Call for Papers Mnemonics 2024: Violence and Repair

Photo credit: still from Pınar Öğrenci’s film Aşît

Los Angeles, July 9-11, 2024

The twelfth Mnemonics summer school will be hosted by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and its Working Group in Memory Studies and will take place in person from Tuesday through Thursday, July 9-11, 2024.

The annual Mnemonics summer school brings together junior and senior scholars in the interdisciplinary field of memory studies, affording PhD students from around the world the opportunity to receive extensive feedback on their projects from distinguished memory experts and to catch up with the newest methodological and theoretical trends in memory studies. Each edition features three keynotes and 24 PhD student presentations followed by in-depth commentaries by senior scholars from partner institutions. Mnemonics is a unique platform for learning, mentoring, and networking specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of the next generation of memory scholars.

Keynote Speakers

Participating Faculty

  • Guido Bartolini (Ghent)
  • Lucy Bond (Westminster)
  • Stef Craps (Ghent)
  • Mara Josi (Ghent)
  • Wulf Kansteiner (Aarhus)
  • Susanne Knittel (Utrecht)
  • Silvana Mandolessi (Leuven)
  • Michael Rothberg (UCLA)
  • Hanna Teichler (Frankfurt)

Summer School Topic

From catastrophic wars in Russia/Ukraine and Israel/Palestine to the slow violence of economic inequality, systemic racism, colonial violence, and ecological degradation, our moment provides plentiful evidence that we live in a state of ongoing emergency. What can memory scholars offer to a world in which violence seems endemic? Can the perspectives we develop on historical violence illuminate the crises of the present? What role does the memory of past violence play in ongoing conflict? What possibilities are there for reparation and repair in the face of such destruction? This year’s Mnemonics summer school will address the topic of “Violence and Repair.” We seek papers that approach these linked concepts from diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

To be sure, historical violence has long been at the center of memory studies, especially in recent decades. In particular, approaches to the remembrance of the Shoah and Second World War have been prominent in classic work in the field: from scholarship on Holocaust memorials (Young) and Holocaust testimony (Langer; Felman and Laub) to postmemory and intergenerational transmission of trauma and memory (Hirsch; Schwab). During the “third phase” (Erll) of memory studies remembrance of the Holocaust was increasingly seen in relation to the memory of other histories of violence (Levy and Sznaider; Rothberg; Sanyal; Silverman) as well as to changing forms of media (Kansteiner; Shandler; van Alphen). Simultaneously, greater—if not necessarily adequate—attention started to be shown to the violent and often erased histories of colonialism and slavery and the legacies of communism in Eastern Europe (Araujo; Hartman; Sharpe; Törnquist-Plewa and Sindbaek Andersen; Subotic).

Meanwhile, another significant strand of memory studies and allied fields has long approached violence from the perspective of human rights and transitional justice (Levy and Sznaider; Robbe). This strand has foregrounded problems of reconciliation, restitution, and reparation (Barkan; Araujo; Atshan and Galor; Taiwo) and posed important questions about the possibilities and limits of reparative responses to human rights abuses (David; Thakkar). Importantly, memory studies scholars have also paid close attention to the pervasive intersection between human rights struggles and memory, demonstrating how the memory of activism and memory activism shape and inform current struggles against political violence. This strand considers how post-conflict societies can use memories of traumatic pasts in the service of a more ethical future.

In the most recent phase of memory studies, scholars have also increasingly drawn attention to the need to consider more-than-human phenomena, the materiality of memory, and environmental concerns (Bond and Rapson; Craps; Crownshaw; Driscoll and Knittel; Kaplan; Wüstenberg). This new phase has raised critical questions about the anthropocentrism and residual humanism of earlier approaches to memory and has proposed new methodologies for approaching very different temporalities and scales of memory than we find in the initial phases of memory scholarship. These approaches help us conceptualize and respond to slow violence and encourage us to imagine modes of ecological repair.

By focusing on violence and repair, this year’s summer school will allow for an in-depth exploration of these multifarious issues and will offer an opportunity for self-critical reflection on the methods and public impact of scholarly work in memory studies.

We invite paper proposals from PhD students that address any of the aforementioned lines of inquiry. We welcome contributions from across disciplines and theoretical and methodological perspectives.

Possible paper topics might include:

  • The ethics and politics of memorializing violence, including the destruction, defacing, and decommissioning of memorials, statues, and commemoration sites
  • Remembering different modes of violence: slow violence, ecological violence, structural and economic violence, gender/sexual violence, racial violence, and colonial violence
  • Memory as violence: denial, erasure, forgetting, and justification of different modes of violence
  • Remembering different scales of violence: from the local to the global, from the recent past to deep time
  • Remembering reparations struggles and the role of memory in reparation struggles
  • Imagining repair beyond the human
  • Truth and reconciliation commissions
  • Intergenerational transmission of trauma and memory

Potential questions include:

  • What forms can “repair” take?
  • What are the limits of repair?
  • When and how is memory a form of violence? When and how is it a form of repair?
  • What are the responsibilities of scholars, especially memory studies scholars, to address forms of violence and repair?
  • What forms, regions, and communities of memory are not paid enough attention in memory studies; and how are we, as memory studies scholars, implicated in perpetuating structures of violence?
  • When and why do memories of violence become institutionalized and/or weaponized?
  • How can artists, scholars, activists, and citizens use memories of past violence to prevent violence in the present and future?
  • How can initiatives for “repair” actually perpetuate ongoing violence or create new forms of violence and oppression?


The summer school will include several keynote sessions and general discussions. The main emphasis, however, is on the presentation of PhD work in progress in the form of panels of three students who each give a 15-minute talk that is based on their ongoing research while also relevant to the theme of this year’s summer school. In order to foster feedback and discussion, each panel will feature senior scholars as chairs and respondents and will include an extensive Q&A session. The summer school will also include a workshop on contemporary reparations activism.

Practical Information

Local Organizers

Mnemonics 2024 will be hosted by Michael Rothberg and other members of the UCLA Working Group in Memory Studies (Yair Agmon, Rebecca Chhay, Jennifer Noji, and Sharon Zelnick).


The 2024 summer school will take place on the campus of UCLA, in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.


The summer school will begin on the morning of Tuesday, July 9 and continue through the end of the day on Thursday, July 11. Participants should arrive during the day on July 8 and plan to leave on the morning of July 12.


We will cover all costs on site—including housing, registration, and most meals. Students will be responsible for covering their own travel expenses.


Submissions are open to all doctoral students interested in memory studies. To be eligible, applicants must be current doctoral students at the time of the summer school. Half of the 24 available places are reserved for students affiliated with Mnemonics partner institutions. Participants are expected to attend in person.

If you wish to be considered for a position, you should send a 300-word abstract for a 15-minute paper (including title, your name, and institutional affiliation), a description of your doctoral research project (one paragraph), and a short CV (max. 1 page) as a single Word or PDF document to: Mnemonics2024 [at] gmail [dot] com. Applications should be submitted by March 1, 2024, 23.00 (GMT). Notification of acceptance: March 15, 2024.


Please email Mnemonics2024 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Relevant Links

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Mnemonics on Twitter: @mnemonics_net


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