European University Institute Bodies across borders: oral and visual memory in Europe and beyond
Bodies across borders: oral and visual memory in Europe and beyond

27-28 April 2017 – Dissonant Heritages Contestation of Meanings and Uses of Memory in Today´s Europe Workshop

Heritage is an ongoing process of negotiation and contestation of the meanings of the past considered important for the present. Relations among different actors and communities in the processes and practices of heritage are not always cooperative and harmonious, but contested and competitive. With the concept of dissonant heritage Turnbridge and Ashworth (1996) have referred to heritages that include a discordance of different stories and a lack of agreement and consistency in the way the past is represented and memories used in public spheres. The aim of the workshop is to show that Europe does not have one heritage, rather a plurality of traditions, within which contradictions and ruptures of social, cultural and political nature have been present in different times and places. The intent is to contribute to an erosion of Europe’s cultural heritages from within, studying the multiform developments of a fractured past (Milton) from the point of view of cultural history.
In the workshop, the dissonances between different heritages (as well as the internal ones) will be discussed in relation to a variety of topics central to the two ERC projects conveners of the meeting. Such are: East–West and center–periphery divisions of Europe, internal and external border-making and border-crossing in Europe, Europe´s colonial past and its post-colonial criticism, migrant and post-migrant experiences, narration and re-narration of Europe´s conflictual past, and the production of the idea of a European heritage and identity in ‘authorized heritage discourses’ (Smith 2006). Heritage is approached in the workshop as a ‘memory complex’, an assemblage of practices, affects and physical things (Macdonald 2013), that brings to attention the contestation of identities, feelings of belonging, and remembering the past in today´s Europe. This perspective emphasizes the relevance of forms of embodied memory against the often de-materialized dominant notions of archive, heritage and patrimoine culturel.