CFP for Graduate Summer School “Memory Unbound: Transcultural, Transgenerational, Transmedial, and Transdisciplinary Dynamics of Memory” (Ghent, 9-11/09/2013)

For the second edition of the annual summer school organized by the Mnemonics network, an international collaborative initiative for graduate education in memory studies, we invite paper proposals from graduate students that address the transcultural, transgenerational, transmedial, and/or transdisciplinary dynamics of memory.

What unites much of the most exciting research going on in the field of memory studies today is a tendency to regard memory not as fixed but as fluid, not as static but as dynamic, not as bound but as unbound. Memory is increasingly being seen as something that does not stay put but circulates, migrates, travels. The 2013 Mnemonics summer school will explore this trend as it manifests itself on various levels. It will examine how memory crosses cultural, generational, medial, and disciplinary boundaries, and how memory studies has responded, or can respond, to these mnemonic dynamics.

Whereas early work in memory studies focused on the ways in which memories are shared within particular communities and constitute or reinforce group identity, in recent years the transcultural, transnational, and even global circulation of memories has moved to the centre of attention. At the same time, there has been a marked increase of interest in how memory travels between different media, and specifically in the role of digital media in the production, preservation, and dissemination of memories. As the Holocaust begins to pass out of living memory, the question of how memories of survivors of historical traumas are transmitted to, and inherited by, members of later generations has become another area of intense inquiry. Furthermore, memory studies appears to be moving towards greater interdisciplinarity, or, at least, enhanced awareness of the necessity or desirability of cross-fertilization between memory research in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

We welcome proposals for papers that put the “trans” into memory studies, in the sense of exploring the manifold ways in which memory, and the study of memory, is on the move.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Astrid Erll is Professor of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. She has worked on memories of the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, British colonialism in India, and the Vietnam war. She is general editor of the book series Media and Cultural Memory (de Gruyter, since 2004), co-editor of A Companion to Cultural Memory Studies (with Ansgar Nünning, 2010), Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory (with Ann Rigney, 2009), and author of Memory in Culture (2011) / Kollektives Gedächtnis und Erinnerungskulturen (2005, 2nd ed. 2011), an introduction to memory studies. She is part of the editorial board of the journal Memory Studies (SAGE) and the book series Memory Studies (Palgrave).

Susannah Radstone is Professor of Cultural Theory in the School of Arts and Digital Industries at the University of East London. She is the author of The Sexual Politics of Time: Confession, Nostalgia, Memory (Routledge, 2007) and has edited numerous books, including Memory and Methodology (Berg, 2000); Memory, History, Nation: The Politics of Memory (with Katharine Hodgkin; Transaction, 2005); Memory Cultures: Memory, Subjectivity, and Recognition (with Katharine Hodgkin; Transaction, 2005); and Memory: Histories, Theories, Debates (with Bill Schwarz; Fordham UP, 2010). She is currently working on a monograph to be titled Getting Over Trauma and developing a research project on the locatedness and mobility of remembering and theorizing memory.

Michael Rothberg is Professor of English and Conrad Humanities Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is also Director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies Initiative. Affiliated with the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and the Programs in Comparative Literature and Jewish Culture and Society, Rothberg works in the fields of critical theory and cultural studies, Holocaust studies, postcolonial studies, and contemporary literatures. His latest book is Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (2009), published by Stanford University Press in its “Cultural Memory in the Present” series. He is also the author of Traumatic Realism: The Demands of Holocaust Representation (2000) and co-editor with Neil Levi of The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings (2003).


The Mnemonics summer school serves as an interactive forum in which junior and senior memory scholars meet in an informal and convivial setting to discuss each other’s work and to reflect on new developments in the field of memory studies. The objective is to help graduate students refine their research questions, strengthen the methodological and theoretical underpinnings of their projects, and gain further insight into current trends in memory scholarship.

Each of the three days of the summer school will start with a scene-setting keynote lecture, followed by sessions consisting of three graduate student papers, responses, and Q&A.

In order to foster incisive and targeted feedback, all accepted papers will be precirculated among the participants and each presentation session will be chaired by a senior scholar (one of the keynote speakers or a faculty member from one of the partner institutions) who will also act as respondent.

Additionally, a short reader will be compiled in consultation with the keynote speakers and made available in advance, so as to provide participants with a shared background for the research and discussions before and during the summer school.

Practical Information


Ghent University, Belgium. Listed among Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities for 2011, Ghent is an enchanting and vibrant city in the heart of Flanders, easily accessible by train from Brussels Airport (BRU) and by shuttle coach and train from Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL). The summer school will be held at Het Pand, Ghent University’s conference facility, which is housed in a beautifully preserved medieval monastery located in the historical centre of the city.


9-11 September 2013 (arrival on the 8th; departure on the 12th)


250 euros, payable upon acceptance of paper proposal

What is included:

Attendance; good-quality student accommodation in the city centre (4 nights); all breakfasts, lunches, refreshments, and one dinner

What is not included:

Travel; optional museum visit on final day


A 300-word abstract for a 15-minute paper (including title, presenter’s name, institutional affiliation, and any technology requests), a description of your graduate research project (one paragraph), and a short CV (max. one page) as a single Word document to mnemonics [at] ugent [dot] be

Deadline for submission of abstracts:

1 April 2013

Notification of acceptance:

1 May 2013

Deadline for submission of paper drafts:

15 August 2013

Number of places:

24, of which 18 are reserved for the partner institutions

Learn more about Ghent University and its Centre for Literature and Trauma, the institutional home of the organizing committee members (prof. dr. Stef Craps, prof. dr. Philippe Codde, dr. Stijn Vervaet, dr. Evelyne Ledoux-Beaugrand, Toby Smethurst, and Sean Bex), at and