CFP: ‘Migrants and Monuments: Public Memory in the Context of Transnational Migration and Displacement’

Call for Papers: Proposed edited volume for Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies series

‘Migrants and Monuments: Public Memory in the Context of Transnational Migration and Displacement’

by Sabine Marschall

The growing global presence of migrants, refugees and diasporic communities has widely been documented to impact on host societies and environments in multifarious ways, but public memory markers constitute a neglected dimension of research in the field. This proposed edited collection will explore transnational migrants as audience and agents in the field of public commemoration. As subaltern groups, migrants constitute new audiences for old monuments and commemorative markers in host country societies, while some migrants and diasporic communities erect their own formal and informal monuments, memorials, statues and plaques in their adopted countries of residence, inscribing their presence and values in public spaces, either in cooperation with or in defiance of local authorities and host society communities.

This interdisciplinary collection seeks contributions from scholars in anthropology, art and architectural history, cultural geography, cultural studies, diaspora studies, history, memory studies, migration studies, mobility studies, peace and transitional justice studies, political science, sociology and other relevant fields. Chapter authors may explore how migrants, refugees and members of diaspora develop their own relationship with the landscape of memory in their new place of residence. This may include

  • appropriation and affirmative embrace of selected statues and memorials as symbolic and spatial focal points of community;
  • contestation and informal ethnic re-interpretation of specific monuments;
  • competition between migrant groups over meaning and claims to selective pasts enshrined in commemorative markers;
  • discontent over issues of representation, ideology, location or aesthetic design in the context of migration;
  • protests and monument defacements by migrants or targeted at migrants;
  • official re-configurations of statues and memorials by local authorities and host society agencies due to migration.
  • Where migrants as carriers of memory actively participate in erecting their own commemorative markers, contributors may investigate how content and meaning, location and visual manifestation are negotiated within the minority community and with the host society;
  • how such markers are publicly received, represented and ‘used’;
  • how informal, transient counter-memorials or vernacular memory markers and even digital online memorials can inflect the meaning of established memory landscapes in host country contexts;
  • what migrants intend or manage to achieve through engagement in official, vernacular or clandestine public commemorative practice.
  • planned, but not materialized monuments erected for or by migrants and refugees can be included.

These are some, but not the only potential topics of investigation. The proposed book endeavors to feature a variety of case studies from diverse geographical and societal contexts, both historical and contemporary. Contributions should be based on empirical or discursive research and draw on appropriate disciplinary-based theoretical frameworks in combination with concepts developed in the field of Memory Studies, such as national and transnational memory; transcultural and ‘travelling memory’ (Erll); memory work; memory activism; or the cross-border circulation and public staging of memory.

Before developing a formal chapter proposal, please first contact Prof Sabine Marschall at with an informal expression of interest and further guidance. Deadline for expressions of interest: 31 August 2018.

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