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Post- and Decolonial Memory Activism in a European Perspective

    Initiatives and activist groups in various European cities are making visible the traces of colonialism in urban spaces for already more than a decade. Since the US-American Black Lives Matter movement spread to Europe in 2020, anti-racist protesters have turned their actions against the visible traces celebrating colonial rule, thus raising public awareness of Europe’s colonial legacy. Post- and decolonial memory activists are increasingly questioning the ways in which the history of colonial violence has been made forgotten, and they are offering perspectives on how it can be remembered in the present. The persistent traces of the colonial past reveal how colonial structures impacted the former metropoles, as well as how colonial imaginaries have developed an afterlife in the present, as they have often remained unchallenged.  

    The LAB examines the various traces of the colonial in selected countries and cities. It asks about the (dis)continuities of the colonial in the present, the ways in which the colonial past has been silenced, and the slow changes we can observe. For example, what is the relationship between the glorification and relativism of colonialism and the demand for recognition, restitution, and reparation? The LAB is also interested in uncovering the multidirectional references drawn to the colonial past in the course of history. In this respect, the entanglement of different memory practices is central: What role does the fascist/national socialist or the socialist past in the former GDR play in working through colonial crimes? Looking at similarities and differences should invite us to discuss perspectives on remembrance practices that go beyond the boundaries of the nation-state. Likewise, we also want to reflect on our positionality as scholars, activists, scholar-activists in shaping the practices of remembrance and working to transform the way colonial legacies are dealt with.

    Workshop Program:

    12.00–12.15: Welcome and Introduction: Post- and decolonial memory activism in a European perspective

    12.15–13.00: Panel and discussion

    Linda Boukhris (Paris): The production of a counter-hegemonic narrative of the urban space as a reparative praxis: archiving futures in the suburbs of Paris

    Jadel Andreetto (RIC, Bologna): “Odonomastic guerrilla warfare”: The recontextualization of colonial street names in the Cirenaica district of Bologna and beyond.

    13.00–13.20: Coffee Break

    13.20–14.00: Keynote 

    Jonathan Bach (The New School for Social Research, NY): Imperial ambiguities: Colonial pasts in Germany’s present

    14.15-15.00: Panel and discussion

    Johanna Kreft (Birmingham): Beyond ‘colonial amnesia’ – Transformative postcolonial memory activism in Germany

    Miriam Friz Trzeciak (Cottbus): Multidirectional forms of remembering and forgetting. The example of a post-colonial and post-socialist city tour

    15.00–16.00: Workshop

    1. Social movements/memory acitvism and institutional transformation: Thinking about an “Ostvernetzung” within the decolonize network
    2. Activism vs. science? Scholar-activism and perspectives on collaborative research
    3. Transnational memory: Confronting the colonial past beyond the nation

    This event will be hybrid. If you would like to participate online or in presence, please register at koloniales-erbe-thueringen@uni-erfurt.de.