01 March 2011

Old Conflicts, New Media Conference in the Making

Bergen's pendant of the Memory at War project, Web Wars, is now up and running. Currently, the WW members are busy finalizing the list of speakers for the first big WW event: the international conference Old Conflicts & New Media: Commemorating the Socialist Experience Online. Keynotes are 'Globital Memory' expert Anna Reading (London South Bank University) and Volodymyr Kulyk (Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, Kiev).

Held at hotel Solstrand near Bergen next summer, Old Conflicts & New Media takes the emerging field of online memory studies to post-socialist space. In the 2000s, post-socialist states still face the challenge of constructing national identities, producing national memories, and relating to their socialist/Soviet legacy. Their pasts are principally intertwined: changing readings of history in one country generate fierce reactions in others. In this transnational memory war, digital media form a pivotal discursive space - one which provides speakers with radically new commemorative tools. The Web Wars project conference unlocks the online vectors of post-Soviet memory by uniting leading scholars and practitioners in the field.

Although the organizers are still busy selecting the best among the many excellent submitted paper/panel proposals, some of the conference outlines begin to make themselves visible at this point. Certain, for one, is the presence of the two mentioned keynotes; of Memory at War project leader Alexander Etkind (U of Cambridge); and of several other Memory at War members. From the submitted proposals it is also clear that speakers will cover a wide geographical spread: abstracts touch upon Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Georgia, and Rumania, among other countries. More details will follow soon on the conference webpage.

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