Signs and symbols in space and place – Sites of memory in contemporary Europe and the U.S.

SPEAKERS: Ken Foote, University of Connecticut, USA

Anett Árvay, University of Szeged, Hungary

Sites of memory are often powerful symbols. Varying greatly in form, scale, and meaning, they range from massive memorials honoring key events in a nation’s past, to small shrines marking important the life events of families and communities. These monuments, memorials and shrines draw upon a repertoire of signs and symbols specific to particular communities and nations and often rooted in particular religious and cultural traditions.

Drawing insight from the rapidly growing field of memory studies, our talk draws particular attention to the spatial dimension of public memory and how the location and positioning of monuments and memorials affects their symbolism and meaning. A memorial is placed on the exact site of a historical event may, for example, convey quite different meanings from one positioned far away from the event. Our point is that, just as the positions and movements of chess pieces on the game board are keys to strategy, the positions and movements of memorials are one aspect of understanding their meanings across a range of scales.

DISCUSSANTS: Federico Bellentani Digital Research Manager, Injenia, Bologna

Matthias Egeler Institute for Scandinavian Studies of the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich

MODERATOR: Gabriele Aroni Ryerson University / OCAD University, Toronto, Canada

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