Mnemonic Migration: Transcultural Transmission, Translation and Circulation of Memory Across and Into Contemporary Europe

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Wednesday, 27 April
14.00-14.15 Opening
14.15-16.15 Panel 1: Memory, Migration, Materiality
Chair: Eneken Laanes
Asmaa Hassaneen: From Royal Copenhagen to Kitsch Coffee Cups Wealth and Poverty in the Travelling Memories of Palestinian Immigrants in Selected Texts and Interviews
John Greaney: Samuel Beckett, Mnemonic Migration, and the Location of Cultural Memory
Thomas van de Putte: From Travelling to Travelled Memory
Hanna Meretoja: Past Worlds as Spaces of Possibility: Agency and its Limits in Jenny Erpenbeck’s Heimsuchung (Visitation)
16.15-16.45 Break
16.45-18.15 Panel 2: Reader Positions and Mnemonic Migration
Chair: Barbara Tönquist-Plewa
Hannah Teichler: Remembering Forced Labour Migration: Recombinant Selves in Anglophone Literature
Jessica Ortner: The Puzzled Reader: Gabs of Indeterminacy in Bosnian War memory
Kaisa Kaakinen: Mediation of Local Memories to Heterogeneous Readerships – The Case of Aleksandar Hemon’s The Lazarus Project
Pérez Baquero: Remembering Conflict and Exile Beyond the National Frame: Max Aub’s Depiction of the Spanish Civil War From a Transnational Gaze

Thursday, 28 April
9.30-11.30 Panel 3: Representation and Circulation of Bosnian War Memories
Chair: Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi
Aigi Heero: Remembering Višegrad: Memories of Childhood and War in Saša Stanišić’s Novel How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone
Dina Abazovic: Where You Come From Under Pressure: Two Novels About the Bosnian War
Fedja Wierød Borčak ”The Value of Returning Memories: How Memory Accounts by Bosnian-Herzegovinian Émigré Writers are Received in Bosna and Herzegovina”
Tea Sindbæk Andersen: Transmitting Bosnian war memories into the Danish and British public: circulation and reception of literature of the Bosnian war
11.30-12.00 Break
12.00-13.00 Keynote: Astrid Erll: Deep Histories of Mnemonic Migration: An Odyssey
13.00-14.00 Panel 4: Multidirectional Memory, Connection, Remediation
Chair: Jessica Ortner
Colin Davis: The Circulation of Memory From Buchenwald to Stalinism and the Bosnian Genocide: Semprun, Goethe and Carola Neher
Unni Langås: Two Stops on the Itinerary of Anne Frank’s Diary
Biljana Markovic: Odyssean Memory and the Refugee Crises, Tracing Transcultural and Transtemporal Mnemonic Relationality in Poetry
Silvia Riva: Camp Antechambers and Dress Rehearsals: Memories of “Minor” Genocides of the Twentieth Century in Contemporary French-Language Fiction
16.00-16.30 Break
16.30-18.30 Panel 5: Post-Socialist Memory in New Contexts
Chair: Tine Rosen
Eneken Laanes: Katja Petrowskaja’s Translational Poetics of Memory
Anja Tippner “People Would Close Their Eyes to Think Back to a Past and Tell Untruths About It Until They Were True”: Literature After Memory Studies and Migratory Aesthetics
Anita Pluwak: Red Princess, Black Widow and Other Stories: Popular Reception of Political (Auto)biographies from Postsocialist Poland
Jan Schwarz The Historical Novel as World Literature of Memory in Contemporary Europe: Olga Tokarczuk’s Kiegi Jakubowe (The Books of Jacob, 2014)

Friday, 29 April
9.30-11.30 Panel 6: Translation and Circulation
Chair: Fedja Wierød Borčak
Mónika Dánél: Shared Memories – Remediation as Accented Reading
Una Tanović: On Prosthetic Memories and Phantom Limbs: Self-Translation and Pseudotranslation in Bekim Sejranović’s Tvoj sin Huckleberry Finn/Din sønn, Huckleberry Finn (2015) and Alen Mešković’s Ukulele jam (2011)
Stijn Vervaet: Translating Memories of the Bosnian War: Translingual Writers as Memory Brokers
Jakob Lothe:Variants of Memory and Narrative in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day
11.30-12.00 Break
12.00-13.00 Keynote: Rebecca Walkowitz: Additional Languages: The Translated Fiction of Lahiri and Luiselli
13.00-14.00 Lunch
14.00-16.00 Panel 7 Iceland-Ireland: Memory, Literature, Culture on the Atlantic Periphery
Chair: Tea Sindbæk Andersen
Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir: Iceland – Ireland: Transnational Memories of Crises in Álfrún Gunnlaugsdóttir’s Siglingin um síkin and Conor O’Callaghan’s Nothing on Earth
Ásta Kristín Benediktsdóttir: The Past That Never Was: Sjón and Jamie O’Neill’s Queer Historical Fiction
Fionnuala Dillane: Crimes on the Atlantic Periphery: Irish and Icelandic Writings From the Edge
16.00-17.00 Closing Round Table

