, many of these Russophone Koreans have formed their own communities in industrial areas of South Korea, taking factory jobs that domestic workers avoid. While the number of Russophone Koreans in South Korea increased, the memory landscapes of South Korea and Russia underwent a shift in the representation of the past, which I would call a 'post-socialist memory-scape'.
In South Korea, these Russophone Koreans were positioned somewhere between anti-Japanese nationalist discourse and anti-communist tropes in making sense of these foreign Koreans, as they are mainly represented in public discourses as descendants of anti-Japanese national heroes and victims of Stalinist purges. This reflects their displacement from the Korean peninsula by Japanese colonialism since the late 19th century and their resettlement by Stalin from the Russian Far East to Central Asia. It seems that the South Korean rediscovery of Koreans in the former Soviet Union signified a shift towards the neoliberal politics of recognition which filtered out their socialist experience. Their anti-Japanese activities in the Russian Far East in the colonial period were only incorporated as a part of Korean national history. In other words, the socialist experience of Russophone Koreans in the Soviet Union was implicitly and negatively understood as a consequence of Stalinist repression.
In post-Soviet Russia and Central Asia, where the majority of Russophone Koreans are residing, the retrospect of their displacements in the past erupted in the early 1990s in the form of memoirs, biographies, news articles, and self-funded publications as a part of glasnost and post-Soviet rehabilitation on the repression in past. However, it quickly demised and was buried under post-Soviet oblivion on the repression of the past which has been addressed in academic works (Humphrey 1999, Etkind 2013, Oushakine 2007;2013). Having lived as the only East Asian diaspora in the Soviet Union, the history of Koreans became exceptional in post-Soviet amnesia, as their history has never been remembered in the marginalization of the Far Eastern Asian part of Russia.   
It was in this double oblivion in which Russophone Koreans' aphasia emerged in South Korea in response to the disjuncture of memory-scape across East Asia and Eurasia. Russophone Koreans' aphasia is not only physiological but also cultural. Based on ethnographic research with an extended family who came from the Russian Far East to South Korea, this proposed paper will examine this aphasia as their difficulty in learning the Korean language in the creation of their own communities and also as the legacy of their becoming of Soviets in socialist past.   


Presenters
HP
Hyun-Gwi Park
Assistant Professor, Kyung Hee University
The Battle of Spectacles in Ukraine: The Case of Monuments on Ukrainian and Crimean Telegram channels
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC
Shortly since the military invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the latter has been expressing and satisfying its overwhelming desires to rediscover its Ukrainian cultural and historical origins and to completely forget not only its Soviet and communist past – as it happened after the USSR's dissolution in 1991 or during and after the Maidan Uprising and the Revolution of Dignity of 2013-14 – but also to stub up and cut out any Russian and Imperial roots from sight and from memories. It led to de-Sovietization and decommunization, which this time got amplified to the scale of and grew into the processes of de-Russification/de-Imperialization/decolonization and de-Belorusization on the territory of Ukraine and its allies in the EU. 
At the same time, on the territory occupied or annexed by the RF the opposite policies on monuments have been implemented. On invading and taking control over some part of Ukraine, the RF's forces instantaneously launch de-Ukrainization, re-installation and restoration of Soviet monuments, Russification, which affects or erases Ukrainian heritage objects. Another practice is an attempt to 'de-Ukrainize' the non-occupied Ukrainian territory by shelling, damaging or destroying heritage assets. 
The practices of Ukraine and the RF executed on heritage are based on certain ideological perspectives. This clash of antagonistic views fuels not only the war of monuments on the spot, but also the war of spectacles on media. The reverse perspectives of the two rivals construe opposing and conflicting interpretations, visual and verbal images of events concerning monuments on social media.
In this paper, I aim at analyzing spectacles or cultural and historical heritage battles over monuments on social media, namely Telegram, during the Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022 resulting in rescaping the physical space, reshaping thinking, affecting memory and creating a perspectival divide which in its turn triggers military actions. The main objectives of the research are establishing and mapping practices exercised on monuments in Ukraine's different regions – controlled by Ukraine, occupied/contested/deoccupied, annexed in 2014, investigating Ukrainian and Russian perspectives on Telegram concerning monuments and examining verbal and visual images created on Ukrainian and Crimean channels.
The data for the research have been drawn from 32 Ukrainian and 11 pro-Russian Crimean Telegram channels by monitoring them from 24 February 2022 till 1 October 2022. The monitored channels fall into several categories: all-Ukrainian/national, regional ones, channels of certain cities and towns; official channels (e.g., governmental, channels of regional or city's administrations and administrators, of certain official media platforms) or more popular ones; channels of the Ukrainian territory, of Ukrainian contested areas, of Ukrainian occupied territory in 2022, of the annexed Crimea in 2014.
Presenters
AP
Anastasiya Pshenychnykh
Ukrainian Fellow, Visiting Academic, Loughborough University
Associate professor, Head of the Memory Study Center
,
Ilia State University
Professor
,
The Center for Research on Social Memory, Faculty of Sociology, University of Warsaw
Postdoctoral Researcher
,
The Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences
Assistant Professor
,
Kyung Hee University
Ukrainian fellow, visiting academic
,
Loughborough University
Doctoral researcher
,
University of Helsinki
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