The Cerm Winter School "How to document the present: oral history and memory of war" is underway

News date: 
Monday, January 23, 2023
Winter School CERM

Memories of war and violence occupy a special place in our societies. They inspire moral imperatives aiming to prevent future atrocities and to demonstrate the importance of sustaining peace. However, memories of past conflicts can also incite hate and be used to justify violence. The ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, framed by the Kremlin as the continuation of the WWII-time crusade against Nazism, provides a tragic opportunity to engage not only with the (ab)uses of memory but also with the immediate experience of living through and witnessing a war.

The ambiguous role of memory in the context of armed conflicts raises multiple questions, relevant both for the academic community and the civil society: How do individuals and societies in Europe and worldwide remember wars and violence? What are the differences in war-related memory practices across societies and how are they affected by the rise of digital technologies? What methodological and conceptual approaches can be used to study war memories and their societal functions, including the ones associated with the present conflicts such as the Russian war against Ukraine?

To address these questions, the Winter School “How to Document the Present: Oral History and Memory of the War”, organized by the Centre for Research on Minorities (Cerm), directed by Professor Daniele Brigadoi Cologna and Professor Paola Bocale, will bring together a cohort of esteemed scholars specialising in research dealing with the complex interrelations between memory, violence, and war. A unique transdisciplinary environment will provide students with possibilities to learn different conceptual stances on memory and war, but also to get familiar with a broad range of methodological approaches to study them, ranging from classic qualitative approaches (e.g., close reading or content analysis) to novel computational approaches (e.g., topic modelling and algorithm audit).

In addition to learning the state-of-the-art theoretical and methodological approaches for studying the interrelationship between oral history, memory, and war, participants will engage with the latest research on the memories of violence and war in the context of Ukraine. For this aim, the school will bring together a group of Ukrainian and Western scholars who will discuss their oral history projects with the School’s participants. Besides providing unique education experience and networking opportunities for students, such engagement will facilitate critical reflection and dialogue which are core principles of the University of New Europe (UNE).

Classes will be held at the S. Abbondio campus of the University of Insubria (Via S. Abbondio 12) in Como, Italy. Located next to the Italian-Swiss border, the city of Como overlooks the southwest end of Como lake and is surrounded by green hills, forested mountains and blue, crystal clear water.

Participants completing the school are entitled to receive 5 ECTS.

Jan Claas Behrends (Viadrina University / UNE), Alexander Etkind (CEU / UNE), Dina Gusejnova (LSE / UNE), Andrea Peto (CEU / UNE), Ellen Rutten (University of Amsterdam), Philipp Schmaedeke (University of Applied Sciences), Mykola Makhortykh (Università di Berna/UNE), Daniele Brigadoi Cologna (Università dell'Insubria), Paola Bocale (Università dell'Insubria), Aleksandra Urman (Università di Zurigo), Luciano Mecacci (Academia Europaea).

The school’s faculty consists of 12 scholars with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and working in different parts of Europe, including Alexander Etkind (Central European University), Paola Bocale (University of Insubria), Elizaveta Gaufman (University of Groningen), Svitlana Teluha (Karazin Kharkiv National University), and Mykola Makhortykh (University of Bern).

Last modified: Monday, January 23, 2023 - 12:14