Workshop Victims, Perpetrators, Implicated Subjects in Central and Eastern Europe
3-4 June 2021
Project workshop with a public keynote lecture by Ljiljana Radonić Read more ...
Thursday, 3 June (open to public)
16.00 – Online keynote address
“Perpetrators and Collaborators in Post-Socialist Memorial Museums in the Era of Victimhood” (Ljiljana Radonić, Institute of Culture Studies and Theatre History of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna)
Please register here
17.30 – Virtual cocktail hour
Friday, 4 June (open only to the presenting participants)
10.00 – Introduction (Eneken Laanes, Tallinn University)
10.30 – Session 1: Available Subject Positions in Museums and Memorials
“Diversification and Alternative Subject Positions: On Museological Representation of Communism in Estonia” (Ene Kõresaar and Kirsti Jõesalu, University of Tartu)
“Portraying Perpetration, Victimhood, and Implication at Sites of Soviet Repression in Moscow” (Margaret Comer, Tallinn University)
11:30 – Coffee Break
11:45 – Session 2: Rethinking the Implicated Subject
“Man-Made Famine Without Perpetrators? To the Question of the Rank-and-File Perpetrators in the Holodomor Studies” (Daria Mattingly, University of Cambridge)
“Perpetrator and/or Victim – Family History and the Totalitarian Condition in Stepanova and Lebedev” (Anja Tippner, University of Hamburg)
12.45 – Lunch
14.00 – Session 3: The Implicated Subject in Film
“Spectacular Provocation: Implicated Spectators in I Do Not Care if We go Down in History as Barbarians”(Diana Popa, Tallinn University)
“The Ethics and Aesthetics of Holocaust Perpetrator Memory in two Lithuanian Films: Purple Mist (2019) and Izaokas (2019)” (Violeta Davoliute, Vilnius University)
15:00 – Coffee Break
15:15 – Session 4: General Discussion and Workshopping
16:00 – End of the Workshop
Many scholars in memory studies have drawn attention to the inadequacy of the victim-perpetrator dichotomy for understanding political violence in various historical situation and even more so in remembering the violence by subsequent generations. Eastern Europe is a case in point here. Soviet repressions in Russia often turned perpetrators of the first wave of repressions into the victims of the next (Etkind 2013). During WWII in East Central Europe, Ukraine and the Baltic states the victims of one occupying regime sometimes became the perpetrators of the next. During the socialist regime in Eastern Europe most of people did not occupy neither of these two positions, but still suffered and/or were complicit with autoritarian regimes. How to describe the convergence of these subject positions in relations to violence?
And what are the forms of implication (Rothberg 2019) of contemporary generations of Eastern Europeans in this past? More often than not we see the national states in the region externalise violence and identify with victims of past violence without bringing up the question of responsibility for collaboration and complicity. How to describe the implicated subjects in Eastern Europe and what are the ways in which they are implicated in the past of the region?
The workshop seeks answers to these questions by exploring commemorative practices and aesthetic media of memory that enable to forge subject positions that are resisted and made difficult to imagine or to adopt by the politics of memory in different contexts in Eastern Europe.
Translating Memories Speaker Series: Andrea Virginás
13 April 2021
21st Century Historical Films and Small Nations' Collective Memory: Examples from Hungary and Romania Read more ...
21st Century Historical Films and Small Nations’ Collective Memory: Examples from Hungary and Romania
Andrea Virginás (Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17.00 (EEST)
Please join us here
In the talk I will present the first results of an individual research that aims to describe, analyze and theorize the role of 21st century historical films in an Eastern European/Hungarian, Polish and Romanian context, films that have often been met with resounding success within their domestic markets. The interpretative framework derives from cultural trauma theory and memory studies combined with the analysis of fictional feature films, and Thomas Elsaesser’s argument according to which European cinema may be conceived of “as a dispositif that constitutes, through an appeal to memory and identification, a special form of address, at once highly individual and capable of fostering a sense of belonging” (Elsaesser 2005, 21). A short introduction will sketch the phenomenon within the context of the only major national cinema in the former Eastern Bloc, the Polish one, with reference to the 2007 Katyn or the 2015 Ida, suggesting that the robustness of the industry and the size of the domestic market have been important factors in succeeding to activate “3rd generation” memory work (Assmann 2012) referring chiefly to the Second World War. Then, based on the model of Aleida Assmann who connects three generations to communicative memory – the victims who lived through collective traumas, the next generation of those who forgot, and the third generation who “meant to give a voice to historical memory” (Assmann 2012, 13) – I will continue with the analysis of two small national cinemas and their pertinent examples from the 21st century, trying to understand those features that lead to the popularity of such titles as Son of Saul (L. Nemes, 2015), Aferim! (R. Jude, 2015), Bet On Revenge (G. Herendi, 2017), Morometii 2 (S. Gulea, 2018), and Eternal Winter (A Szasz, 2018). I will examine the distribution routes and awards of the films, as possibly intertwined with the high domestic audience numbers, and will pay attention to the films’ Facebook pages and the fan-based conversations developed on social media – also influenced by film critical pieces. In the stylistic and narrative analysis of the films I rely on well known concepts that connect fictional historical films and communicative memory-work: Janet Walker’s “trauma cinema,” Alison Landsberg’s prosthetic memory, Susannah Radstone’s “cinema/memory,” Marianne Hirsch’s postmemory (2008), or Astrid Erll and Stephanie Wodianka’s “Erinnerungsfilm/memory film”. However, as suggested by the high audience numbers, the cryptic, innovative and creative ways of conveying collective traumatization through audiovisual storytelling have been complemented with further elements beloved by Hungarian and Romanian domestic audiences. In my conclusion I will suggest that the addition of humor, the mixing of genres and a prescience of the television aesthetics popularized by 2020s streaming platforms have been also influential in the domestic success of the mentioned films. I will end by reflecting on the issue of whether these and more recent titles – I Don’t Care if We Go Down in History as Barbarians (R. Jude, 2018), Tall Tales (A. Szasz, 2019), Those Who Remained (B. Toth, 2019), Queen Marie of Romania (Alexis Cahill, 2019) or Malmkrog (C. Puiu, 2020) – may be considered as creating small national collectives of remembrance around the third generation “meant to give a voice to historical memory” (Assmann 2012, 13).
