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International Symposium: Social Memories and Human Rights in Post-Communist Europe (March 4-6)

International Symposium: Social Memories and Human Rights in Post-Communist Europe (March 4-6)

The international symposium coordinated by the IAS collaborative, Reframing Mass Violence, examined the dynamics of public remembrance in post-communist Europe. The keynote address was by John-Paul Himka, Professor of History and Classics, University of Alberta. In case you missed it, or would like to review, links to videos below.

March 4, Wednesday
Keynote Address: "Bringing the Dark Past to Light:
The Reception of the Holocaust in Post-Communist Europe"

John-Paul Himka
7:30 p.m.
Best Buy Theater, Northrop
Welcome: Barbara Frey (Co-Chair of IAS Collaborative)
Introduction: Evelyn Davidheiser (University of Minnesota)


Despite the Holocaust's profound impact on the history of Eastern Europe, the communist regimes successfully repressed public discourse about and memory of this tragedy. Since the collapse of communism in 1989, however, this has changed. Professor Himka discusses recent political, social, and cultural developments that have facilitated a more nuanced and complex understanding of the continuities and discontinuities in representations of the Holocaust and the role that memory plays in contemporary discussions of national identity in Eastern Europe.

March 5, Thursday
Location: 1210 Heller Hall, 271 19th Avenue S, Minneapolis


9:00 - 9:30 AM
Welcome and Introductory Remarks
CLA Dean John Coleman
Alejandro Baer (Co-Chair of IAS Collaborative)

9:30 - 11:30 AM
Session 1: Competing Images of the Past: Stalinism vs. Nazism
Lars Breuer (Free University of Berlin): "Victimhood in Vernacular Memory in Germany and Poland"
Matti Jutila (University of Minnesota): "Constructing Genocidal Marxism in Post-Communist Europe"
Respondent: Alejandro Baer (University of Minnesota)

1:30 - 3:30 PM
Session 2: Accounting for the Past: Truth and Justice in the former Yugoslavia
Sarah Wagner (George Washington University): "Recognizing Srebrenica's Missing: The Sociopolitics of Forensic Intervention"
Jelena Subotic (Georgia State University): "The Mythologizing of Communist Violence"
Thomas C. Wolfe (University of Minnesota): "History, Truth, and Method: Comments on Forensics and Justice"
Respondent: Barbara Frey (University of Minnesota)
4:00 - 5:45 PM
Session 3: The Ukraine Conflict: Contested Past, Contested Present
An IAS "Thursdays at Four" event
John-Paul Himka (University of Alberta): "The History behind the Regional Conflict in Ukraine"
George O. Liber (University of Alabama - Birmingham): "The Ukrainian Revolution of 2013-2015 and the Russian Response."
J. Brian Atwood (University of Minnesota): "The US perspective on the Regional Conflict."
Respondent: Mary Curtin (University of Minnesota)
March 6, Friday
Location: 1210 Heller Hall, 271 19th Avenue S, Minneapolis

9:00 - 11:00 AM
Session 4: Law and Memory in Transition
Ryan Moltz (University of Minnesota): "Lustration in the Former Yugoslavia"
Adam Czarnota (IISL, Spain): "Law as Mnemosyne Married with Lethe: Quasi-judicial institutions and collective memories"
Nadya Nedelsky (Macalester College): "The Struggle for the Memory of the Nation: Slovakia's Confrontation with its Competing Pasts"
Respondent: Joachim Savelsberg (Co-Chair of IAS Collaborative)
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Session 5: The Arts and the Politics of Representation
Michal Kobialka (University of Minnesota): "Of Contested Pasts and Contested Presents: Tadeusz Kantor's Theatre and the Politics of Representation"
Margarita Kompelmakher (University of Minnesota): "Universality from the Margin? Performing the Explicit Body in the Belarus Free Theater's Trash Cuisine"
Respondent: James Dawes (Macalester College)
Sponsored by the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Cosponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study, the Institute for Global Studies, Center for Austrian Studies, Department of Political Science, Department of History, Center for Jewish Studies, European Studies Consortium and the Ohanessian Endowment Fund for Justice and Peace Studies of the Minneapolis Foundation.