Memory and Collective Identity in Comparative Literature and Others

full name / name of organization: 
452ºF Journal of Comparative Literature
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On July 31st 2010, we start the CFP for the fourth issue of 452ºF Journal
of Literary Theory and Comparative Literature.This CFP is open and
addressed to anyone that wishes to and that holds at least a BA degree.

The bidding terms, which are exposed below and that regulate the reception
and publication of the different articles are subject to the content of
the Peer review System, the Style-sheet and the Legal Notice. These can be
consulted in the Procedures area of the web page.

- The deadline is on September 30th 2010, all articles received after this
date will be rejected.
- The number of articles corresponding to this fourth issue will be
between 12 and 16. 40% of these will be reserved to researchers without
PhDs, and the Editorial board can only represent 20% of the total.
- The articles will be placed, according to their field of interest, in
the corresponding section of the journal (monographic or miscellaneous).

- The monographic part will be restricted to 6 to 8 articles and, in this
fourth issue, will approach the relations between Memory and Collective
Identity in Comparative Literature, with the following possible research

a. –Relations between cultural production, memory discourses and the
construction of collective identities.
b. –Studies on testimonial literature. Relations between individual and
collective memory.
c. –The fluctuant nature of identity: transformation of the perspective of
memory according to the social-historical context.
d. –Relations between narrative strategies and the ideological load of
e. –Analysis of the politic capitalization of cultural productions around

The journal commits itself to organize a thematic bibliography of the
available studies on the topic, following the perspective proposed in the
Monographic section of the web page.

- All other articles will constitute the miscellaneous section and, placed
within the margins of Literary Theory and Comparative Literature, the
choice of the theme and approach is free.
- The articles must be sent to . The “subject” of the
email should state what section the article belongs to (“monographic” or
“miscellaneous”), the name of the author and the title of the article.

Memory and Collective Identity in Comparative Literature

Memory has lately become a central concern in contemporary culture and
politics of all societies in a global scale. This “memory boom”,
originated in socio-historical, political, cultural, technological and
market-oriented reasons, is articulated around a certain “memory
industry”, which in turn generates identity discourses. Cultural products
play a fundamental role in the formation and consolidation of these

On the one hand, the rehabilitation of the memory of wars, dictatorships,
killings and genocides tries to rescue from oblivion a traumatic past.
There is also a willingness of discursive democratization (represented by
the promotion of testimonial literature), looking to break through that
version of history written by the winning side. Also, the need to look
towards the past as a means of understanding the present is often
emphasized, to increase the new generations’ awareness of the need to
avoid the repetition of the same atrocities. Therefore, new
historiographic methodologies have vindicated the incorporation of new and
different perspectives that had traditionally been excluded from the
construction of discourses.

Nevertheless, the notion of discursive elaboration of memories, together
with the fact that discourses about the past are always filtered by the
interests and beliefs of the present, make it necessary for this new
historiography to be constantly under scrutiny by a critical analysis.
This would reveal possible “abuses of memory” (term coined by Todorov in
the text with the same title) denounced by many authors, politicians,
journalists and human rights activists. It is particularly interesting as
well as complex to work on the relationship that can be established
between the constant re-writing of the past and the construction of
collective identities. As Halbwachs explains, collective memory puts
together the past and the present, as well as the individual and the
social group. It is in this sense that we are also interested in the
different discursive strategies that several authors have developed to
reconstruct their memories from a subjective vision of the present. This
also allows us to establish a link between certain forms of narration and
the different underlying ideological intentions. One of the
characteristics that make memory studies difficult is the specificity of
each political vindication, and also their fluctuating character in
relation to present-day socio-political factors. However, at the same
time, in a global world of linked identities and politics, “different
discourses on historical memory are intertwined and overlap each other all
throughout the world, trespassing frontiers and bouncing against each
other, sometimes hiding and forgetting their own historical memory,
sometimes reinforcing it", as claimed by Huyssen in an interview for
Metropolis magazine.

Taking as starting point, then, the fact that the restoration of the past
is subject to the ideologies of the present; and also that memory studies
are not only a tool for analysis, but also for the transformation of
contemporary contexts, we want to vindicate a critical role that can
distinguish between the "obligation of memory” (which introduces an
ethical evaluation of its own look towards the past, as pointed out by
Lozano Aguilar inDecir, contar, pensar la guerra), and the possible
political abuses that derivate from these vindications. We also believe
that a fundamental role of criticism is to suggest, as long as it is
possible, new strategies to go beyond militaristic discourses. We propose
therefore the following lines of research for this monographic issue:

a. –Relations between cultural production, memory discourses and the
construction of collective identities.
b. –Studies on testimonial literature. Relations between individual and
collective memory.
c. –The fluctuant nature of identity: transformation of the perspective of
memory according to the social-historical context.
d. –Relations between narrative strategies and the ideology of memories.
e. –Analysis of the political capitalization of cultural productions on
f. –Strategies to overcome memory discourses.
g. –Memory discourses as trans-border political discourses. Analysis,
through cultural products, of the influence of different discourses on
different geographical areas.

cfp categories: 
modernist studies