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Post Memories: Intergenerational Narratives of Conflict


Dr. Ihab Saloul (UvA) & Prof. Rob van der Laarse (UvA)

Members of the research group

dr. R.W.H. Glitz
dr. S.F. Kruizinga
prof.dr. R. v.d. Laarse
dr. I.A.M. Saloul
External Members:
A. Shibli (Artist)
A.R. Krakotskin (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin)
E. Ben Zeev (Ruppin Academic Center, Jerusalem)
H. Hever (Hebrew University Jerusalem)
M. Rothberg (University of Illinois)
M. Yazbak (Haifa University)
R. Kanaaneh (Columbia University)
R. Salih (SOAS)
Y. Wallach (SOAS)
Y. Yildiz (University of Illinois)

Description of the research programme of the research group

The remembrance of historic events and conflicts is a dynamic practice that changes from one generation to the other. Post memories are both multidirectional and competitive. The overall aim of this research group is to develop an interdisciplinary methodological framework for the study of intergenerational narratives of conflict within memory studies. This framework seeks to determine how post memories contribute to the interpretations of traumatic events, their roles in providing new resources for political identity and cultural agency, and finally their engagement with their respective “Others” and what such an engagement can reveal about contemporary identity politics. The group addresses a number of questions including:

  • How are we to theorize and conceptualize post memories within memory studies?
  • How are mutually exclusive memories of historic events represented and remediated in different media, and how do these memories shape and reshape contemporary identities?
  • How might we understand the role of dissent, counternarratives and competing memories in the political process?
  • How can we articulate post memory practices when events are remembered across and between geopolitical contexts of war and violence?
  • What stylistic outlooks do different memory narratives appropriate to establish a sense of self-identification?
  • How might analyzing the relationship between culture and politics ultimately enrich the way we understand and position our own work as academics; i.e. the role of the intellectual?
  • How might we understand and deploy key political terms inspired by political struggles emphasizing freedom, human dignity and social justice, and what do these terms mean in our interdisciplinary academic circles?

Envisaged results

2-3 PhD dissertation, 1 edited volumes, peer reviewed articles & book chapters, workshops and expert meetings, a grant proposal for future research.

Work plan and time schedule

2014 – 2018, with possible extension

Societal relevance

The modes of cultural recall of historic conflicts, particularly those of second and third generations are situated in a twilight zone between history and fiction. This research group explores how current acts of recall move beyond political stalemate in different societies by rethinking “national identity”. In their compulsion to process histories of trauma and memory, post memories reveal shifts of identity construction from rivalry in victimhood and catastrophe to cultural agency and political activism. These shifts point to new possibilities for understanding how the politics of conflict, coexistence and reconciliations are played out between past and future generations in conflict zones all over the world.