Call for Scholars, Artists, Architects and Activists for Symposium

Before World War II, Robert Musil famously claimed that there was nothing in this world as invisible as a monument. Yet, recent events in Charlottesville, New Orleans, and elsewhere signal Musil might have been mistaken: monuments and memorials can be easily awakened to inspire activist movements and shift local politics. While old monuments are falling, new memorials are being erected at heightened speed. The distance between an injustice, tragedy, or deed, and its memorialization seems to be rapidly decreasing.

The foundational literature on memorialization, which includes classics such as Pierre Nora’s Lieux de Memoire, James Young’s The Texture of Memory, Andreas Huyssen’s Twilight Memories, dealt with a historical phenomenon rooted in the 80s and were heightened by anxieties about the new millennium. Nearly three decades later its seems pressing to reassess the role that memory and its physical manifestations –memorials, monuments, plaques, calendars, photographs– play in our contemporary world. The 2019 Global Urban Humanities conference, Techniques of Memory, invites scholars, artists, architects, and activists to come together to analyze memorialization as a historical phenomenon, discuss the contemporary role of memorials, and examine the changing role of memory in diverse geographical areas and historical periods.

We invite proposals for presentations of scholarly papers, artist’s talks, design proposals and activist projects.

The Global Urban Humanities Initiative is a joint venture between the UC Berkeley Arts & Humanities Division of the College of Letters & Science and the College of Environmental Design. Thanks to the vision and support of the Mellon Foundation, it brings together scholars and practitioners from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, city and regional planning, and multiple humanities disciplines - ranging from comparative literature and history of art to theater, dance and performance studies. Together, faculty and graduate students are developing new theoretical paradigms, research methods, and pedagogical approaches in order to help address the complex problems facing today's global cities and regions.

Techniques of Memory: Landscape, Iconoclasm, Medium and Power will be a two-day symposium organized by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at UC Berkeley, from April 17th to 18th 2019 at the David Brower Center in Downtown Berkeley. Following the principles of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, our symposium seeks to bring together not only scholars, but practitioners, activists and artists to think about monuments, memorial landscapes, iconoclasm, mediums and materiality, as well as memory politics and power from the unique interdisciplinary standpoint that this platform provides. The symposium will consist of four panels: Landscape, Iconoclasm, Medium and Power. We ask submissions to reference which of the four panels they would like to be considered for:

  1. Landscape: Contributions that engage with what could be largely defined as memorial landscapes: geographies of memory, geopolitics of memorials, as well as monuments and memorials in specific social and cultural contexts.
  2. Iconoclasm: Contributions that engage with the destruction, removal, intervention, mobility and stasis, re-appropriation, and re-signification of monuments and memorials.
  3. Medium: Contributions that examine the materiality, production, and labor of memory, monuments and memorials.
  4. Power: Contributions that engage with politics and institutions of memory, race and memory, gender and memory, debates around postcolonial memorialization, as well as struggles for recognition and reparation.

Additionally, keynote speakers Austin Allen (New Orleans), Jason Berry (New Orleans), Lauren Kroiz (Berkeley), Marita Sturken (New York), Hans van Houwelingen (Amsterdam), will each contribute to one of the four themes of the conference and will serve as respondents to the delivered papers.

Submissions should include the following:

  • Contact information (name and email)
  • Institutional affiliation and/or address
  • Title of contribution
  • Type of contribution (paper, performance, artist talk, design talk)
  • Preferred panel (landscape, iconoclasm, medium or power)
  • Abstract/summary (300 words)
  • CV (no more than 4 pages)
  • Optional: 1-2 Illustrations

Please send submissions to Valentina Rozas-Krause vrozas@berkeley.edu as one PDF file, labeled as LastNameFirstName_TechniquesofMemory.pdf
Please direct inquiries to Valentina Rozas-Krause vrozas@berkeley.edu.

The deadline for submissions is December 20th, 2018.

Selected presenters will be supported at the symposium with $1000 for travel and lodging expenses for presenters from outside the US, $800 for presenters travelling within the US, and $400 for presenters travelling within California.

Symposium Organizing Committee

  • Anna Livia Brand - Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design Department
  • Sarah Hwang - Global Urban Humanities Program Coordinator
  • Susan Moffat - Global Urban Humanities Project Director
  • Valentina Rozas-Krause – Architecture Department
  • Andrew Shanken –Architecture Department
  • Bryan Wagner - English Department