Mediated Memories of Responsibility (4)

Part of the Cultural Memory Seminar Series

​Alison Ribeiro de Menezes (University of Warwick)
Developing a Virtual Museum of the Spanish Civil War: Public History and Memory 
This contribution examines the practice of public history and memory work through discussion of the development of a Virtual Museum of the Spanish Civil War. Spain has no national museum to the Spanish Civil War and a relatively weak tradition of public history. However, since 2000 there have been intense civic debates surrounding the legacies of the Civil War and Franco dictatorship and active memory campaigns to seek both symbolic and legal redress for historical violence, atrocities, and crimes. Within this context, I examine how a project to develop and online history of the war might bring together the practice of public history with memory work (as proposed by Jelin in The Labors of Memory) and what this means for scholars in the field who potentially become memory entrepreneurs.

Diana Popa (Tallin University)
Spectacular provocations: Spectatorship and Responsibility in Radu Jude’s Historical Films
In this paper, I explore Radu Jude’s Aferim! (2015) and “Îmi este indiferent dacă intrăm în istorie ca barbari” / “I Do Not Care if We go Down in History as Barbarians” (2018), two recent films that articulate histories of violence, such as the issue of Roma slavery and the genocide of Eastern European Jewry during the Second World War, from within a specific socio-historical and cultural context. Both films are representative for the filmmaker’s continued interest in confronting Romanian audience with shameful aspects of their past. I will analyse how the two films use generic formats (the Western) and techniques (direct address and re-enactment) not only to entertain but also to invite spectatorial reflection on the effects on the present of a past left unaddressed by years of communist and post-communist mythmaking. I argue that analysing cinematic and narrative spectacle in relation to the spectatorial positions developed by the two films may help uncover new understandings (both notions of solidarity and also responsibility) in relation to forgotten histories and painful memories of authoritarian pasts. 

Charles Burdett (IMLR) and Gianmarco Mancosu (University of Cagliari)
Ghosts of Empire: Transnational legacies of Italy’s colonial past
Italy’s colonial past, and the subsequent period of decolonization, have left enduring traces on those countries where Italy acted as a colonial power (Eritrea, Libya, Ethiopia, and Somalia) as well as in the making of modern Italian society. Ongoing  debates about the presence of colonial legacies in the Italian urban landscape, and discussions about the forthcoming reopening of the former Colonial Museum in Rome – where objects originating from African countries will be re-exhibited – invite reflection on the modalities through which the presence of material and non-material memories of colonialism still haunts and structures the  present. In our presentation, we will tackle the transnational and transcultural dimension of those memories through the critical use of the metaphor of haunting. Starting from a reflection on the Italian cemetery in Addis Ababa, Gianmarco Mancosu will explore histories and memories of the Italian community in Addis Ababa, its self-perception and the representations of its (post)colonial identity since the end of the fascist empire. Charles Burdett will deal with literary re-mediations of colonialism, centring on the transnational critique offered by an array of authors. He will tackle modes in which contemporary writers address Italian society; the evocation of past violence; the analysis of the continuing effects of racialization; the patterns of reception. As a whole, the presentation will enable us to uncover the enduring effects of events that are buried within the past, but which continue to exercise agency in people’s actions and in their processes of thought and imagination. The presentation aims to stimulate discussion on methodological approaches to the enduring impact of Italian colonial involvement. 

This CCM Seminar Series is co-convened by Guido Bartolini (University College Cork/IMLR), Selena Daly (Royal Holloway University of London) and Joseph Ford (IMLR).

Author: Institute of Modern Languages Research

Organisations: Institute of Modern Languages Research

Event date: Wednesday, 19 May 2021 - 3:00pm