History, Memory, and Social Movements

Conference, 19-20 July 2017, Bochum, Germany


The Institute for Social Movements (ISB) of the Ruhr University Bochum, chaired by Prof. Dr. Stefan Berger, invites interested scholars and advanced students to the conference “History, Memory, and Social Movements”, which will take place at the ISB on July 19-20, 2017.
The conference is part of a collaborative postgraduate project between the ISB and the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne (Australia) under the auspices of Prof. Dr. Sean Scalmer.

Memory studies have become a field of growing interest in the humanities. While scholars of different disciplines focus mainly on the theoretical and methodological groundwork of “memory”, historical researchers frequently analyse “memory” in connection with nationalism studies and/or the creation of cultural identity within a state. However, research on social movements is comparatively rare in this field. The conference “History, Memory, and Social Movements” addresses this shortcoming and examines the role of “memory” in several social movements.
In doing so, it investigates the manifold ways in which memory cultures, memory politics, history politics and activism played a role in social movements.
How do social movements act as repositories of (counter-) memory? In which way have they built “memory” themselves? How far have they mediated their kind of “memory” to the broad public? Which former stakeholders and campaigns were important for several social movements? Why did the remembrance of their protagonists only play a marginal role in historiography, commemorative culture and public reception? All these questions will be discussed by established scholars and experts on memory and on social movement studies as well as by junior researchers from different disciplines.

For further information or the registration, please contact the organisers Alrun Berger, Jule Ehms and Sarah Langwald via histmem@rub.de.
The participation is free of charge, travel and accommodation costs are not covered.
Funded by the Ruhr University Research School PLUS.


Conference “History, Memory, and Social Movements”
Bochum, Institute for Social Movements, Clemensstr. 17-19

> Wednesday, 19 July

10.15 – Conference Opening

Stefan Berger (Bochum) / Sean Scalmer (Melbourne)
Welcome address

10.30 – Alternative Conceptions, Traditions and Theoretical Reflections on Memory in Social Movements

Ann Rigney (Utrecht)
The Afterlife of Hope

Mischa Gabowitsch (Potsdam)
Protest and Commemorative Movements in Present-Day Russia: Unexpected Structural Similarities

11.20 – Coffee/Tea

11.30 – The Memory of the Labour Movement

Stefan Berger (Bochum)
How Do Trade Unions Remember? Preliminary Thoughts on a Wide-Open Research Area

Liam Byrne (Melbourne)
Labours Lives Lost? Personal and Political Memory in the Australian Labour Movement

Sean Scalmer (Melbourne)
Remembering the Movement for Eight Hours. Commemoration and Mobilisation in Australia

13.00 – Lunch

14.00 – The Memory of Anarchism and Syndicalism

Dennis Bos (Leiden)
The Influence of the Paris Commune of 1871 and its Memory within the International Anarchist, Socialist and Communist Movement

Jule Ehms (Bochum)
“Devoted by the organized workers of the city”. The Remembrance of the Märzgefallenen by Workers’ Organizations during the Weimar Republic

15.00 – Coffee/Tea

15.15 – The Memory of Communists and Leftists

Till Kössler (Bochum)
The Memory of Communism in West-Germany

Sarah Langwald (Bochum)
Memory as a Strategy in Court? Dealing with the Past in Trials against Communists in 1950s/60s West-Germany

Chloe Ward (Melbourne)
Inside Which Whale? The British Left Remembers the Popular Front

> Thursday, 20 July

9.15 – The Memory of Movements for Peace

Alrun Berger (Bochum)
The Role of Sacrifice and Mourning within the West-German Peace Movement of the early 1960s

David Lowe (Geelong)
Atomic Testing in Australia. Memories, Mobilisations and Mistrust

Richard Rohrmoser (Mannheim)
“Grassroots Security Police”. Nonviolent Protests against Nuclear Missiles in Mutlangen, 1983-1987

10.45 – Coffee/Tea

11.00 – The Memory of Environmental and Urban Movements

Stephen Milder (Groningen)
“We said no!” Remembering the Resistance at Wyhl in the 1970s and Today

Christian Wicke (Utrecht)
Memory Motives “within”, “of” and “by” Social Movements. The Workers-Settlement Initiatives in the Ruhr and the Sydney Green Bans

Iain McIntyre (Melbourne)
“The FBI stole my fiddle”. Song and Memory in US Radical Environmentalism, 1979-1995

13.00 – Lunch

14.00 – From Local to Global. Protest Strategies and Memory Activism

Jenny Wüstenberg (Toronto)
From Memory Work to Memory Protest. How Movements Transformed Institutions of Remembrance in Germany

Kate Davison (Melbourne)
Queer Memorials and Absences. Public LGBTIQ Commemoration Strategies in Transnational Perspective

Berthold Unfried (Vienna)
Competing Global Movements with the Past around the Turn of the Millennium

Circa 15.30 – End of Conference

For further information: http://www.isb.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/isb/index.html.de