Accounting for experience: commemorating 11 November 2018

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  • Shanti Sumartojo, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Pierre Bouchat, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium
  • Matthew Graves, University of Aix-Marseille, France
  • Emma Hanna, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
  • David Harvey
  • Chantal Kesteloot, Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (CegeSoma) , Belgium
  • Olivier Luminet, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • Laurence van Ypersel, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium
  • James Wallis, University of Exeter, University of Brighton, United Kingdom
In our first position paper, we laid out some of the conceptual territory for our program of collective research, Commemoration Reframed. We asked what happens when we orient our research towards how people experience commemorative sites and events, and what areas we need to consider with such a reframing. This paper summarised the main areas we discussed in our initial network meeting and was intended to begin a conversation about our shared areas of inquiry.
In this, our second position paper, we build on this, turning to some of the more specific questions that will inform our individual research projects focused on the end of the First World War centenary period. As with the first paper, this is not intended to be prescriptive or reductive, or indeed exhaustive, but rather to identify some of what as a group we think is important to consider as we each move forward with the empirical aspects of our projects. While we may not all investigate each of these questions, this paper lays out the broad contours of our shared interests.
As such, this paper runs along two vectors – the first is thematic. Narrative, discourse, representation, politics, space, senses and feelings are all important here, and we will briefly touch on those aspects that we are particularly concerned with as we plan for this year’s projects. The second angle of approach concerns how and when these themes are manifested, articulated, or taken up in experience in the chronologies of commemorative events – that is, what happens before, during and after these events that we need to attend to. In this sense, the ‘event’ itself exceeds the boundaries of its timings (specifically, 11 November 2018), but such an approach illuminates that what comes before and after them is crucial in determining their form and reach in their most intense moments.
As before, we present this paper as co-authored by the nine participants in our second workshop on 9 February 2018. This was hosted by CegeSoma in Brussels, who we thank for their ongoing generosity in supporting and engaging with this program of collaborative research. The ideas emerged collectively from our discussions during this workshop. The lead author was responsible for drawing them together into this document, which was then edited by the group.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year21 Apr 2018
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2018

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