Conferences – Call for Papers

Interdependencies between Memory Culture and Human Rights in the Context of Romani Communities

The conference “Interdependencies between Memory Culture and Human Rights in the Context of Romani Communities” organized by the University of Graz is designed to gather expertise on the multifold connections between human rights and memory culture in relation to Romani communities.

  • Date: 10.11.2017 – 11.11.2017
  • Institution: Universität Graz
  • Location: Graz / Österreich
  • Contact: stefan.benedik[at]uni-graz.at

The justification and implementation of human rights often reverts to past atrocities and crimes against humanity. Particularly in the context of marginalized groups, such as Romani communities all over Europe, human rights in the present and past are often intertwined in a complex relationship. Thus, it is often emphasized that “a sense of history is necessary in order to restore dignity and to empower the victims of massive human rights violations into actors for the struggle of securing human rights and dignity for everyone.”

The conference “Interdependencies between Memory Culture and Human Rights in the Context of Romani Communities” is designed to gather expertise on the multifold connections between human rights and memory culture in relation to Romani communities. Taking place at the University of Graz (Austria), the event is aimed at international early career researchers. A thorough investigation of the conference topic demands a multidisciplinary approach to cover the plethora of contexts in which the marginalization of Romani communities throughout Europe can be related to the relevance (or lack thereof) of historical narratives of Romani suffering. Therefore, the conference’s goal is to discuss how memory culture regarding the persecution of Romani people under National Socialism presently connects to human rights awareness and implementation.

The underlying research project located at the University of Graz (see the homepage for further information) combines the explanatory power of history and human rights law to examine the immense shift in experience of Central European Romani communities vis á vis their history and social positions. Changing circumstances for marginalized groups in public life and education systems and the implementation of the corresponding human rights are of specific interest for the legal analysis. The increasing awareness about human rights violations towards contemporary Romani communities has a direct relation to the mainstreaming of Romani suffering as a core element of European history, according to the project’s preliminary findings. As argued in the project, these processes result in an increasingly abstract and less-specific culture of memory that remains outspoken about historical perpetration but non-committal towards present social injustice. In these contexts, Romani victims of the past are remembered, but contemporary Romani communities are more often excluded than given a voice.

Whilst the above-mentioned research project has a cultural studies and legal focus, it also includes elements of historical and social studies, critical racism and gender/queer studies and is open for inputs from other disciplines as well. The conference therefore aims to create an environment for wide-ranged, yet topic-focused discussions able to enrich all participants’ research by exploring new angles on the issues at hand.

If your research touches upon the topic of Romani communities, we are glad to accept papers on the following issues:

  • The influence of public discourses about Romani suffering during Fascism, National Socialism and WW2 on contemporary issues of human rights implementation for Romani communities
  • The effect(s) of a changed public perception of Romani communities on the public negotiation of historical narratives (and vice versa)
  • The ways in which Romani empowerment projects make use of historical narratives to counter silencing and create effective speaker positions for Romani subjects
  • The multi-folded contexts and effects of memory projects regarding Romani history
  • Interdependencies between memory initiatives and other Romani-related projects
  • The significance of agents of memory, their position and function in contemporary cultural, societal and legislative processes
  • The relevance of human rights (specifically education and engagement in public life) in advisory statements to national legislators or the European Union on how to deal with present challenges regarding the inclusion of Romani communities
  • The rhetoric of history and/or human rights in the (implementation) reports on national strategies following the EU framework for the integration of Romani communities
  • Strategic litigation of (pending) cases concerning Romani rights (especially to education) before national or international courts or other tribunals
  • National and international networking in institutions of the Romani movement on issues connecting history and human rights

Additional links:

https://romani-memory-human-rights.uni-graz.at/de/das-projekt/

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