Cultural History programme


Conference: Materialities of Postcolonial Memory 7-9 December 2017


From 7 till 9 December, the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture will hold the conference ‘Materialities of Postcolonial Memory’.

As questions of racism are prominent in public debate, the colonial and slavery pasts represent more than ever key sites of both social encounter and contestation. The fields of heritage and memory studies, however, have been slow to respond to these urgent issues. This conference engages with these debates through the lens of materiality, broadly understood. Our understanding of materiality encompasses, on the one hand, the enduring, ruinous effects of colonial-ism around the globe, its often unarticulated material traces in former metropoles and colonies, as well as the mostly unacknowledged role of migration and displacement. On the other hand, we wish to address the range of interventions, from protest movements to artistic initiatives and museum spaces, which act upon the manifold legacies of past injus-tices in the present.

Reflecting on the materiality of bodies, objects, sites, ruins, traces and interventions, AHM conference examines the awkward, aphasiac and competing memories of colonial and slavery pasts by bringing together scholars from heritage and memory studies, postcolonial, critical race and performative studies, material culture studies and archaeology, art history, archival and digital humanities studies and other areas. We invite scholars to present papers which critically analyse these issues, and especially consider the role of materiality in their cases. Topics include, but are not limited to: decolonizing heritage and memory studies; nation-states and transnationalism; migration and displacement; post-colonial ruination, prisons, poison, borders; conflict and identity; museums as sites of contestation and issues of re-patriation; materialities of cultural racism and strategies of resistance; memory interventions and narratives in public spaces; postcolonial landscapes and cityscapes; colonial object biographies and postcolonial agency.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers
Prof. Nikita Dhawan (Innsbruck University); Prof. Lynn Meskell (Stanford University); Prof. Wayne Modest (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam); Prof. Ann Stoler (Columbia University).

Abstracts for papers or panels (250 words max) including a short biographical statement (150 words max) should be sent to before 1 June 2017. The conference fee is €40 for employed aca-demics and €15 for students. Speakers are expected to arrange accommodation and transport on their own, and we will offer suggestions for hotels and other practical information.

Organization: Dr. Paul Bijl, Dr. David Duindam, Dr. Chiara de Cesari, Dr. Ihab Saloul
Conference Assistants: Sanne Letschert, Maria Dijkgraaf, Inez van der Scheer

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