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?
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.
Call for papers
In this workshop, we hope to discuss case histories, using a comparative approach to reach larger theoretical conclusions. Participants are encouraged to address the intersections between studies of far-right activism, memory politics and the internet. Papers might, for instance, address one of the following questions:
- What theoretical approaches are most useful in illuminating both national and transnational far-right memory politics in the age of the Internet?
- What can comparisons of different nations’ memory politics tell us about European far-right mobilization? (Here, we welcome case studies.)
- Can we find differences in far-right campaigns that are specific to the former East and/or the West, or has the Internet allowed transnational patterns to dominate?
We hope to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, ranging from PhD-candidates and up, in a useful and stimulating workshop. Interested scholars are asked to send in abstracts and, if selected, to then send in papers for pre-circulation. After the workshop, we will ask for (revised) papers in order to put together a publication on this highly topical subject.
There is no registration or workshop fee.
Deadline for submitting abstracts (ca 300-400 words) is September 1, 2019. The information as to the participation in the workshop will be distributed on September 15, 2019. Applicants whose abstracts are accepted will be required to submit a 4,000 words’ paper on December 15, 2019. Papers’ pre-circulation starts December 20, 2019.
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).