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Workshop: Far Right Memory Politics in the Internet Era: The European Case

Workshop organised at the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University.

Our goal

This workshop will address the question of far-right memory politics in the Internet era. It is centred on a research project which looks at the legacy of military collaboration with the Nazi army and government, but it seeks to broaden its focus in two ways. First, what parallels and connections can be drawn between the Nazi collaborationists’ memory politics, and those of the European far right in general? Second, what impact has the Internet had on the cultivation and spread of the far-right alternative narrative and memory of modern European politics?

Our theory

During the post-war era, far-right Nazi collaborationists reorganised in transnational networks. They consistently launched a revisionist, hyper-nationalist and anti-communist counter-narrative to the dominant stories of resistance to and conquest of the Nazi threat. This approach to history has re-emerged, today, as racist, antisemitic, homophobic, and antidemocratic ideas spread across Europe. The story thus advanced has gained an audience far beyond the original veterans’ organisations.

Their creative and aggressive memory politics are used by younger far-right groups to reformulate the narrative of collaboration, enshrining (for instance) heroes and sacrifices in wider, far-right rituals of commemoration, publications and festivals. The veterans and younger far-right activists are thus part of a larger far-right re-telling of the memory of World War Two, one that is bringing revisionist narratives and antidemocratic politics closer to the mainstream in several European countries.

The Internet and social-media / digital space have both changed and augmented the nature and impact of these ideas. Manuel Castells has described how the “networked” society of the Internet allows even small, under-resourced networks a good deal of visibility. Their audience is large, varied, and often responsive to appeals for on-site action (“triggers”). Castells' vision of a “space of flows” – the hubs in which networks crisscross – is useful in studying the dissemination of marginalized counter-histories. Collaborationist veterans exploit these hubs for international exchanges and coordination. They are vital to both revisionist narratives and practices, providing the storylines, heroes and rituals that can be deployed in national contexts in both East and West.

Financers and supporters

This workshop is financed and supported by the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies at Södertörn University, and organised within the activities of project Memory Politics in Far-Right Europe: Celebrating Nazi Collaborationists in Post-1989 Belarus, Romania, Flanders and Denmark (Department of Historical Studies, Södertörn University, financed by the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies).
Organiser: Francesco Zavatti

13.00 - 13.30: Registration and Buffet lunch (for the workshop participants): room MA 796

13.30 - 14.00: Presentation round

Panel 1:

Grievable Bodies: Commemorating Yesterday’s and Today’s Martyrs
Chair: Andrej Kotljarchuk, Södertörn University
Discussants: Steffen Werther, Södertörn University & Justine Smalkyté, Sciences Po

14.00 - 14.45: Commemorating Rudolf Hess – From the Streets to the Internet,
Fabian Virchow, University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf

14.45 - 15.30: The AfD as Memory Alternative for Germany: The Chemnitz Case,
Sophie Schmalenberger, Arhus University

15.30 - 16.15: Pause (coffee & cookies)

Panel 2:

Constructing Victimhood: Decontextualizing and Faking History
Chair: Madeleine Hurd, Södertörn University
Discussant: Francesco Zavatti, Södertörn University & Ilana Hartikainen, University of Helsinki

16.15 - 17.00: Dis-|Composure: Far-Right Claims to Historical
Vanessa Tautter, University of Brighton

17.00 - 17.45: Image substitutes and visual fake history: Historical images of atrocity of the Ukrainian famine 1932-1933 on social media
Ekatherina Zhukova

17.45 - 18.15: Round-up Discussion

09.00 - 09.30: Breakfast

Panel 3:

Mainstream Revisionism and the Online Far Right
Chair: Francesco Zavatti, Södertörn University
Discussant: Andrej Kotljarchuk, Södertörn University & Vanessa Tautter, University of Brighton

09.30 - 10.15: Far-Right Influence on Ukrainian World War Two Narratives,
Michael Cole, University of Tartu

10.15 - 11.00: Politics of Selective Remembering in Post-1990 Lithuania: a Case Study of Postfascist “Pro Patria” Mnemonic Discourse
Justine Smalkyté, Sciences Po

11.00 - 11.10: Coffee & Cookies

Panel 4:

Far Right Identities: from Analogical to Digital
Chair: Steffen Werther, Södertörn University
Discussant: Madeleine Hurd, Södertörn University & Fabian Virchow, University of Applied Sciences, Düsseldorf

11.10 - 11.55: The Blue Division still present in Today’s Far Right Memory in Spain
Marta Simó, Autonomous University of Barcelona

11.55 - 12.40: Wait, who were the collaborators? Analyzing the discourse of the Czech far-right
Ilana Hartikainen, University of Helsinki

12.40 - 13.30: Lunch for the participants

13.30 - 14.00: Final Discussion

Time and place

15 January 13:00 - 16 January 14:30


Room MA 796, CBEES, Södertörn University, Campus Flemingsberg, find us


Arranged by

The Centre for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University



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