When the past is contested, the monuments are the first to fall. The memorial fever that started in Europe at the end of 1980s with the dismantling of communist symbols continues with the removal of monuments of historical figures tied to racial discrimination, slavery, and colonialism. Although these symbols all have different political contexts and belong to different historical epochs, the heated debates over them reflect a tectonic shift in historical narratives which released memories that were hitherto frozen. In some cases, profound disagreements about the monuments and the
memorial policy behind them can cause a confrontation not only within one society but also between states (the so-called, ‘memory wars’).
The workshop ‘CAPTURED BY THE PAST: MONUMENTS. CONFLICTS. LAW’ aims to map the controversies around such monuments, as well as the memory conflicts and ‘memory wars’ of which these monuments are the symbols. Over the centuries, totalitarian regimes removed monuments they did not agree with. Should democracies then follow this path?
The organizers welcome research papers on any of the following topics: (see Call for Papers, deadline applications 25 September 2021!)
• Monuments from the cultural heritage and human rights perspectives: is there a right to destroy?
• Monuments as government speech: what are the limits?
• Monuments and the rule of law: what are the legal standards for memory policies and public commemorative practices in a democracy?
Dr Alina Cherviatsova, Senior Researcher and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellow, Programme for Studies on Human Rights in Context, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University.
Prof Dr Yves Haeck, Professor of International Human Rights Law and Director of the Programme for Studies on Human Rights in Context, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University.
Prof Dr Clara Burbano-Herrera, Professor of International Human Rights Law and Director of the Programme for Studies on Human Rights in Context, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University.
Prof Dr Eva Brems, Professor of Human Rights Law and Head of the Human Rights Centre, Ghent University.
The workshop is organized within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research project ‘To Destroy or to Preserve? Monuments, Law and Democracy in Europe’ (MELoDYE) hosted by Ghent University. The MELoDYE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101032010.