Places of Amnesia [2014-2015]

From 2014 to 2015



Places of Amnesia examines where memory and its counterpart amnesia are located. In this series of seminars we aim to develop a dialogue between subject experts, established scholars and young researchers on how historical events, people, places and cultural texts are forgotten. We seek to establish whether specific sites can be viewed as the loci of forgetting or, recalling and critiquing Pierre Nora's lieux de mémoire, be studied as lieux de amnésie.  We propose, then, to attend to the ways in which knowledge is forgotten, ignored, silenced or expunged. 

Our research questions aim to illuminate how and why social groups choose not to store memories, and how and when they choose not to retrieve them from their collective memory depository. Some of the questions we want to address through film and documentary screenings, seminars, readings, discussion sessions and case studies will look at the connections between personal and social memories and amnesias. How do the intersections of personal biography with historical events influence the way in which social groups remember and forget? What happens to knowledge of events when there are no witnesses left? Other questions will interrogate collective memory is understood as a social discursive practice, rather than as an extension of personal and individual memory work. How do shared narrations about the past contribute to or even engender amnesia? How do ceremonies and public events filter memory and amnesia? Can literature be an amnesic instrument too?

While falling under the general theme of amnesia, each session will revolve around one of the three main topics of ignoring, silencing and damnatio memoriae. Our geographical focus will span several continents and explore lesser-known areas and socio-political contexts. As a result, our theoretical perspective will extend both to western and non-western perspectives. We hope this will encourage new and creative insights and contribution to memory studies, and indeed pave the way for a new focus on amnesia studies.



Elena Zezlina (Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages – Italian)
Gruia Badescu (Faculty of Architecture and History of Art - Architecture)
Diana Kudaibergenova (Faculty of Human, Social and Political Science – Sociology)
Daria Mattingly (Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages – Slavonic Studies)


Faculty Advisors

Dr Rory Finnin (Director of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies Programme, Dept of Slavonic Stuides, Fac of Modern and Medieval Languages)
Dr Paola Filippucci (Director of Studies in Archaeology and Anthropology, Murray Edwards College, Division of Social Anthropology)

Past events


Places of Amnesia
Presentation and Film Confidential Report (Welles 1955)
15 October 2014, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Places of Amnesia

The Unclaimed Legacy of the Romanian Holocaust
30 October 2014, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building (NB different day and time)

Marianne Hirsch (Columbia,USA), Em Leo Spitzer (USA) at  P of Amnesia

Documentary Screening: Sirs and Misters
12 November 2014, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Yulia Serdyukova (Film producer) at Places of Amnesia

CANCELLED-Holocaust Novels
26 November 2014, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Elena Zezlina (Cambridge) at P of Amnesia

Hidden Tradition: Women's Literature in Hungary
21 January 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Anna Menyhért (Budapest) ) ~Places of Amnesia

German TV and the Disappearance of the Nazi Perpetrators
04 February 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Wulf Kansteiner (NY) ~Places of Amnesia

No-One's Memories and a Monument to No-One
18 February 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Lea David (Negev) ~ Places of Amnesia

Forgotten Voices of Communist Famine
05 March 2015, Room SG1*, Alison Richard Building. NB Different day and room*

Xun Zhou (Essex) ~Places of Amnesia

Seven Types of Forgetting
29 April 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building.

Paul Connerton ~ Places of Amnesia

Holocaust Intersections in 21st-Century Italy and Britain
13 May 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building.

Emiliano Perra (Winchester),  Damiano Garofalo (Rome) ~ Places of Amnesia

Ottoman Heritage in the Balkans as a Place of Amnesia
10 June 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building.

Milos Jovanovic (Illinois, LIz Cohen (Cambridge)~ Places of Amnesia and City Seminar