The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW) exists to encourage practice and
research in life-writing in all forms, from biography to autobiography,
diaries to blogs, letters to memoirs. It is directed by renowned
biographer Professor Hermione Lee, associate-directed by eminent colonial
scholar Professor Elleke Boehmer, administered by literary historian Dr
Rachel Hewitt, and is based at Wolfson College, Oxford. From 20-22
September 2013, OCLW will hold its first major triennial conference, on
the subject of ‘The Lives of Objects’.
Submit Abstract by 31 January 2013
The application of life-writing to objects lies at the heart of many
recently published biographies, memoirs and histories, including Neil
MacGregor’s A History of the World in 100 Objects (2010), Edmund De Waal’s
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance (2010), Steven Connor’s
Paraphernalia: The Curious Lives of Magical Things (2011), Mark
Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History (2003) and Lorraine Daston’s Biographies
of Scientific Objects (2000). Biographies of objects raise important
methodological issues pertinent to life-writing, regarding narrative,
structure and chronology; the representation of change and improvement;
and the influence of objects in human lives, communities and material
history. The study of ‘object biographies’ continues to generate fruitful
areas of academic research, including Bill Brown’s work on ‘thing theory’
(2001); Chris Gosden and Yvonne Marshall’s 1999 study of ‘the cultural
biography of objects’ (in relation to archaeology); and explorations of
value and exchange of objects in cultural and material history, such as
the essays included in Arjun Appadurai’s edited volume The Social Life of
Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective (1986).
13- 14 February, 2013 Senate House, London
Memories of Conflict, Conflicts of Memory
13- 14 February, 2013
Senate House, London
Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies
Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies, University College London
Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory
There are very few facets of public and private life that are not affected by cultural memories of war and conflict. Recent academic scholarship has also been revolutionised as experts on literature, cinema, history, area studies, sociology, anthropology and many others attempt to theorise the memory-narratives of the last century marked by unprecedented totalitarian regimes, coup d’états, military confrontations, popular movements and what Alain Badiou recently called the passion for the real.
This interdisciplinary conference will examine the various ways in which memories of wars and conflicts of the twentieth century are constructed, resisted, appropriated and debated in contemporary culture. The conference will provide a space for dialogue and interchange of ideas among scholars researching on memory issues related to different regions of the globe. In particular, we are interested in discussing the tensions between local and transnational memory-narratives, official and subversive forms of commemoration, hegemonic and alternative conceptions of remembering.
‘Disturbing Pasts: Memories, Controversies and Creativity’
Conference homepage: www.open.ac.uk/Arts/disturbing-pasts/
We are pleased to announce the details of the conference ‘Disturbing Pasts: Memories, Controversies and Creativity’ at the Museum of Ethnology, Vienna, on the 20th to 22nd November, 2012. This is part of a two-year international research project led by Dr Leon Wainwright (The Open University, UK; www.open.ac.uk/Arts/arthistory/wainwright.shtml ) and funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area, the European Science Foundation).
‘Disturbing Pasts’ brings together artists, photographers, curators, policy makers and academics from around the world, with the aim of networking with one another and exploring creative engagements with controversial and traumatic pasts in art practice, curating and museums.
Our theme: Traumatic pasts have complex and often dramatic influences on the present. In many countries, legacies of war, colonialism, genocide and oppression return again and again to dominate contemporary politics, culture and society. The controversies surrounding traumatic pasts can shape policy, make or break governments, trigger mass demonstrations, and even spark violent confrontation. These pasts also inspire rich visual and creative responses, through which the past is remembered, remade and challenged, and the public space of the modern museum is the primary venue for these responses.