Statement on the War in Ukraine

The ‘Translating Memories’ team is shocked and saddened by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. We stand in solidarity with Ukrainians forced to flee and those defending their country, as well as with the many Russians and Belarussians who are standing up to the war and to dictatorship.
Since this project began in 2020, we have been studying and discussing memories of twentieth-century violence, perpetrated by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and local collaborators, as these are remembered in post-socialist Europe. Although there has been war in Ukraine since 2014, this sudden, unprovoked escalation seemed impossible until it happened. Streams of refugees heading west, bombed apartment buildings in Kyiv, bodies lying in the streets of Kharkiv – we have seen these images of Ukraine before, but we took for granted that they were images set firmly in the past century, not live images from the past few weeks. Each of the countries we work with, across Eastern and Central Europe, has been and will be impacted by this war – by mass migration, by economic disruption, and by fears about the sovereignty of their own borders.
As memory scholars, we know that images, narratives, and stories of past violence are uniquely susceptible to being twisted for contemporary political ends. For example, we see this now in rhetoric about “denazification,” a label that is thrown across borders and social media posts without basis in fact. We remain committed to understanding how aspects of past violence can be used to foment and justify present violence, and we will continue to offer a space for research and open discussion of these topics. As a project, we will also support displaced scholars however we can. In the first instance, if you are a scholar who has been affected by the war and you think that your research fits into the purview of our project, please get in touch with project leader Eneken Laanes, as we may be able to offer a short-term research position in Tallinn out of the appropriate project funding.
We fervently hope for a return to peace and sovereignty in Ukraine and an end to such violence everywhere.

Useful Links:
Estonian Refugee Council, including information on assistance for refugees as well as ways to donate time, goods, or money
Information from Tallinn University on the war in Ukraine and support available to students and researchers
Listings for over 1700 jobs across the world for those displaced by war, including industry, academic, and arts positions
Resources for scholars in danger (organized by PoSoCoMeS, the working group on post-socialist and comparative memory studies within the Memory Studies Association (MSA))
UKRAINE: Emergency Residencies and further Resources for Ukrainian artists and cultural workers (organized by Artists at Risk)

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