Ravenstein Seminar (Winter School 2019) – Memory Studies and Materiality

Date: 23-25 January 2019
Location: Utrecht University
Organisation: Susanne Knittel (UU), Lázló Munteán (RU), Liedeke Plate (RU), Ann Rigney (UU)
Speakers: Tim Ingold, Birgit Meyer, Chiara de Cesari, Rob van der Laarse, Wayne Modest et al.
Credits: 5 EC
Open to: PhD candidates and RMA students
Registration will open Fall 2018

“Perhaps the universe is a memory of our mistakes,” Jeanette Winterson writes in The Stone Gods (2007). Over the past decade, a material turn has been revolutionizing the Humanities and Social Sciences. Following a period of empirical oblivion, the idea that “stuff matters,” as the anthropologist Daniel Miller puts it, has taken hold across an increasing number of disciplines, fuelling new inquiries into novel and established fields alike. The material turn is a trend with multiple sources and faces that finds an echo in the growing public interest, in part because of climate change, in how the natural world is entangled with social practices. Interdisciplinary and diverse, drawing on multiple traditions of materialist analysis, it has far-reaching theoretical and methodological implications for our research practices. This Ravenstein Seminar will inquire into the implications of the so-called material turn for memory studies including the new challenge to engage in new ways with work in the field of critical heritage studies. We will explore the complex entanglements of matter and memory, inquiring into the ways in which people remember materially, using things as aides-mémoire, but also how things remember in and for themselves, thing-memory being integral to the life of materials. In part because the material turn is the result of “a different image of thought in which everything has turned” (St. Pierre et al.), the Ravenstein Seminar “Memory Studies and Materiality” also specifically aims to reconnoitre the methodological implications of the material turn in and for memory studies, reflecting on the methods with which we can study the entanglement of memory and materiality and how we can do material memory studies.