Memory in Conflict Winter School brings together young researchers in memory studies

The 1st 4EU+ Plurality of Memories in Global Perspective Winter School – Memory in Conflict – took place in Warsaw, Poland, 9-15 February 2020. The purpose of the Winter School was to provide participating junior researchers with a systematic introduction into memory studies, motivate them and enhance their ongoing research.

Organized by the 4EU+ University Alliance, the Winter School aimed to bring together M.A. and Ph.D. students from different disciplinary backgrounds alongside well-known experts in the memory field. The School was co-hosted by Dr. Nicolas Maslowski – the Director of the French-Polish Institute in Warsaw, A/Prof. Kateřina Králová – the Head of the Russian and East European Studies Department (IIS) at Charles University and Prof. Luba Jurgenson – the Head of the Slavonic Institute at Sorbonne University. The event was coordinated and administrated by Dr. Anna Dżabagina (CCFEF, University of Warsaw), Dr. Nicolas Maslowski (CCFEF, University of Warsaw)" and assisted by Oleksandra Modelska (IMS, Charles University).

The main subjects discussed were both the collective memory of violent conflicts and the conflicted memories of mutual experiences, which are often being misused in the political arena.

The event brought together 34 M.A. and Ph.D. students from seven different universities and 18 countries of origin as well as scholars and experts in the field of memory studies, affiliated with all six 4EU+ institutions. The one-week-long intensive program aimed at introducing the students to the wide range of interdisciplinary topics, varying from psychology and literature to history, political sciences and performative arts, all interconnected by the concept of memory.

According to the overall reaction, the Winter School has exceeded the expectations of the participants and set a high standard for the future cooperation on similar joint events.

The Winter School was beyond anything I expected, it helped me in my research and also allowed me to bond with like-minded people in order to navigate through life and research as a community,” comments Yann Kaci (France), a Ph.D. student at Sorbonne University.

I have very much appreciated both visits to the museums, as they gave me perspective on what the lectures were about. They also sparked some heated debates, which I found critical,” claims Anne Louise Andreasen (Denmark), an M.A. student at Copenhagen University.

The 'Memory in conflict' winter school was also mentioned by Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland, during his lecture at the University of Warsaw on 4 March. The lecture, entitled “Defending Asgard, independence and human rights. The use of history in current affairs”, was one of the points of his official visit to Poland. "I was pleased to learn that earlier this month, students and doctoral candidates from various countries gathered at this university to discuss "Memory in conflict" and [that] it is part of a wider project, "Plurality of memories in Europe in a global perspective". Because, you see, history matters and there is no way around that," said Guðni Th. Jóhannesson in his speech.

Read the full report (pdf)