Andrea Virginás – MA in Gender Studies, PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies – is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at Sapientia The Hungarian University of Transylvania, Cluj, Romania. Her research interests include film genres, European cinema, cultural theory, intermediality, narratology. She is the author of Post/Modern Crime: From Agatha Christie to Palahniuk, from Film Noir to Memento (VDM Verlag, 2011), the editor of The Use of Cultural Studies Approaches in the Study of Eastern European Cinema: Spaces, Bodies, Memories (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016), and has published in Studies in Eastern European Cinema, European Journal of English Studies, European Journal of Women’s Studies, Journal of European Studies, Communicazioni Sociali and in the volumes Popular Cinemas in East Central Europe: Film Cultures and Histories (I. B. Tauris, 2017), New Romanian Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2019), European Cinema in the Twenty-First Century: Discourses, Directions, and Genres (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and Beyond Media Borders: Intermedial Relations among Multimodal Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).
Eneken Laanes is the panelist at the online webinar Polarized Pasts at Stockholm University
13 January 2021
This webinar aims to lay the foundation for a new research program exploring the complex intersections of heritage and polarization. Eneken is part of the international advisory board of the planned program. Read more ...
This webinar aims to lay the foundation for a new research program exploring the complex intersections of heritage and polarization. Eneken is part of the international advisory board of the planned program.Read less
Margaret Comer gives a virtual paper in the Society for Historical Archaeology’s 2021 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology.
8 January 2021
The session, ‘Pandemic Fieldwork: Doing Fieldwork during a Pandemic’, ‘discusses both novel and reworked methodological approaches for conducting, or attempting to conduct, archeological fieldwork during a global pandemic’. Margaret‘s paper, ‘Shifting Remembrance: On-Site and Digital Memorialization of Soviet Mass Repression in the Wake of COVID-19’, focuses on how the pandemic has changed encounters with and […] Read more ...
The session, ‘Pandemic Fieldwork: Doing Fieldwork during a Pandemic’, ‘discusses both novel and reworked methodological approaches for conducting, or attempting to conduct, archeological fieldwork during a global pandemic’. Margaret‘s paper, ‘Shifting Remembrance: On-Site and Digital Memorialization of Soviet Mass Repression in the Wake of COVID-19’, focuses on how the pandemic has changed encounters with and at a network of Moscow ‘dark heritage’ sites of Soviet repression, focusing on the places of violence themselves as well as the perception and dissemination of memories these sites are meant to preserve. Digital platforms and networks have already been used to disseminate historical, memorial, and political information that risk official censure in other media; thus, this paper also examines how the pandemic has changed stakeholder, activist, and government attitudes towards digital memorialization of Soviet repression and what these changes mean for the heritagization of mass repression.Read less
Nordic Memory Studies Conference, Lund University with keynote by Eneken Laanes
29-30 October 2020
Conference Performing the Documentary in Post-Communist Art and Culture co-organised by Translating Memories, Lund University
16-18 October 2020
Postponed to 21-23 May 2021 Read more ...
Postponed to 21-23 May 2021Read less
Margaret Comer gives a paper in the first Annual Post-Socialist and Comparative Memory Studies (PoSoCoMeS, Memory Studies Association Working Group) Conference
21 September - 1 October 2020
Margaret’s presentation, entitled ‘Heritagescapes of Repression: legacies of mass violence in contemporary Russia’, examines the conceptual heritagescapes of four sites related to Soviet repression in Moscow, Russia. She is looking at how victims and perpetrators are portrayed (or not portrayed) at these sites and introducing her theoretical models of ‘grievability’ (inspired by Judith Butler’s theory […] Read more ...
Margaret’s presentation, entitled ‘Heritagescapes of Repression: legacies of mass violence in contemporary Russia’, examines the conceptual heritagescapes of four sites related to Soviet repression in Moscow, Russia. She is looking at how victims and perpetrators are portrayed (or not portrayed) at these sites and introducing her theoretical models of ‘grievability’ (inspired by Judith Butler’s theory of the same name) and ‘blameability’. Differing degrees of grievability and blameability at a given site can be plotted against each other on a chart to discern different sites’ manifestations of grief and blame, potentially allowing us to discern patterns in different types’ of sites presentations and their underlying motivations.Read less
Eneken Laanes presents at The Other Europe: Changes and Challenges since 1989, Yale University
11-12 September 2020
Seminar with Prof Violeta Davoliūtė Multidirectional Memory: Lithuanian Jews and the Soviet Deportations of June 1941
20 February 2020
Eneken Laanes gives a paper at Jaan Kross’s anniversary conference The Ropewalker: Jaan Kross 100
19 February 2020