History and fiction. Shifting memory in the narratives of the past

7th International Conference – Walter Benjamin, Memory and Exile Chair – University of Gerona

  • The aim of this international conference is to examine the growing importance over the last two decades of the concept of “shifting memory” in the relationship between history and fiction;
  • The irruption of memory —understood as a tool for capturing and holding onto a frequently traumatic past arising from contexts of war, repression and dictatorship— is having a huge impact on every area. As such, historical research work is often put at the service of the imperatives of memory;
  • Meanwhile, fictional writing, with its incursions into a relatively recent past, is becoming increasingly prevalent in the elaboration of the memory or memories of societies.

Within this framework, and with participants devoted to literary writing, historical research, literary and cultural criticism, and artistic production, the conference aims to create several spaces for discussion and reflection on “historical memory” or “democratic memory”, a phenomenon of great relevance in today’s socio-cultural and political context. What role does fiction play in the growing presence of “historical memory” in the public sphere? Could this public sphere —where all sorts of memory-related demands are made— be what facilitates the proliferation of artistic and cultural productions focused on memory? This and other related questions will be addressed in the conference’s various discussions and conversations.
The themes discussed in the conference are chosen for the purpose of disseminating the broad legacy of the work of Walter Benjamin, an intellectual inheritance whose relevance continues to grow even today, to such an extent that it is still a source of inspiration in the analysis of issues concerning the relations established by societies with their past, which condition the present and the prospects for possible futures.

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