Mediated Memories of Responsibility (1)

Mediated Memories of Responsibility (1)
18 November 2020, 3.00pm - 4.30pm

Part of the Cultural Memory Seminar

Session 1: 18 November 2020, 3pm GMT

Max Silverman (University of Leeds)
Impure Memory
Max Silverman proposes a poetics of hybrid memory that he will call impure memory. The underlying principle of this model is the notion that memory (as with identity, language and so on) is never pure, singular and autonomous but a hybrid assemblage in which the trace of one is always in the other. He will suggest that the relevance of this model of memory to moments of extreme violence lies in the challenge it poses to the idea of separate, comparative and competitive histories and memories (the worst manifestations of which are invidious comparative victimologies), and the compartmentalisation of metropolitan history, colonial history, and the history of European genocide.

Hanna Meretoja (University of Turku)
Non-Subsumptive Memory and Jenny Erpenbeck’s «Gehen, ging, gegangen»
In this talk, Hanna Meretoja develops a non-subsumptive model of cultural memory. While understanding is often seen as a form of appropriation, assimilation, and subsumption of the singular under the general, it can be argued, from a hermeneutic perspective, that there are also non-subsumptive, non-appropritive, dialogical forms of understanding. Meretoja explores how a non-subsumptive model of understanding can be helpful in theorizing memory as a mode of sense-making that can contribute to understanding histories of violence in responsible, ethically sustainable ways. In dialogue with Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel Gehen, ging, gegangen (2015, Go, Went, Gone), Meretoja suggests that mnemonic sense-making models tend to be productive when they adapt and change as they are applied to new situations, and harmful when they subsume new experiences under a fixed meaning template. The novel engages with the ‘migrant crisis’ by asking how the violent histories of the Holocaust and East Germany implicate us in the present and may enable or block our ability to understand the  experience of the other. This talk envisages cultural memory as a resource for learning in other-oriented processes of dialogical understanding.

Donald Bloxham (University of Edinburgh)
Beyond Neutrality: Historianship and Moral Judgement
Developing themes from his recent volume History and Morality (Oxford University Press, 2020), Donald Bloxham's paper considers anew the vexed question of historians and moral judgements about the past, and addresses in particular the issue of how historians deal with past atrocities.

To book your place on this first seminar in the series taking place on 18 November 2020 at 3pm GMT click on the BOOK NOW button at the bottom of the page.

Dates for all sessions in this series:

Session 2: 20 January 2021

Claire Gorrara (University of Cardiff) 
Emiliano Perra (University of Winchester)
Stephanie Bird (UCL)
Further information on session 2 can be found here:

Session 3: 10 March 2021
Uilleam Blacker (UCL)
Frederica Mazzara (University of Westminster)
Damien Short (School of Advanced Study UoL)

Session 4: 19 May 2021
Alison Ribeiro de Menezes (University of Warwick)
Diana Popa (University of Tallinn)
Charles Burdett (IMLR, London) and Gianmarco Mancosu (University of Warwick)

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).

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All are welcome to attend these free events. You will need to register in advance for each session to receive the online event joining link. 

Booking facilities and further information for the March and May sessions will be available in due course on the CCM Events page.

This seminar series has received generous support from the Humanities and Arts Research Institute (HARI) of Royal Holloway University of London, and University Council of Modern Languages (UCML).

Please click on the Book Now button below to register for the first session taking place on

18 November 2020 at 3pm GMT.

Download Guidance on how to participate in an online event (pdf)


Guido Bartolini
020 7862 8832