Memory, Nostalgia and the Politics of Space and Place – abstracts by 15th May 2019

CALL FOR PAPERS: Memory, Nostalgia and the Politics of Space and Place
by Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories (CMNH)
University of Brighton, 4th July 2019

Please submit your abstracts by 15th May 2019 to

We invite submissions for our one-day, postgraduate interdisciplinary conference at the University of Brighton on 4th July 2019

9.30 am – 5.30 pm in M2 Boardroom, Grand Parade

Keynote address from David Berliner, Free University of Brussels

Organised by the Centre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories

This conference explores the role of nostalgia in shaping our relationship to space/place and vice versa. It aims to bring together two lines of investigation. On the one hand, what are the complex, non-linear temporalities at stake in the use and abuse of memory and nostalgia to shape present and future spatial politics and realities? As Svetlana Boym pointed out, nostalgia is intrinsically prospective and ‘the fantasies of the past determined by the needs of the present have a direct impact on the realities of the future…The nostalgic feels stifled within the conventional confines of time and space.’ (2011). On the other hand, the physical and emotional experiences of space and place, as well as its narrativization, shape the ways in which memory and nostalgia are framed and phrased. Following Reavey’s suggestion that ‘the experience of memory pushes beyond narrative alone and emerges from specific scenes or settings, as much as time periods or stories’ (2017: 1), we would like to investigate the many more than representational ways in which memory and nostalgia play a role in the politics of place.

Important questions and areas of exploration involve, among others: what are the various ways in which the use of memory and nostalgia shape the politics, understandings and experiences of space and place and vice versa? What are the complex, non-linear temporalities at stake in what can be defined as nostalgia? How does nostalgia shape future spatial realities? In what ways is nostalgia about a space/place transmitted, translated or exploited to shape future (spatial) realities? Or to shape political, social, activist – spatial and non-spatial – interests?

Suggested themes are, but are not limited to:

  • Social and emotional consequences of spatial change;
  • Official and vernacular memory narratives on place/space;
  • Longing for a (lost) space/place;
  • Use of ‘the past’, nostalgia and memory in place-related activism;
  • Contesting and reclaiming space/place using nostalgic narratives;
  • Narrating palimpsestic places/spaces;
  • Issues around heritage destruction and preservation;
  • Complex temporalities at stake in nostalgic discourses over a space/place (home, nation, building, landmark, inhabited or uninhabited space, human and more-than-human space, etc.);
  • Nostalgia over an era that is gone – symbolised by spatial elements (e.g. the fall of the Berlin wall or the ‘Iron Curtain’);
  • Memory-scapes, geographies of memories, etc.

Abstract Submissions

We welcome proposals of no more than 300 words for 20-minute papers, as well as posters with a 200-word description. Application is open to MA students, PhD students and early-career researchers, from all disciplines. We particularly encourage interdisciplinary, creative, international and intersectional research.

We wish to provide a supportive and inclusive space to spawn fruitful debates and exchanges. Proposals for photo essays, short documentaries, short movies and other forms of presentation, with a 200-word description, will also be considered. Do get in touch if you have any ideas or questions you would like to discuss.

Please submit your abstracts by 15th May 2019 to

Everyone is welcome to attend. Attendance is free, but places are limited and registration is necessary. If you are planning on attending, please register as soon as possible.

Artwork by Petra Kostevc:


Boym, S. (2011). Nostalgia Adaptation and elaboration from Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia, Basic Books, New York 2001

Reavey, P. (2017). Scenic memory: Experience through time–space. Memory Studies, 10(2), 107–111.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s