CFP: Transatlantic Memories – History Activism, Heritage, and Diplomacy across the Atlantic World (Nov. 4–5, 2021)

deadline for submissions: 
June 20, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Free University of Berlin (Germany)
contact email: 

Time: November 4-5, 2021

Venue: John F. Kennedy-Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin (Germany)

Abstract deadline: June 20, 2021

This workshop seeks to address the growing interest in the ways activists, states, and transnational institutions appeal to transatlantic publics in the name of a shared past. Transatlantic history offers a rich tapestry of people and organizations invoking, contesting or reshaping visions of a common past, ranging from public battles around transatlantic monuments, museums, and memorials through transnational campaigns for restitution to new forms of heritage tourism or the cultural diplomacy programs of transatlantic governments. The aim of this workshop is to bring these multiple strands of research and practice together. What we would like to discuss is how transatlantic actors and their public representations of the past have changed the way we see and think of transatlantic relations and the Atlantic world.  

Taking a broad approach to the topic, we invite scholars working in public history, cultural memory, cultural heritage, transatlantic history, the history of U.S. foreign relations or international relations. Questions we would like to address may include: How have memories and heritages been deployed in transatlantic relations? How did transnational activists, artists, intellectuals, solidarity movements, institutions, or governments foster understandings of common memory and heritage across the Atlantic? How did they shape, contest, or renegotiate transatlantic memories and why did they do so? Who was in, who was out in transatlantic memory production, and what silences or forms of marginalization and exclusions derived from the sharing and spreading of memory/heritage in the Atlantic World?

Contributions may address, but must not necessarily be limited to, the following issues:

  • colonialism and settlement histories
  • the slave trade and the transatlantic legacies of slavery
  • campaigns for reparations, restitution, or reconciliation
  • transatlantic migrations and their public histories 
  • memories of war, violence, or international conflict
  • transatlantic Holocaust memories
  • the production of Cold War memories and memoryscapes
  • the role of memory and heritage in/as cultural diplomacy
  • public histories of human rights and humanitarianism
  • transatlantic memories in media and popular culture
  • the uses of history by international organizations, nation-states, and INGOs in their foreign relations

The workshop is intended to take place on-site in Berlin, but participants may also tune-in via Zoom or Webex. If necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the workshop can in whole or in part be arranged as a hybrid or online event. Participants will be reimbursed for travel expenses and accommodation. Please note that we conceive of the workshop to be a ