[artinfo] CFP: War, Revolution and Memory: Post-War Monuments in Post-Communist Europe

Andreas Broeckmann ab at mikro.in-berlin.de
Fri Oct 7 20:46:46 CEST 2016

From: Jelica Jovanovic <jelicajovanovic011 at gmail.com>
Date: Oct 6, 2016
Subject: CFP: War, Revolution and Memory (Zagreb, 17-18 Feb 17)

Zagreb, February 17 - 18, 2017
Deadline: Nov 1, 2016

War, Revolution and Memory: Post-War Monuments in Post-Communist Europe
International Conference

World War II caused a collective trauma in the memory of Europeans, 
which resulted in the erection of countless monuments all over Europe 
to commemorate the events and battles as well as the civilian and 
military victims. In the period of almost 45 years, numerous memorial 
sites were created in the Communist Europe. Contrary to the dominant 
belief that the monuments in the Eastern Bloc and Non-aligned 
Yugoslavia were created exclusively in the spirit of Socialist 
Realism and erected by order of state authorities, typologically and 
stylistically these monuments form a heterogeneous group, and were 
erected both by the state and the local communities.

Since their creation, and due to the fact that they were conceived as 
"intentional monuments" (in the sense of Riegl's gewollte Denkmale), 
a number of governmental regulations have been adopted in order to 
ensure that this heritage is adequately protected and maintained.

The decline of Communism and the introduction of the market economy 
and multi-party system in the newly emerged countries resulted in 
multiple effects, both on the institutional and symbolic level. On 
the institutional and legislative level, it brought significant 
changes within the legal framework, functioning of institutions and 
civil services of the post-socialist countries. On the symbolic level 
this led to rejection of the bearers of symbolic capital of the 
former system.

Therefore, the perception of monuments created in the period of Real 
Socialism to commemorate World War II was rapidly changing, and the 
meaning they conveyed, as well as their memorial and aesthetic value 
were being questioned, challenged and/or denied. Often violent, break 
with the former regime resulted in their relocation, temporary or 
permanent removal from the public space and vandalism or destruction. 
Norbert Huse tried to define these phenomena by devising the category 
of uncomfortable architectural monuments (unbequeme Baudenkmale). 
Twenty-seven years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we are still 
witnessing the denial, destruction and marginalization of these 
monuments as unacceptable, unsightly, totalitarian, etc.

The attempts to reevaluate this heritage, as well as to develop 
different strategies of its public presentation, differ from state to 
state, and the criteria and guidelines that should be used to devise 
a "new" perception, followed by the management and maintenance of the 
denied monuments, mainly depend on the political and economic 
situation in different countries.

Taking into account the scope of this heritage, the efforts invested 
in rediscovery, protection and conservation treatment of memorials 
require significant funds. But before raising the question of 
funding, one should ask if and for whom this disputed heritage should 
be restored? In what ways did the change of political paradigm make 
these monuments undesirable in the post-socialist countries? Have 
processes of denial and suppression contributed to the cancellation 
of an inherent ideological charge of these monuments? If so, are we 
allowed to treat them exclusively as aesthetic objects, particularly 
when they are preserved in fragments? Should these monuments, as 
relics of a forgotten past, be seen as a part of the tourism 
industry? Could the damaged or destroyed artifacts be restored to 
their original state or should the conservation treatment also 
commemorate the period of denial and suppression? What is the role of 
heritage communities in relation to survival and revival of this 

These questions will be discussed at an international conference in 
the following sessions:

monuments in the former Eastern Bloc and Yugoslavia and the impact of 
recent political history on the reception of monuments (revaluation 
processes, historical revisionism and perception, memorial and 
aesthetic evaluation)

FRAMEWORK - Legislative changes and their impact on the issues of 
jurisdiction and management, ownership, etc. (role of management in 
the processes of rediscovery, research and conservation)

- EXAMPLES OF MANAGEMENT - the models of managing monuments and 
memorial complexes, good and bad practices, socialist heritage and 

- CONSERVATION - the problems of maintenance, interpretation and 
representation of World War II monuments, use of traditional 
methodologies within a changed system of values.

The conference is organised by NGO SF:ius - Social Fringe: 
interesting untold stories in cooperation with ICOMOS Croatia as a 
part of the international project INAPPROPRIATE MONUMENTS.

Project INAPPROPRIATE MONUMENTS is supported by European Cultural 
Foundation (ECF) and Swiss Government trough the Swiss Agency for 
Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The official language of the conference is English.

The conference organizers will subsidize the cost of accommodation 
for non-Zagreb participants.

Please submit 500-word abstracts and a short bio (in English) to 
sfius at sfius.org by November 1st 2016. The successful participants 
will be notified by November 15th.

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: War, Revolution and Memory (Zagreb, 17-18 Feb 17). In: 
H-ArtHist, Oct 6, 2016. <http://arthist.net/archive/13886>.

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