Placeless Memories: Digital Constructions of Memory and Identity – Call For Papers

Placeless Memories: Digital Constructions of Memory and Identity
Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past Conference
University of York
14 July, 2017

Conference Website

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on any aspect of the digital construction of memory and identity, and the use of digital resources as source material for scholars studying these issues. Suggested topics include:

1. What is the nature of digital memories and identities?

  • How are memories and identities shaped online and in peer-to-peer discussion?
  • How do individuals from different backgrounds or ‘groups’ interact with others online, particularly across historically antagonistic or fragile boundaries?
  • How do people draw on – or borrow or appropriate – the memories of others in digital settings?
  • How (and why) do certain historical tropes (such as references to Hitler or Nazism) become commonplace rhetorical tools in online debates?

2. Is ‘online memory’ different from ‘offline memory’

  • To what extent does ‘online memory’ replace, or substitute for, physical access to sites of memory?
  • Are digital discourses particularly raw, spontaneous, and uncritical, as is often supposed?
  • Do cross-cultural dialogues on the Internet strengthen or undermine national and local memories?
  • Are these emerging forms of digital memory more ethical or ‘democratic’, or do they replicate the exclusion of certain groups and memories found in more ‘traditional’ memory forums?

3. How does the researcher approach these digital constructions of memory and use them in their work?

  • How does the researcher use these new sources of knowledge?
  • How do they filter the mass repositories of comments and responses on sites such as YouTube or Facebook?
  • How do they manage, mediate, and process their own reactions to the sometimes highly emotive content?
  • As a source of information, how do these digital dialogues differ from archival sources or ethnographic observation?

Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words to by 31 May, 2017.