NECE

5.3.2007

The Politics of Memory in European Migration Societies. Consequences for Citizenship Education

International Workshop in Berlin, 11-13 October, 2006

35 academics and experts from a wide range of disciplines came together in Berlin from the 11th-13th of October, 2006 to conduct a comparative analysis of Europe´s changing cultures of remembrance.

"Every person and every people, according to its goals, forces, and needs, requires a certain knowledge of the past, at times as monumental history, at times as antiquarian history, and at times as critical history."
Friedrich Nietzsche[1]

"Within a generation, the monuments and museums will be gathering dust – just as with the battlefields of the Western Front, you´ll only meet either those with a particular interest or relations of the fallen."
Tony Judt[2]

"People only remember things the way they want to remember them."
Harald Welzer[3]

35 academics and experts from a wide range of disciplines came together in Berlin from the 11th-13th of October, 2006 to conduct a comparative analysis of Europe´s changing cultures of remembrance. Presentations by historians, teachers of history, sociologists, educators and political scientists from countries as widespread as Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, Greece, Portugal, Britain and the US provided insights into how varied and complex this debate can be, as well as allowing participants access to a range of national and scientific contexts. (For more information, please see the Workshop programme attached to this document).

At the centre of this event and of the conference project in general was the question of how the European tradition of grappling with its own traumatic historical experiences (the Holocaust, Communism, Colonialism) can be communicated to immigrants and young people who come from immigrant backgrounds. Can we use Europe´s "negative histories", or a discourse of "negative remembrance" (Knigge) to generate a line of reasoning which encourages immigrants to identify with a Europe dedicated to democracy and human rights? Can we do it from a "culture that pleas guilty" (Jeismann)? For example, are there real or desirable constants in the theory and practice of domestic and foreign affairs (anti-totalitarianism, special relationships to Israel, critique of nationalist tendencies, policies emphasising human rights) that can be traced back to these "negative histories"?
In a second step, the conference participants examined the question of how "minority histories" (including other possible "victim histories") can be introduced into both collective/public memory and the culture of remembrance in European societies. What consequences can those of us who work in civic education draw -- or have we already drawn -- in the fields of didactics and pedagogics?


Fußnoten

1.
Cited in: Ute Frevert (Ed.) Geschichte bewegt, Hamburg 2006, p. 18
2.
Tony Judt, Die Geschichte Europas seit dem zweiten Weltkrieg, Federal Agency for Civic Education series, Issue 548, Bonn 2006, p.966
3.
Harald Welzer, Der Holocaust im deutschen Familiengedächtnis, in: V. Knigge/N. Frei (Ed.) Verbrechen erinnern, Die Auseinandersetzung mit Holocaust und Völkermord, Federal Agency for Civic Education series, Issue 489, Bonn 2005, p. 377

Conference | 5–7 November | Berlin

NECE Conference 2020

Follow the NECE Conference 2020 "Reconnecting in a post pandemic world. Citizenship education for democracy and sustainability" from 5–7 November 2020 online – live from Berlin. Registration is open now!

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