Co-edited by Magdalena Saryusz-Wolska (German Historical Institute Warsaw), Joanna Wawrzyniak (University of Warsaw) and Zofia Wóycicka (German Historical Institute Warsaw).
Each year, the Memory Studies Association edits an issue of the journal Memory Studies that addresses key topics raised at our Annual Meeting and that are of importance to the entire field. We thus welcome outstanding proposals from MSA Warsaw 2021 conference participants as well as other memory scholars’ articles with novel research insights on mnemonic wars. This year’s conference addressed the convergences between local, national and global memory discourses and practices. Those convergences contribute to new constellations of mnemonic conflicts, be it by fostering new topics, narratives and sensibilities, or by reviving and reinventing particularistic, and often national(istic), visions of the past. Particularly notable mnemonic changes occurred over the last decade due to the coming to power and strengthening of authoritarian regimes all over the world. Both populist parties and their opponents use historical references as arguments in current politics, be it in the Russian-Ukrainian war, during the 2019-2020 Hong-Kong protests, or during the Chilean revolt that started in autumn 2019. With the emergence of the Black Lives Matter protests last year, we witnessed the first social movement of global reach addressing issues of history and memory.
The conference setting, the country of Poland, is a paradigmatic case for the generation of new constellations of mnemonic wars and conflicts informed by both global and local developments in memory politics and activism. The current tensions cannot be explained through reference to national context alone. Transnational frames of religion, class or gender play an increasingly important role in the dynamics of current memory conflicts. For instance, the refugee crisis causes the old myth of Poland as a bulwark of Christendom to merge with wider trends of European Islamophobia. Alternatively, new nodes of class and identity conflicts are crystalizing over the remembrance of the serfdom of peasants in terminology derived from the memory of trans-Atlantic slavery. Encouraged by the successes of their counterparts in other parts of the globe, memory activists have confronted cases of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Older mnemonic conflicts over the Second World War, including the scope of participation of local populations in the Holocaust, are taking new forms due to a generational turn and shifting alliances in politics and scholarship, and at heritage sites. Both populists and the liberal left are promoting new interpretations of the post-war communist period, the Solidarity movement and the Round Table of 1989.
In this special issue of Memory Studies, we would like to map current mnemonic wars in different parts of the world, focusing on their topics and novel political, cultural and
social constellations. We welcome outstanding theoretical articles, as well as empirical case studies looking at the dynamics of those conflicts. Who are the contemporary memory agents fostering confrontational memory politics? What tools, media and practices do they use to promote their interpretations of the past? We are also interested in how global developments, such as the spread of mass and social media, the emergence of transnational memory politics or the establishment of global networks of memory activists, influence today’s memory conflicts. We encourage standard research papers, but we will also consider proposals in other formats, such as debates and interviews.
Please send your proposal (no more than 500 words) no later than Dec. 15, 2021 to the following address: MSAWarsaw_specialissue@is.uw.edu.pl. We will let you know if the proposal fits the scope of the special issue.
March 31, 2022 – submission of articles of 6000 words in length inclusive of references, abstracts, and keywords. Please follow the Memory Studies guidelines for authors when formatting your article: journals.sagepub.com/author-instructions/MSS. However, rather than submitting your paper via the MS submission platform, send it to the following address: MSAWarsaw_specialissue@is.uw.edu.pl. All submissions will be blind peer reviewed. You will be notified of the result as soon as possible.