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Genealogies of Memory 2023: Pandemics, famines and industrial disasters of the 20th and 21st centuries

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Thematic focus

  • Transnational History
  • Remembrance / Collective Memory
  • Europe
  • 20th Century
  • 21st Century






Warsaw University Library, Warsaw


22 - 24 November 2023


How individuals cope with the memory of traumatic large-scale events (such as wars, famines, pandemics, natural or industrial disasters) is of great interest to social sciences such as psychology, psychotraumatology or sociology. Since the Great War and what was then described as ’shell shock’, i.e. an individual’s bodily response to trauma – better known today as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – the study of trauma has developed significantly. But how are the memory and reality of dramatic past events experienced and worked through at a collective level, including those that are direct consequences of armed conflicts or violent revolutions? The aim of the conference – carried out as part of the 13th edition of the Genealogies of Memory project – will be an attempt at drawing attention to the discourses of memory and non-remembrance of large-scale natural and human induced disasters in 20th-century Europe. We want to bring to the fore the perspective of diverse social actors – both individual and collective, thus thematising the presence of such events in both individual (family), regional and collective memory, for which an important area of expression were changing public narratives (of both authoritarian and communist, as well as democratic governments of 20th-century Europe) as well as popular ones, present particularly in cultural texts (film, literature, etc.). We are also interested in reflecting on the presence of this issue in the contemporary public space – material and artistic (monuments, memorials, exhibitions, etc.) as well as discursive.


European Network Remembrance and Solidarity