Výzva – Truth and Untruth. Transmission of Memories of War

Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Workshop

When: 4 – 5 November 2022
Where: Prague, Czech Republic
Deadline for submission: 9 September 2022
Astrid Greve Kristensen (Sorbonne University)
Rose Smith (Charles University & University of Groningen),
Emina Zoletic (University of Warsaw)

A Workshop organized by 4EUPlus with the collaboration of CEFRES.

See on 4euplus website.

We kindly invite Ph.D. students in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences to apply for our one-day workshop ‘TRUTH AND UNTRUTH. TRANSMISSIONS OF MEMORIES OF WAR’. With memory studies as the theoretical focus of this workshop, we will host a varied interdisciplinary workshop consisting of presentations and discussions among young scholars in Prague this November 2022. We will tackle the transmission of memories of war, inviting scholars to present their research on this topic in different media, such as oral/family history, museums, literature, film, the arts, news media, et cetera, with a focus on the kitschification of the past.

As war once again ravages a European country, it is hard not to persist with clichéd phrases to describe the horrors we are observing. Our collective struggle to understand is palpable in repeated phrases such as: How can this be happening – again? But inherent in language clichés is also the danger of inertia and falsehoods. As Czech writer Karel Čapek put it in a 1933 article: “The cliché blurs the difference between truth and untruth. If it were not for clichés, there wouldn’t be demagogues and public lies, and it wouldn’t be so easy to play politics, starting with rhetoric and ending with genocide.” The dangerous use of clichés, as well as kitsch and nostalgia in media representations of the past, lies at the core of this workshop. The aesthetic kitsch of Nazi propaganda or the aim to recover a lost Russian city in Kyiv constitute examples of this. To better understand what is transpiring in Ukraine, one is compelled to look to the past for answers.

However, as we keep returning to the past, even with the vast knowledge of previous contexts, we are faced with the powerlessness and lack of agency felt within the academic community. In what ways can knowledge of the past truly influence and increase our knowledge of the present? What is the role of the academic community during wartime and how do we position ourselves in order to be of actual use as Ph.D. students?

The aim of our Ph.D. workshop is to show compelling and innovative research, giving young scholars the possibility to present their work in an international setting. The workshop will kick off with a roundtable discussion on the 4th of November to set the tone for a full day of PhD panels, which will take place on the 5th of November. The workshop will end with a dinner, where participants and invited scholars are invited to take part in meaningful exchanges. Please note that Master’s level students are also welcome to apply. The working language of the workshop is English.

The ‘Plurality of Memories in Europe in a Global Perspective’ project within the 4EU+ alliance seeks to constitute a high-level European scientific community in Memory Studies.

Applicants are invited to submit their proposals, which must include:

  • An abstract for your presentation (approx. 250-300 words)
  • A short biblio-biographical note of the candidate (Ph.D. dissertation title, academic discipline/field of study, short academic biography and university affiliation)

Proposals should be addressed to the workshop coordinators, Rose Smith (Charles University & University of Groningen), Emina Zoletic (University of Warsaw), and Astrid Greve Kristensen (Sorbonne University) and sent to: truth.and.untruthworkshop22@gmail.com

Participants will be expected to submit a paper pertaining to their presentation for pre-circulation three weeks prior to the seminar, no later than Friday, 14 October 2022. The papers may be of varying length, but should under no circumstances exceed 6000 words.

Accommodation for two nights in Prague is covered by the organisers.

We look forward to hearing from you,

The Workshop Team
Astrid Greve Kristensen (Sorbonne University)
Rose Smith (Charles University & University of Groningen),
Emina Zoletic (University of Warsaw)


Friday November 4th
Location: CEFRES Library, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1

17.30–19.00: Roundtable discussion
Transmissions of memories of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Moderated by František Šístek (Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University).
With historians and memory scholars:
Jelena Đureinović (University of Vienna)
Vjeran Pavlakovic (University of Rijeka, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences)
Naum Trajanovski (University of Warsaw, Institute for Sociology)

Saturday November 5th
Location: Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Smetanovo nábř. 995/6, Room 212, Prague 1

08.30 – 09.15: Registration and welcome
09.15 – 09.50: Keynote lecture about the war in Ukraine
10.00 – 17.00: Workshop Panels
17.00 – 18.30: Reception
19.30: Dinner covered by the organisers