Does Memory Have a History? Part Three: Myth

Does Memory Have a History? Part Three: Myth

Drift 21, Sweelinckzaal, Utrecht, 18 November 2011

Workshop OSL & Onderzoekschool Mediëvistiek

Research Group Transnational Memories (UU) &
Memory: Cultural and Religious Identities (RU)

In October 2008, theNetherlandsGraduateSchoolfor Literary Studies (OSL) andNetherlandsResearchSchoolfor Medieval Studies (Med.) organized their first joint workshop for PhDs, focusing on the concept of cultural memory and its applicability to different historical periods. The goal was to get a discussion going between representatives of different disciplines and historical periods, exploring how the theoretical concept of Cultural Memory could be of use to the study of communities and societies throughout history. A second workshop, devoted to the subject of rewriting, followed in the spring of 2010.

In this third edition of the DMHH-workshop series the focus will be on myth, a concept that is notoriously hard to define, but was nevertheless used repeatedly until quite recently (scholarly amnesia?) and was also the subject of much theoretical reflection. During the workshop we will investigate the analytical potential of ‘myth’ for cultural memory studies and reflect on what has been lost and gained in its erasure as well as potential recovery. We will explore myth’s relation to ‘memory’, ‘history’ and ‘experience’ and inquire into its temporality as it contrasts and intersects with other concepts of time such as historical time and phenomenological time. The focus will be on the ways in which myth functions in cultural memory, discussing its relationship to remembrance and forgetting, to rewriting, politics, and emotions. How does myth function as a figure of memory and of forgetting, and what is its relationship to cultural narratives, to archetypes, and typologies? Should ‘myth’ be understood as a separate temporal mode of cultural memory? Or can we perhaps point out a mythmaking potential in all forms of shared remembrance?

How is myth employed – if at all – by researchers of Classical, Medieval, Early Modern and contemporary culture? In what respects do these approaches resemble or differ from one another and what do they reveal about the transhistorical study of cultural memory? Can we even think of a definition that works’ for everybody, regardless of the historical period or medium under consideration? These are some of the central questions we hope to address in the discussions and presentations structuring the workshop.

Keynote address: prof. dr. Judith Pollmann, leader of the NWO research programme ‘Tales of the Revolt: Memory, Oblivion and Identity in theLow Countries, 1566-1700’.

Participation: Please


Organisation: Truus van Bueren (Med.), Dennis Kersten (OSL), Liedeke Plate (OSL), Ann Rigney (OSL) & Els Rose (Med.).