A. Scott Catey catey at ufl.edu
Fri Jan 23 09:23:35 EST 2009


please see the panel abstract and CFP below. Requesting submission 
of paper abstracts by 15 Feb 2009, currently seeking section 


Fixing Presents: Memory Work and the Authoring of the Past in the 

In this panel, we seek to interrogate memory as a social practice. 
Memory is often relegated to the disciplines of history and 
philosophy, and is too often conceived as a byproduct of the 
interaction between specific historical events and individual 
experiences. Within anthropology, memory has been positioned not 
as merely a personal cognitive or emotive process, but as a 
collective social practice by which human groups attempt to deal 
with the past in the present. Collective memory is used to 
construct notions of identity, unite communities and to create 
spaces of inclusion. Memory can also be less harmonious, producing 
ruptures, fomenting discord, tension, fragmentation and 
constituting exclusionary monoliths of belonging, against which 
difference is judged, hidden, or eliminated. Ethics, agency, 
representation, power, language and other fundamental disciplinary 
concerns are thus linked to memory and the processes and practices 
of ???memory work,??? and it is these concerns and  the analytical 
instruments anthropologists deploy to consider memory that are key 
objects for this panel.

Memory work is being conducted by state officials, employees of 
NGOs and multinational corporations, activists, and lay publics. 
Among other initiatives, memory is being practiced as a response 
to global transnational processes, through political narrative, 
and as a way to constitute and legitimate local, national, and 
other forms of identity. Envisioning a future and anchoring 
present work in the social objects and events of the past is basic 
to memory work. This panel is designed in part to more closely 
link the concerns of the discipline with the substantive work of 
its practitioners. Accordingly, we will address the processes and 
effects of memory work as social practice, the coding and 
privileging of social and cultural normativities and the shaping 
effects of these normativities for subjective experience in 
ethnographic settings as well as in the professional spaces of our 
own discipline.

We are seeking papers for the panel that focus on memory as social 
practice and the multiple ways in which memory is conjured, 
embodied, strategized, used as a response to existing social 
conditions, and performed as a political act. Some of the 
questions the panel organizers seek to explore include:
1. How do social agents come together to produce memory? What 
practices do they employ?
2. How are memories conveyed to publics or particular audiences? 
That is, what acts of representation do, or must, occur for 
particular forms of memory to achieve dominance, and how do these 
particular forms ???earn??? the imprint of the historical as 
against other non-dominant or ???folk??? forms?
3. Historical representation is a political act; how is memory 
authorized, and by whom? What are the ways by which and conditions 
under which authorized forms of memory are inscribed? How do these 
inscribed versions endure; that is, what work is done to sustain 
authorized forms of memory? What are the prominent narratives of 
memory and how are they embodied? What/who gets forgotten and 
elided in memory work and memories?
4. What are the ways in which public memories are used as a 
political strategy or as an attempt to rework cultural and 
symbolic repertoires to achieve specified, intentional ends?

Abstracts must be received by 15 Feb 2009. Please send them to:
Amy Cox (amycox at ufl.edu), or
Scott Catey (catey at ufl.edu)



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