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The past in the present. History and memories, an essential issue for contemporary societies (Europe-America)

The journal Amnis, a European and American contemporary civilization journal, calls for papers for its next issue The past in the present. History and memories, an essential issue for contemporary societies (Europe-America) coordinated by Jesús Alonso Carballés (Université Bordeaux Montaigne).

This issue proposes an interdisciplinary reflection and research space for the way that memory, or rather memories, of remarkable 20th century historical events and their consequences guide the future of contemporary societies. Despite the passage of time, sometimes over a century but more often over several decades, the memory of numerous conflicts scattered throughout the last century, from World War I to the Balkan ethnic purification and not forgetting the revolutions and numerous dictatorships that bloodied Europe and Latin America, not only rests at the heart of many debates and examinations of history, but also in our discussions and interpretations of a past “that never passes away.” (H. Rousso). Above all, this phenomenon raises the question of the workings of contemporary societies and their relationship with history.

  • 1 Pierre Nora, « Entre Mémoire et Histoire. La problématique des lieux », in Pierre Nora (dir.) Les l (...)

This issue focuses on an interdisciplinary approach since it deals with essential problems related to the comprehension of fluctuating relationships between memory, history, social sciences, arts and creation in general at the beginning of the 21st century, characterized by the definitive inversion of traditional processes of access to the past. If written history up to the 1990s had played a prominent role in the configuration of the collective’s memory, memory since then has progressively become the source of a new history. As Pierre Nora points out “the end of history-memory has multiplied particular memories that are demanding their own history”1 .

  • 2 Gérard Noiriel, « Histoire, mémoire, engagement civique », in Hommes et Migrations, janvier-février (...)
  • 3 Enzo Traverso, Le passé mode d’emploi. Histoire, mémoire, politique, Paris, La fabrique éditions, 2 (...)
  • 4 Philippe Joutard, Histoire et mémoires, conflits et alliance, Paris, Editions La Découverte, 2013.

Since the late 1980s, the close bonds between history and memory have not ceased to evolve and, although epistemological distinctions introduced by Pierre Nora are still relevant, other historians have also contributed to the understanding of the enduring insurmountable walls between these two categories. For Gérard Noiriel, the major difference between history and memory “does not reside in the methodology or accounts of archives. It lies on the kind of questioning of the past. The producers of memory are concerned with “saving it from forgetfulness,” or with rehabilitating the individuals and groups who have their support. So the historian’s role is about developing questions, which would allow him to better understand, even explain, the past with the hope that this might help people today” 2. In his opinion, Enzo Traverso believes that the relationship between history and memory has been reconfigured “as a dynamic conflict”, and without denying their tensions, he asserts to take into account the influence that history can have on memory “in obligating it to transform into an auto reflective analysis and critical discourse.” And so, he wonders as to what measure memory can also contribute to revealing to history “its blind spots and its hasty generalizations” 3. More recently, Philippe Joutard’s latest work advocates for a necessary alliance between history and memories, reminding us how memory can help historians to question formerly inaccessible realities, while history may facilitate the cohabitation of concurrent memories4.

These differences are at the core of the reflection proposed by the journal Amnis in its new invitation to analyze the connections between history and memory regarding the following questions and themes :

1.Relationships between history and conflict memories, from the 19th century to present.

2.Memory, law and justice

3.Appropriations and political practices of the past.

4.Memory spaces : between preservation and erasure of history.

5.Art and memory : creation to help the past’s survival.

6.Abuses of memory

7.The forgetting and erasure of the past.

8.Memory and collective identity.

9.The resurgence of memory as the origin of new conflicts.

10.Manifestations of the post-memory or the intergenerational transmission of trauma.

11.Stories and memory.

12.In Praise of Forgetting.

The proposals (30 lines) can be written in French, English or Spanish. They should be submitted with the author’s curriculum vitae before November 30, 2018 to the following email address : amnis@revues.org.

The full article of an accepted proposal must be submitted no later than May 30, 2019. Upon the review of the Journal Scientific Committee and two external expert peer reviewers, the articles will be published on the journal’s website (http :/amnis.revues.org) for the rest of 2019.

Notes

1 Pierre Nora, « Entre Mémoire et Histoire. La problématique des lieux », in Pierre Nora (dir.) Les lieux de mémoire, vol. I, La République, Paris, Gallimard, 1984, pp. V-XLII.

2 Gérard Noiriel, « Histoire, mémoire, engagement civique », in Hommes et Migrations, janvier-février 2004.

3 Enzo Traverso, Le passé mode d’emploi. Histoire, mémoire, politique, Paris, La fabrique éditions, 2005, pp. 23-30.

4 Philippe Joutard, Histoire et mémoires, conflits et alliance, Paris, Editions La Découverte, 2013.

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