(Dis)Claiming Pasts: Ownership, Responsibility and Contestation

Ghent, Belgium
Thursday, 14 December, 2017 (All day) to Friday, 15 December, 2017 (All day)

TAPAS/Thinking About the Past is pleased to announce our next conference: (Dis)Claiming Pasts:Ownership, Responsibility and Contestation on 14-15 December, 2017 in Ghent.

Tensions surrounding the ownership or control over (certain aspects of) the past are an increasingly common phenomenon. Various social and cultural groups demand ownership or control over, or the return of, artefacts or human remains to which they claim cultural, religious, historical or biological affinity (e.g. the case of the Kennewick Man or the recently repatriated skulls of the Nama and Herero). Similarly, former colonies (re)claim archives produced by their former colonizers. Activists claim land or heritage sites that, they argue, historically belongs to them. But claiming pasts can involve more than claiming material remains. Corporations use historical figures or even entire historical periods for ‘retro- branding’ and politicians often refer to the legacy of famous predecessors to legitimize their views or positions. Conversely, there are many examples of individuals or groups who disclaim particular pasts because they are painful or shameful, or because they might come with unwanted (legal and other) responsibilities.

The aim of this workshop is to explore the different strategies, techniques and arguments used by individuals, groups or entire nations to (dis)claim particular pasts, and the different aims and motivations that underpin them. We are pleased to host three keynote speakers: Robert Meister (University of California), George Nicholas (Simon Fraser University) and Amy Hinterberger (University of Warwick).

More information can be found here.