[URBANTH-L] CFP: Critical Time: Remembering at the Intersections of History and Power

Mieka Brand mbrand at virginia.edu
Thu Mar 23 17:13:35 EST 2006

*** please forward ***

Proposed Panel for 2006 American Anthropological Association
CFP: Critical Time: Remembering at the Intersections of History and Power

As ethnographically salient concepts, both History and Memory have recently 
been critiqued by scholars who lament their overextension and question their 
precision. In this panel, we seek to sharpen the understanding of the issues 
at stake by exploring contexts in which both historical discourse and social 
memory are in play. What happens to memories when, as Pierre Nora might say, 
they pass through history--as when visitors engage with their own 
representations in a historical museum? Conversely, how are state-sanctioned 
histories transformed when they are articulated to everyday experiences and 
spaces? Papers for this panel should focus on sites of historical production 
(archives, exhibits, monuments, museums, neighborhoods, etc.) and on those 
who remember and act "in their shadow." Our aim is to focus on the 
relationship between history and memory and enhance their analytical reach 
by exploring how subjects of history remember and how remembering agents 

Papers should concentrate on ways in which agency is expanded, transformed, 
or restricted through actors' mnemonic/historicizing activities. Exploring 
the changing nature of discourse in sites that the state deems "historic" we 
ask, what kinds of ideologies, moralities, agencies, and identities are 
reified in local and collective memories? What are the micropractices of the 
shifts that these sites enable (or undermine)? Once state-sanctioned 
histories become prominent, in what ways are local and collective "memories" 
transformed? What elements of such histories are incorporated into actors' 
understandings and experiences, and which elements are left out? When 
competing historical narratives exist, how do some cease to be acceptably 
"historical," demoted to "fiction" or mere "memories"? Through what specific 
acts of remembering (or forgetting) does a museum visitor invest herself 
with the attributes of historical agency? Whether articulating "personal" 
memories or historicizing a previously "ahistorical" sphere of activity, 
actors engage in a temporal-izing of the world, a cultural production that 
articulates, shifts, or translates different registers of social life as 
marked with time. Underlying these topics is thus a shared appreciation of 
the critical stakes of temporalization, since characterizing the movement 
and shape of time, and situating the self relative to these flows and 
intervals, are often acts with profound political implications.

We welcome papers that pertain to any part of the world and which ask 
questions about history/memory, power, and identity.  Interested panelists 
should email abstracts (maximum 250 words) no later than March 27, 2006 to 
session organizers Marc David (University of North Carolina) or Mieka Brand 
(University of Virginia).  Be sure to include in your email your name, 
affiliation and the title of your paper.

Marc David: mdavid at email.unc.edu
Mieka Brand: mbrand at virginia.edu

Mieka Brand
University of Virginia
Department of Anthropology,
Carter Woodson Institute for
   African American & African Studies
mbrand at virginia.edu

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