Workshop Victims, Perpetrators, Implicated Subjects in Central and Eastern Europe

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.

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