The Past Is Still to Change: Performing History from 1945 to the Present

21 October 2009, Lithuania

The Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Humanities at Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania, are announcing a call for papers for their upcoming international conference entitled The Past Is Still to Change: Performing History from 1945 to the Present, to be held in Kaunas, Lithuania, on 21-23 October 2009.

The conference is focused upon an important issue for contemporary society – that of interpreting the past and writing its history. The subject of the conference refers to critical historiography, proposing that history is not a stable body of fact(s) but a shifting range of meanings produced by different cultural, social and political practices (such as rituals of public memory, historical re-enactments, museums, memorials et al.) and that the general images of the past are substantially affected by art (literature, visual arts, theatre, film, performance). The conference will open a discussion concerning the performative means of (re)constructing the past, going beyond a passive interpretation of historical texts, activating a participation in the ‘performing’ of history. The act of performing history also describes history as an academic discipline which is involved in (re)construction and (re)interpretation of the past. Consequently the conference will discuss the problems of research and evaluation of the past as it is faced by researchers of the legacy of the Cold War, especially in the countries of Eastern Europe and the Baltic region.

One of the major aims of the conference is to discuss these problems on an interdisciplinary basis, to reveal the complex multidimensional significance of the concept of performing history. Contributions are invited from different fields and disciplines – history, political science, social sciences, culture studies, literary research, theatre studies and visual art studies – both concerned with the past and the forms of remembering the past in contemporary society. Suggested topics include:

  • Re-enacting the past: performance as interpretation of history
  • Performing political action: public events and civic rituals
  • Historical event/theatrical event: parallels, contexts, and methods
  • Theatre of history: witnessing, spectatorship, participation
  • Personal memory/collective identities
  • (Re)mapping the past: site-specific practices and places of memory
  • Mediated memory: readings of historical resources
  • Aesthetics and theatricality of political regime(s)
  • Carnival of history: memory and mass culture

Contact information: Dr. Linara Dovydaityte, Faculty of Arts, Vytautas Magnus University, Laisves al. 53, LT-44309 Kaunas, Lithuania; mob.: +370 620 54805; e-mail: [email protected];