Astrid Erll (Goethe University Frankfurt / The Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform)
Deep Histories of Mnemonic Migration: An Odyssey
The migration of people and of mnemonic mediations is not just a phenomenon of our present age, but it has its own deep (and largely unexplored) histories. My lecture addresses this longue durée of mnemonic migration, using as an example the Homeric odyssey – both an origin narrative and perpetual medium of travelling memory.
Old narratives such as the odyssey pose a variety of challenges to memory studies: How can we find ways to trace their narrative agency and afterlives across thousands of years, multiple languages and cultures, minds and media?
As we are now living in an age of conspiracy myths, rampant populism, and Putin’s war, I chose to focus not so much on the rich repertoire of cosmopolitan memories that were enabled by and articulated with the odyssey (from James Joyce’s Ulysses to current discourses about refugees). Instead, I will discuss the logic of propaganda, fake news, biased and damaging usages of ‘odyssean memory’. My examples range all the way from medieval slander to Holocaust denial, ‘memory abuse in translation’, and present-day identitarianism. At the heart of my lecture is therefore the pressing question: What makes some kinds of mnemonic migration ‘constructive’ and ‘productive’ and others ‘false’ and ‘abusive’? And how can we describe the formative role of longue durée memory in such processes?
Astrid Erll is Professor of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at Goethe-University Frankfurt. She has worked on German, British, South Asian, American, and South African literatures and media cultures. Her research interests include literary history (focus on 19th-21st centuries), media history (focus on film and photography), English and comparative literature, cultural theory, media theory, narratology, transcultural studies and – last not least – memory studies.
Astrid Erll is general editor of the book series Media and Cultural Memory (with A. Nünning, De Gruyter, since 2004) and co-editor of A Companion to Cultural Memory Studies (with A. Nünning, 2010) and Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory (with A. Rigney, 2009). More recently, she published with Ann Rigney Audiovisual Memory and the (Re)Making of Europe(Image & Narrative, 2017) and Cultural Memory after the Transnational Turn (Memory Studies, 2018). She is author of Memory in Culture (Palgrave 2011), an introduction to memory studies which was originally published in German as Kollektives Gedächtnis und Erinnerungskulturen (2005, 3rd ed. 2017) and has also been translated into Chinese, Spanish, and Polish.

Rebecca L. Walkowitz (Rutgers University)
Additional Languages: The Translated Fiction of Lahiri and Luiselli
Contemporary migrant writers know that there is no civic hospitality without multilingualism. However, writers such as Jhumpa Lahiri and Valeria Luiselli are approaching this axiom in unprecedented ways. Instead of expanding original languages, they are creating intralingual and multilingual works that operate in secondary, translated, or additional tongues. They approach the the histories of undocumented children at the U.S. border or immigrant service workers by refusing to establish a single, collective language for their characters, their settings, or their writing. This lecture dilates out from these examples to argue that we need to shift from a paradigm of “foreign languages” to a paradigm of “additional languages.” We need a more robust engagement with the languages that operate both across and within literary histories.
Rebecca L. Walkowitz is Dean of Humanities and Distinguished Professor of English in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University.  She the author or editor of 10 books and has delivered more than 80 distinguished lectures in the fields of modernism, contemporary fiction, and world literature in Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America.  Her book Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature (2015) received Honorable Mention for the first annual Matei Calinescu Prize from the MLA and has recently been published in Japanese in a born-translated edition that includes a new essay and an interview with the translators.  Her current book project, “Future Reading,” focuses a new generation of migrant novelists, essayists, and nonfiction fabulists who are changing how we encounter world languages and how we use languages to create inclusive communities.  An essay taken from the first chapter, “On Not Knowing,” appeared in New Literary History in 2020.A second essay from that project, “Less Than One Language,” appeared in SubStance in 2021, in a special issue on “The Postlingual Turn,” which she co-edited with yasser elhariry.

Mnemonic Migration: Transnational Circulation and Reception of Wartime Memories in post-Yugoslav Migrant Literature (Independent Research Fund Denmark, 2019–2022, Jessica Ortner, Tea Sindbæk Andersen)
Translating Memories: The Eastern European Past in the Global Arena (ERC, Grant Number 853385, 2020–2024, project leader Eneken Laanes)

Call for Papers (closed)
This conference aims to explore how memories travel through the aesthetic medium of literature and are translated into new local communities of remembering. The conference concentrates on the travel of memories (Erll 2011) within or into the cultural, geographical and symbolic boundaries of Europe, perhaps fostering new knowledge and attention to events that are otherwise marginalized in a Westernized perspective on the European past and identity.According to Ann Rigney and Astrid Erll (2009), fictional literature is a significant medium of cultural memory that has the ability of “sparking public debates on historical topics that had hitherto been marginalized or forgotten.” This conference looks at transcultural memory formations that are generated: 1) by the mobility of people across or into Europe and 2) by the production of “transcultural memorial forms” (Laanes 2021) that translate experiences to other geographic arenas.
According to Erll (2011), migrants can be seen as carriers of memory, understood as “individuals who share in collective images and narratives of the past.” By expressing their mnemonic displacement – that is, their disorientation in the mnemonic framework of their host country together with their contrasting memories – migrant literature contributes to setting the agenda for future collective remembrance. This conference shall explore how this activity, which we would like to think of as mnemonic migration, speaks to the (re)construction of shared memories in Europe and/or its countries and regions. Furthermore, we are interested in questioning which “transcultural memorial forms” may be used to “culturally translate experiences in order to make them known and intelligible to others,” thus making memories travel (Laanes 2021).
Crucially, the successful travel of memories depends on reception by members of a mnemonic community. Therefore, this conference is also concerned with the reception and recirculation of transcultural memories, asking if novels, due to the “transformative power of the arts and their capacity to mobilize individuals through imagination and affect” (Rigney 2014), may forge what Alison Landsberg (2004) has called prosthetic memory: that is, a deep-felt and empathetic connection to events one has not lived through. We are keen to explore how mediations of memory circulate, how they are received, and if and how they may develop into what we could think of as prosthetic memories in various European contexts, perhaps contributing to new memory canons within Europe.
We welcome papers that consider, but are not limited to, any of the following issues:
• Memory literature by authors who have migrated to or within Europe
• Reception and prosthetic memory
• World literature of memory in a European perspective
• Travelling memory
• Methodological considerations of studying transcultural memory in literature
• Methodological considerations of studying circulation, reception and prosthetic memory

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