Call for Participants
Between Apathy and Nostalgia:
Public and Private Recollections of Communism in Contemporary Albania
Tirana, 17‒18 November 2017
An OSCE survey on Albanians' perceptions and understanding of the communist era astonished and angered a number of public figures in December 2016. Some expressed scepticism about the reported positive perception of the communist dictator Enver Hoxha by almost half of the respondents, while many others lamented the lack of a thorough "de-communisation". Other findings of the survey such as the variety of opinions across different categories and contradictions within answers were largely ignored. The study and the reactions to it manifest the great contrast between the largely binary representation of communism in the political discourse and the manifold ways people remember it in private. Many public figures such politicians and political commentators largely ignore or lack awareness of the complexity of remembrance as well as of how different the personal experiences of communism were.
Against this background and trying to overcome the almost exclusive focus on the politics of memory, the conference "Between Apathy and Nostalgia: Public and Private Recollections of Communism in Contemporary Albania" explores and discusses the different ways communism is remembered and represented both in public (e.g. in political discourse, literature and arts, historiography and school books, museums, memoirs, media, social media and popular culture) and in private (across e.g. social, gender, urban-rural, geographical such as north-south, generational and professional borders). Investigating who remembers what, how and when, the conference aims at providing both a comprehensive and nuanced overview of communism remembrance in Albania. Furthermore, a keynote speech by Stefan Troebst, two speeches on communism remembrance in Bulgaria and Romania by respectively Daniela Koleva and Cristian Vasile, and a panel discussion that brings together Albanian and non-Albanian scholars will provide the opportunity to compare the Albanian case with other Eastern Europe countries.
The organizers invite proposals for papers elaborating clearly defined research topics. They may scrutinise public narratives in certain fields or private memories of certain groups including those of young people who do not have experiential memory of communism themselves ("loan memory"). Furthermore, we are interested in discussing the interplay between public and personal memories, dynamics of the remembrance process ("postmemorial turn in remembering communism"), differences between remembering the system as a whole and certain events, congruencies and incongruences between experience and memory, which issues are suppressed or ignored when remembering communism and why as well as which factors shape the memories.
The academic conference is part of the annual event "Memory Days", which the Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Foundation is organizing for the second time (for a summary of the last year's event please see: http://idmc.al/en/memory-as-a-mission.html).
Please send your abstract of no more than 300 words together with a short academic CV by 15 May 2017. The academic committee will select the abstracts and notify you by 31 May 2017. Please send your proposal as well as all other inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every participant can present only one paper as author or co-author. Every author can participate with a maximum of two papers, as author or co-author. A selected number of full papers will be published.
Working languages: English and Albanian
Dr. Idrit Idrizi: Postdoctoral fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Post-DocTrack-Pilotprogramme). Research areas: contemporary history of Albania, communism and post-communism studies, everyday life history and oral history.
Dr. Jonila Godole: Lecturer at the University of Tirana, Department of Journalism and Communication. Research areas: journalism cultures, media and memory studies. Director of the Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture, which is supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
Sonila Danaj: PhD candidate at the Department of Social Sciences, University of Jyvaskyla/Researcher, European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, Vienna, Austria.
Open Call for Workshop Participants
Workshops in English Language
Urban Memory — How to Do Things with Cities
How do we tell the stories of a city? Of a country?
In Albania no subject is more bedrock to our social and political lives than that of land—how it is shaped, who controls it, and why.
Three workshops, each in a different city, invite architecture and journalism students to articulate nuances of the Albanian landscape to the public.
Teams will collaboratively produce critical, experimental reportage on the built environment. The stories of urban stakeholders and subjects—their means and materials, and their visions—will be traced, collaged, defended, and finally, circulated.
One piece from each workshop will be published in a prominent journal and/or newspaper.
Participants will become quickly acquainted with editorial ethics, the editorial process, means and modes of seeing in the built environment, and collaboration.
The workshops are open to students and recent graduates in the fields of journalism and architecture/urbanism. Applicants from other disciplines will also be considered if they have relevant interest/experience. Each workshop will be open to ten participants.
The workshops will be led by Leah Whitman-Salkin and Simon Battisti. Leah Whitman-Salkin is deputy editor of Harvard Design Magazine. She was the curator of the 2016 Albanian Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale, entitled "I Have Left You the Mountain". Simon Battisti is an architect, educator, writer, and founding editor of the journal Very Vary Veri. He was the curator of the 2016 Albanian Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale, entitled "I Have Left You the Mountain".
Each workshop runs from Friday to Sunday. Participants are required to commit to the full program.
There will be a workshop in Vlora, Korca, and Tirana. Applicants can apply to more than one workshop, provided they can arrange their own transportation and lodging.
Vlora: 3–5 February 2017 at Vlora Youth Centre, Deadline 25 January 2017
Korca: 17–19 March 2017 at Korca Youth Centre, Deadline 1 March 2017
Tirana: 21–23 April 2017, Deadline 7 April 2017
Please note which city workshop you are applying for (can be multiple).
* If you are not a student or recent graduate from the fields of journalism or architecture/urbanism, please include specific interests and qualifications.
Training will be offered in English language at no cost.
Participants will receive a certificate of completion.
14 April '17
Between apathy and nostalgia
28 December '16
How to Do Things with Cities