Call for Papers

International Conference organized jointly by the Turkish Cultural Studies Association and Bilkent University



5-7 September 2013

Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey


VIIth International Cultural Studies Symposium – Memory and Culture


The 7th Cultural Studies Symposium on Memory and Culture jointly organized by the Turkish Cultural Studies Association and Bilkent University, Department of Political Science and Department of Architecture, will be held on September 5-7, 2013 in Ankara, Turkey. The International Cultural Studies Symposia that are organized every two years have been contributing to cultural studies and bringing together researchers who work in this area. Since the first meeting in Kemer, Antalya (2001), the Symposia have been organized, jointly, in Van with Yuzuncu Yil University (2003), in Istanbul with Koç University (2005), in Şile with Isik University (2007), in Zonguldak with Karaelmas University (2009), in İstanbul with Kadir Has University (2011).

The purpose of this symposium is to question existing paradigms in topics that bring together the concepts of “memory” and “culture”; it aims to present critical and analytical approaches and to explore new theoretical and methodological paradigms in cultural studies. It adopts an inter- and multi-disciplinary perspective that includes such disciplines as sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science, urban studies, architecture, design, and literature; it also takes a gender perspective.  Submissions, both domestic and international, are invited on the following sub-themes. The conference is open to a variety of themes beyond the suggested ones as long as they deal with memory and culture.

Memory is about the retreat to consciousness of experiences, accompanied by awareness that it has happened somewhere sometime. Culture is its concrete form; the term goes beyond its everyday connotation with art, civilization and development; it is used in the anthropological sense referring to a “way of life.”

The relationship between memory and identity is an important one. The way the individual remembers his/her own or family’s past determines to a significant degree what s/he is.  This is “discovering” oneself in a particular way.

The relationship between memory and space is also important. We remember everything with its location in space. But this can happen only in relation to social frameworks, as M. Halbwachs puts it.  Social frameworks can be broadly classified as the family, religious / ethnic groups and social classes.  They are the instruments used to reconstruct an image of the past which is in accord with the dominant ideas of the society in a particular epoch. Therefore, memory is selective.

Memory is also a question of social and political power. What we remember depends upon the context and the group(s) that we are part of.  Accordingly, the depth and contour of our collective memory reflect also the competitive positions of power groups. Political power usually has the tendency of reconstructing collective memory to reproduce its legitimacy.

Today the interest in the past and consequently in the collective memory has intensified. In the processes of globalization, ethnic groups’ claims of recognition in post-modern societies have brought the need for ethnic groups to construct their past and hence their collective memory. The collective memory written during the construction of the nation state as a political project is today questioned and challenged; and the past, which is forgotten or rendered forgotten, is today brought to public attention, creating awareness about new collective identities.  This once again turns collective memory into a political project, this time of ethnic groups.

As migration movements increase in our globalizing world, migrants tend to construct their identities in their new societies using their constructed collective memory, thus ending up keeping their identities based on their places of origin, i.e., not forgetting who they originally are.

The fact that cities have become important means of accumulation of capital in the neoliberal economy has sharpened the competition among cities to attract investment and tourism; and in the endeavor to create unique identities for the cities, the concepts of cultural heritage and nostalgia have gained much popularity.  Thus, cities turn into sites of consumption as their pasts are constructed in particular ways to create special city images and identities.  Moreover, the increased environmental problems render important the collective memory constructed about the issues of nature and disaster.

In the framework given above, the sub-titles about Memory and Culture can be as the following, which can be differentiated according to personal, group and social memory:

Identity and memory (Family and memory; Biographical and autobiographical studies; Migration, diaspora and memory);

Space and memory (Memory and culture in architecture; City, urbanization and memory; Gecekondu (squatter housing), village, city, neighborhood, nature in collective memory);

Politics, political power and memory (Memory and culture in modernity / modernization/ modernism; Construction of memory as a political project; Nationalism and memory; Ethnic identity and memory; Minorities and memory; Political trauma and memory);

Memory and culture in everyday life (Traditions, memory and culture; Rituals, memory and culture; Bodily practices, memory and culture; Recreation, memory and culture; Disasters and memory; Nostalgia and memory);

Social institutions / Cultural products and memory (Art / Literature, memory and culture; Language, memory and culture; Religion, memory and culture; Media and memory; Internet and virtual memory);

Proposals to be submitted for the Symposium may be in the form of (a) individual paper presentations, (b) pre-organized panels consisting of 3 to 4 individual presentations, (c) poster sessions, and (d) exhibitions. Abstracts of individual papers should be submitted not to exceed 200 words, written in Times Roman 12-point font, single spaced.  Also expected are five keywords, as well as a short CV and contact address.  Proposals for panels should include individual abstracts as well as an abstract for the overall panel, and CVs of Chairs and Discussants. Proposals for poster sessions and exhibitions should also include CVs and contact addresses.

Please send your proposals to not later than 15 December 2012. The results will be announced by 31 January 2013. You may refer to the same e-mail address for inquiries.

Abstracts will be published; and full papers will be distributed during the symposium as CDs. Selected articles will be published by a respectable publisher following the symposium.

Early registration fee (until March 1, 2013) is 100 TL for members of the association and 150 TL for non-members; and after this date, it is 150 TL for members and 200 TL for non-members.

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