Meeting room 229, Psychologicum (Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, 00170 Helsinki)
Ann Rigney (Utrecht University): A new narrative for Europe: what are the alternatives?
Since Renan (1882), it is generally believed that collective identities are sustained by a shared cultural memory. In line with this, European heritage institutions, including the European House of History, have been concerned to develop a common over-arching narrative for Europe that would provide symbolic and affective support for other processes of integration. In my presentation I will draw on recent insights in the interdisciplinary field of cultural memory studies to provide a more dynamic and generative model of the relationship between identity and memory, presenting the latter as 'processual and relational' (Olick 2007) rather than as a monolithic fixed legacy. Drawing on a range of examples from across Europe, I will show how cultural memory, while it is often invoked as a bulwark against change, also operates as a communicative resource for making new connections across traditional borders.
Ann Rigney is professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University and founder of the Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies. She has published widely in the field of memory studies, both on theoretical issues and with reference to specific developments in memory cultures since the early 19th century. Her many publications include Imperfect Histories (Cornell UP, 2001), The Afterlives of Walter Scott: Memory on the Move (Oxford UP, 2012), Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory (ed. with A. Erll, de Gruyter, 2009), Transnational Memory: Circulation, Articulation, Scales (ed. with C. De Cesari; de Gruyter, 2014). In 2018 she was awarded an ERC advanced grant for her project Remembering Activism: The Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe (ReAct), which will run until 2024.