Call For Papers – Material Turn and European War Experience in XX / XXI Century


States (and other institutional and non-institutional actors) utilize various methods to commemorate their involvement in past armed conflicts. These can include constructing monuments, establishing war cemeteries, naming streets and squares, organizing national holidays, and controlling the portrayal of such events in school textbooks, films, and other media. In some cases, non-democratic governments (or other agents) may seek to shape the collective memory of such conflicts to align with their political agenda, potentially undermining the voices of civil society and grassroots initiatives that seek to present alternative perspectives on war and experiences of violence. Russia is a notable example of a country frequently accused of manipulating the memory of past conflicts. Additionally, over time, the collective memory of war is bound to evolve as new generations emerge, new findings come to light, and new stories about the past are woven.

The conference aims to provide a fresh perspective on war research and European experiences within the context of the development of memory policies, with a particular focus on materiality. For obvious reasons, we would like to devote much attention to the wars in Ukraine. Distinguished researchers from various disciplines, including history, art, anthropology, sociology, literary and cultural studies, will delve into the constructs and practices of memory policies that have undergone significant changes in recent years. We encourage contributions that touch upon the following streams:

“Memory and Materiality”, including:

  • the reconstruction of memory spaces (practice and theory),
  • new definitions of material space in memory studies and memory politics,
  • the role of the material in places of memory, such as exhibitions, cemeteries, and others,
  • boundaries between the material and the spiritual, thinking and action in memory studies,

“Memory transformation/evolution”, including:

  • transformation of memory, memory practices and memory policies, not only in academia and politics but also in art and literature,
  • images/accounts of conflicts and violence in textbooks or their visualization in art and cinematography,

“Memory production: Top-down or bottom-up?”, including:

  • grassroots/societal war memory in totalitarian countries,
  • alternative narratives about civil wars in multinational states,
  • techniques of manipulating war memory and related events.

Memory in art and culture, including:

  • visual representation of war experiences,
  • artistic engagement with war experiences,
  • art during War,
  • art as a form of protest,
  • art as a tool of memory politics / as an alternative to official memory politics


All are invited to submit a paper abstract (maximum 1000 words) by the 30th of April 2024. Selected speakers will be contacted by the 15th of May and will need to confirm their participation by the 20th of May 2024.

Please send your abstract via email to and include your name and affiliation in the email. Selected speakers will need to submit a short bio.


The organisers look forward to the upcoming event in Vienna and hope all the speakers can attend in person. However, depending on the circumstances, some presentations could be delivered online.

Please note that invited speakers will be responsible for their transport to and from Vienna. If needed, invited speakers will have their travel expenses reimbursed up to a sum of 150 EUR, and modest, free of charge accommodation will be provided by the Polish Academy of Sciences – Scientific Centre in Vienna (Boerhaavegasse 25, 1030 Vienna, Austria). Please let us know in advanced, if you will require travel cost reimbursment and accomodation to participate.

Inquiries can be made by e-mail to


Call For Papers – Material Turn