The Politics of Memory in Global Context is a Franco-American collaborative project that brings together scholars in the social sciences and humanities who work on collective or public memory; cognitive scientists, psychologists, and neuroscientists who work on individual memory; and curators of historical and memorial museums who present the past to the public. The main museum partners are the Mémorial de Caen, the national World War II museum in France, and the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York.
Led by Professor Carol Gluck at Columbia, the project combines diverse disciplinary approaches and insists on considering its topics comparatively in global context in order to discern commonalities among them, develop new analytic perspectives on the formation and operation of public memory, and suggest policies for better political management of divisive memories within and between countries. Events in this series take the form of conversations between scholars of the social sciences and humanities, neuroscientists and psychologists, and curators of museums and memorials. The workshops aim to create an interdisciplinary context for researchers of memory, while public lectures bring the wider community into the discussion.
The project is supported by funds from the Committee on Global Thought, the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), MATRICE, Mémorial de Caen, ANR (French National Research Agency), heSam (Le Pôle de recherche d’enseignement supérieur, Hautes études – Sorbonne – Arts et Métiers), INA (L’Institute national de l’Audiovisuel), Alliance Program (Columbia University, École Polytechnique, Sciences Po, and Panthéon-Sorbonne University) and Institut Européen Emmanuel Levinas.
The project held a public Global Think-in on “Facing History Squarely: The Politics of War Memory in East Asia and Elsewhere” and a scholarly workshop on “Nations and their Pasts” at the Columbia Global Center | East Asia, Beijing in October, 2015, with participants from seven countries, including social scientists, neuroscientists, museum curators. Similar events were held at the Global Centers in Paris, Istanbul, and Amman between January and April 2015. Biweekly workshops continued throughout the year in Paris on “Audio-Visual Media and the Relation between Individual and Collective Memory.”