Mediated Memories of Responsibility (3)

Mediated Memories of Responsibility (3)
10 March 2021, 3.00pm - 4.30pm

Part of the Cultural Memory Seminar

Uilleam Blacker (UCL)
‘The colonisers decided everything’: Responsibility, victimhood and the Holocaust in Ukrainian memory culture.
The talk will examine the ways in which Ukraine’s self-perception as a victim of Russian-Soviet colonisation influences representations and commemorations of the Holocaust. During World War II, Ukrainians found themselves caught in a situation of extreme complexity between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Ukrainians who fought in the war did so both for and against the Soviets, the Germans, the Ukrainian nationalist underground, and the Poles. They were rescuers of Jews, bystanders and perpetrators of the Holocaust. The one thing that Ukrainians did not do during the war was run their own state. Unlike in countries like France, Hungary or Romania, there was no Ukrainian collaborationist regime. Similarly, after the war, Ukraine was incorporated in the Soviet Union, and the memory of the war and the Holocaust was controlled from Moscow. The Soviet Union denied and deliberately effaced the specific suffering of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis, instead painting a picture of the united Soviet people as a hero-victim. As a result, Ukraine was only really able to form a public and cultural Holocaust memory after 1991. In truth, Ukraine has not produced a single national narrative about the war or the Holocaust, but, increasingly, Ukrainians are portrayed as victims and sometimes rescuers, while both the Holocaust and its subsequent silencing are seen as interventions by totalitarian powers intent on colonizing Ukraine. This narrative allows responsibility to be lifted from the shoulders of Ukrainians. In examining how this narrative of colonization has affected perceptions of Ukrainian co-responsibility for the Holocaust, this talk will focus on commemorative initiatives and cultural representations of two Holocaust sites – L’viv, the location of the infamous pogrom of 1941, and Babyn Iar in Kyiv, Ukraine’s main Holocaust memory site.

Federica Mazzara (University of Westminster)
Mediating memory of migration: The role of art and activism.
This paper will look at the role played by art and activism in mediating memories of migration. It will look at cases that revolve around the topics of militarisation and migrant deaths at sea in the Mediterranean borderscape, as presented in a recent exhibition, Sink Without Trace: An Exhibition on Migrant Deaths at Sea (London 2019, P21 Gallery). The aim of the exhibition was to subvert the narrative of migration around loss of lives, identification and memory. The paper will examine a few specific works featured in the exhibition, including Max Hirzel's Migrant Bodies and Maya Ramsay's Countless.

Damien Short (School of Advance Study UoL)
‘Culture, genocide and (in)justice in Australia’
Debates about genocide in Australia have for the most part focused on past frontier killings and child removal practices. This talk, however, focuses on contemporary culturally destructive policies, and the colonial structures that produce them, through the analytical lens of the concept of genocide. The lecture begins with a discussion of the meaning of cultural genocide, locating the idea firmly in Lemkin’s work before moving on to engage with the debates around Lemkin’s distinction between genocide and cultural ‘diffusion.’ In contrast to those scholars who prefer the word ‘ethnocide,’ the underlying conceptual contention is that the term ‘cultural genocide’ simply describes a key method of genocide and should be viewed, without the need for qualification, as genocide. While direct physical killing and genocidal child removal practices may have ceased in Australia, some indigenous activists persuasively contend that genocide is a continuing process in an Australia that has failed to decolonise. Concurring with these views the lecture will argue that the contemporary expression of continuing genocidal relations in Australia can be seen principally in the colonial state’s official reconciliation process, native title land rights regime and the more recent interventionist ‘solutions’ to indigenous ‘problems’ in the Northern Territory and the development of unconventional energy exploitation on indigenous lands.

To book your place on this seminar taking place on 10 March 2021, at 3pm GMT click on the BOOK NOW button at the bottom of the page.

Date for the next session in this series:

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

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).

Download Poster

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 May session 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 this third session taking place on 10 March 2021 at 3pm GMT.

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


Guido Bartolini
020 7862 8832