HCAS Symposium:
Memory – access denied?>>


Contact Information

    Fabianinkatu 24 (P.O. Box 4)
    00014 University of Helsinki

    Tel. +358 2 941 21735



Facebook banner link


Twitter link

youtube banner link


Memory access denied?
Political landscapes of memory and inclusion in contemporary Europe.

Versions, tendencies and analytical novelties.

International symposium on politics of memory and issues of inclusion of minorities

November 22–24, 2017

organized by
Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland,
University of Tartu, Estonia, University of Latvia, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology (FSI), Riga Stradins University & Žanis Lipke Memorial

in cooperation with
Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
Helsinki University, Faculty for Art History
University College London


Rationale: Challenges in memory politics in contemporary Europe
Two aims of the symposium

The symposium will reflect upon scenarios of inclusion of minorities into the changing memory politics of European states and societies.

Since British sociologist Zygmunt Bauman introduced the term “liquid modernity”, defining it as postmodern identity, forms of solidarity and scenarios for exclusion of minority groups and the construction of the Other, have changed dramatically. Solidarity and communities across political spectrum in Europe are becoming less liquid, showing signs of new essentialism and romantic nationalism, supported by political discourses of populism. The situation in Europe has become more complex and unstable. Throughout the EU, the ‘integration’ of minority ethnic groups is widely perceived to be linked to challenges in relation to the politics of migration. There are, in addition, new challenges as far right ideologies gain popularity by exploiting the collective anxieties of the European population. We are, it seems, at the beginning of a new form of political radicalization via memory politics, which is already producing new forms of exclusion and intolerance. In many cases, social cohesion is developed on the basis of new and revitalized firewalls between mnemonic content related to majorities and minorities that exclude alternative, unwanted and challenging memories. A further challenge is the issue of how to represent young people with non-European cultural backgrounds within European history, which requires the narrating of traumatic experiences of the 20th century.

Another major aim of the symposium is to foster reflection on new approaches to collective memory analysis. It may seem that the mainstreaming of memory analysis in the last decade, which led to a burgeoning of theoretical frames, shaped mostly by the German school of cultural memory (Jan and Aleida Assmanns, Astrid Erll) and the Anglo-American school of collective memory (Jeffrey K. Olick, Daniel Levy) that developed independently until the early 2000s.

Is there anything new in the theoretical approach to collective memory studies or have we arrived at the point where there will be nothing else to add? Are new forms of memory politics emerging, for example in the highly diversified digital realm.? Are there (new) shortcomings in theories of (collective) memory which become evident in light of the latest re-configurations in the global mnemonic landscape. In other words, do existing theories of memory adequately account for these new transformations and, if not, where is there the most pressing need for reformulations?

The following questions are general suggestions for themes and sessions of the conference that can be extended and modified as the programme develops.

  1. What are recent developments and trends in narratives of the past in Europe?
  2. What is the role of collective memories and memory politics in creating cohesive societies, simultaneously empowering societies for sustainable democracy?
  3. What shifts are taking place in counter-narratives and in what acts and performances of memory are these changes taking shape? Are there new “wrong memories”? How is it possible to overcome new mnemonic dichotomies?
  4. How can those constructed as ethnic and religious Others be included in the frame of various European societies?

November 22, 2017 (seminar room 136 at Fabianikatu 24 A)

15.00–16:00 Opening session. Remembering democracy: memory politics and democratic culture in Europe.

Welcoming addresses by:
Representative of the Collegium for Advanced studies, University of Helsinki Ms. Minna Palander-Collin, Mr. Kai Gläser, Project manager, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Regionalprojekt Nordische Länder, Dr. Deniss Hanovs, Riga Stradins university

Key note speech by Prof. Dr. Aleida Assmann, University of Konstanz, Germany:Learning from History? The Crisis and future of the EU
followed by a Q & A session

16:00 Coffee break

16:30–18:30 Session I: Traumas, heroes and symbols revisited: European landscapes of memory studies

Chaired by: Ene Kõresaar

Dr. Pawel Leszkowicz, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan: The Art of Queer Memory. The Artistic and Curatorial Strategies to Commemorate LGBTQ Past in Eastern Europe.

