Accessing Campscapes: Inclusive Strategies for Using European Conflicted Heritage’ (iC-ACCESS) looks at traces of the 20th century mass violence and terror, as tangible reminders of the “age of extremes” and their present uses in (trans)national contexts. It does so however from a critical perspective of what at such places is, and is not, remembered, and how the past is used, and misused, for current politics of exclusion and inclusion. The sites are therefore assessed within a national and transnational context. Thus in most post-war European countries some former Nazi internment camps have become icons of and fascist resistance and the Holocaust, which have played a consistent role in postwar European memory of totalitarianism and genocide. Yet how open are such narratives to historical complexities, multiple perspectives on conflicted pasts and shared heritage, and ongoing memory debates and issues of ownership, within a tense transnational context of competing narratives on the Holocaust, Soviet occupation and postcolonialism? The project therefore focuses on the difficult heritage of both some of the most iconic Holocaust 'dark heritage' sites as well as some silenced campscapes representing an unwanted past excluded from national memory. This entanglement of remembering and forgetting and the silencing of competing narratives (commonplace in relation to completely unknown forms of historical injustice) show the strong connection between heritage, storytelling and the politics of identity, and the need for more inclusive strategies and technologies. This poses a serious challenge to museums, remembrance institutions, civil society organizations, social activists, critical academics and educators tasked with the development of new and alternative narratives to make such spaces ever more relevant, and faced with rising visitor numbers as well as growing populist aggression.
24 Sep 2019
Sites of Violence and their communities: Critical Memory Studies in the Post-Human Era