CfP: Migration and Transcultural Memory in the 21st Century

We are now accepting abstracts for the ‘Migration and Transcultural Memory in the 21st Century’ conference. See below for details of the CfP:

Migration and Transcultural Memory in the 21st Century – 3rd May 2017, The University of Leeds, UK.

Globalization, migration, the impact of mass media, as well as the increasing number of transnational organizations have led to the reconceptualization of cultural memory – not as stable and confined to a specific nation –  but as fluid and subject to constant change. National perceptions of the past are now recognized as being both influenced by transnational definitions of specific past events that have a supposed ‘global’ resonance, and marked by heterogeneous (minority) sub-memories. As important aspect of the concept of “traveling of memories”, migration has become a central topic of inquiry in Memory Studies. Belonging to several national, religious or cultural frameworks of memory, the figure of the “migrant” exemplifies the evolving global network of recollection. “Migrants” may carry with them specifically traumatic memories that cross local recollections as well as institutionalized memory constructions on the national and the transnational level.

The overall aim of this one-day PGR conference is to define the specificity of transcultural migrant memory against other forms of traumatic memory prevailing within specific national contexts, or on the transnational stage. What is the crucial force of artefacts representing (migrant) traumatic memories as they interact with pre-existing narratives of traumatic memory? How can the personal nature of these migrant memories be seen to challenge memories of the past as defined by local, national or supranational narratives? How do minority memories of trauma encounter conceptions of supposedly ‘global’ traumatic memories such as the legacy of the Holocaust, which seem to prescribe a specific way of relating to this past? The conference will consider whether the concept of transcultural memory as a “lens of investigation” allows new insights into migrant memory, and, conversely, if the investigation of migrant memory can contribute to a definition of transcultural memory as tool of analysis.

Topics to be addressed may include, but are not limited to:

  • Migrant memories as they appear in literature, visual arts, as well as in digital and audiovisual media;
  • (Traumatic) migrant memory as counter-memory of the past;
  • Frictions of interrelation between migrant memories and official national or supranational perceptions of the past;
  • Transcultural migrant memory in comparison with global memories;
  • The use of powerful global narratives (such as the Holocaust) in artistic expression of migrant memory;
  • Methodological observations about the transcultural as means of investigating migrant memory;
  • The change of migrant memories as they interact with existing memory narratives in their host countries;
  • The reception of migrant memories in ‘host’ societies;
  • Artistic expressions of migrant memories as demonstration of the global networks of remembrance and/or the “traveling of memories”;
  • ‘Migrant’ character in cultural artifacts expressing the general rootlessness in the present ‘age of globalization’;
  • The role of ‘place’ in the (re)creation of migrant memory? Do specific ‘places’ impact on these memories, or are they resistant to change?


Please send a 300-word abstract, including your name, the title of your paper, and your university, for a 20 minute presentation, to by Friday 27th January 2017.

For information regarding the small travel contributions we can offer to participants, please contact us on the above email.


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