Dr. Miguel Vázquez Liñán, University of Seville: Memory, Communication and Social Change. Communicating the past to promote peace-building in Europe.

Dr. Deniss Hanovs, Riga Stradins University, Dr. Valdis Tēraudkalns, University of Latvia: Monstrous spectacle revisited: strategies to cope with traumatic experience of 1789

Dr. Tuomas Tepora, Helsinki University, Collegium for Advanced Studies: Catering to Everyone's Desires? The Changing and Conflicting Images of Marshal Mannerheim in Finnish memory politics.
followed by a Q & A session

19:00 Dinner for conference speakers


November 23, 2017 (seminar room 136 at Fabianikatu 24 A)

10:00–12:00 Session II: Politics of integration and memory communities: in search of new solutions. Baltic versions

Chaired by: Dr. Deniss Hanovs

Dr. Martins Kaprans, University of Latvia: Challenging the Kremlin memory regime: How do Latvia's Russian-speakers frame the Soviet occupation and WWII?

Dr. Renja Suominen-Kokkonen, University of Helsinki: Constructing Orient in Finland: race, ethnicity, and religion.

Dr. Ivan Sablin, Center for Historical Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg: Remembering Buddhism in the Metropole: Dissidence, Museumification, and Scholarship in Leningrad and Saint Petersburg, 1950s-1990s.

Dr. Vladislav Volkov, University of Latvia: Ethnic minorities and varieties of collective memories in Latvia. 1991- 2016.
followed by a Q & A session

12:00–13:30 Lunch for conference speakers

13:30–15:30 Session III:  Memory exhausted? Theoretical reflections

Chaired by:  Dr. Pawel Leszkowicz

Dr. Ene Koresaar, Tartu University: Rethinking postmemory.

Dr. Elena Trubina, Ural Federal University: On Spatiality of Collective Memory: Scales and Times of Tourist Town.

Dr. Anne Heimo, University of Turku: Reappraising the role of  individual memories and vernacular memory in cultural memory studies.

Dr. Ulla Savolainen, University of Helsinki: Thinking through creativity and personal and cultural memory.

Dr. Igors Gubenko, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies/University of Latvia: Haunting futures: the dislocated temporality of collective memory.

15:30–16:00 Coffee break

16:00–18:00 Session IV: Memory politics in media: history, monuments and mnemonic gaps

Chaired by: Dr. Igors Gubenko

Dr. Anda Rozukalne, Riga Stradins University: Aggressive memories? Analysis of audience reactions to the news stories on significant historical events.

Dr. Jörg Hackmann, University of Szczecin: Monuments of gratitude, neglect and rejection: Memory politics and the legacy of the 20th century.

Dr. Eneken Laanes, Under and Tuglas Literature Centre/ Tallinn University: Memory and Human Rights in Kristina Norman's Video Art.

Dr. Ineta Lipša, University of Latvia: “Wrong” Individual Memories as a Counter-Discourse on Politics of Memory of “Traditional Values”: a Case of a Latvian Queer Man’s Diary (1940-1990)

18:00–18:30 “When shall we meet again…?” Roundtable discussion on the follow up of the conference

18:30–19:00 Presentation of a project related to the issue of memory and cohesion by Zanis Lipke Memorial from Riga (museum functions as a pedagogical frame for inclusion of the Other, the minorities into Latvian society). Virtual tour through the museum by Maris Gailis, Chair of the Board of the Museum, former prime minister of Latvia and Lolita Tomsone, Director of the Memorial.

20:00 Dinner

For details and questions please contact:
Prof. Dr. Deniss Hanovs, Riga, Latvia