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National forgetting and memory : the destruction of 'national' monuments from a comparative perspective

Online conference

Seventy-five years ago, on 16 March 1946, the Yser Tower was blown up by members of the resistance, who are still unidentified today. On this occasion, the Yser Tower Museum and the international platform NISE (National movements and Intermediary Structures in Europe), in cooperation with CegeSoma, are organizing an international conference on 11 March 2021 devoted to the question of so-called national monuments destroyed in particular contexts. Because of the sanitary conditions, this event will take place online.

Four sessions and three thematic presentations

The conference is based on four thematic sessions involving 13 contributions. The sessions will be held in parallel two by two.

1. Nation vs. Regional vs. Local Memories
2. Nation-state, ideology and monuments
3. Global and contemporary perspectives
4. The politics of resurrection

These four sessions will be accompanied by three thematic presentations. A first one (Ann Rigney, University of Utrecht) will focus on monuments and collective memory as a cycle of stabilization and contestation. The second (Kas Swerts, University of Antwerp/ADVN) will focus on the more specific case of the Yser Tower. A final presentation (Thomas Cauvin, University of Luxembourg/International Federation of Public History) will be dedicated to the interaction between the destruction of monuments and questions of public history.

A resolutely international perspective

The conference will explore different national contexts, from Belgium to the North American continent, including, of course, Central Europe, without forgetting the very particular situation of South Africa. Chronologically, the reflections will go from the beginning of the 20th century to the most contemporary developments. On an ideological level, the question of the legacies of fascism and communism will of course be considered, but the new practices and the new relationships that democratic societies have with their past will also be evoked.

Practical information

Find below an introductory film on the destruction of the Yser Tower and by clicking HERE the introductory file of papers and speakers as well as the day's program. The conference will be open to everyone.