03 September 2011

Post-Soviet Digital Memories in the Fjords

Memory at War's Bergen team looks back on an inspiring project conference. 'Post-socialist digital memories' were the topic of a 3-day Web Wars gathering in the Norwegian fjords of 22 European/Australian media experts, (literary & cultural) historians, linguists, sociologists, political scientists, and psychologists. In what proved to be a fruitful "experimental laboratory" (Vera Zvereva) of digital research methods and approaches, participants pondered how the socialist experience is mediated online.

This blog is not the place for an exhaustive summary - but it is the place for some snapshots:

* According to London/Sydney-based media scholar Anna Reading, "the globital memory field" annihilated Roma's erasure from the (Central-)European past.
* "How" - MAW project leader Alexander Etkind asked - "to quantify the distinctions between cultural amnesia, nostalgia, and melancholia" in post-Soviet society?
* Harvard's Mapping the Russian Blogosphere project boasts ample mistakes, according to London-based linguist-cum-IT-expert Galina Nikiporets-Takigawa.
* Volodymyr Kulyk, political scientist at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, spotted "thousands of history-related groups" and "discussions that last for years" on the Ukrainian Facebook pendant Vkontakte.
* Do post-Soviet online media increase "options to emulate transnational community for the service of national goals?" cultural historian & Helsinki MAW partner Jussi Lassila mused.
* Doreen Spoerer-Wagner, political scientist at Zurich's NCCR democracy institute, spotted a "much higher conflict visibility" of the Georgian-Russian clash in online than in offline media sources.
* Future of Russian project leader and Bergen-based linguist Ingunn Lunde observed how in online comments on Soviet language culture, "the flow of memory results" in another flow: that of language.

These are, as said, mere glimpses into the digital genres and geopolitical territories that passed in review. For more elaborate reports, keep an eye on the academic journals Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie and Digital Icons - both (near-)fully available online. Two conference reviews are in the making.

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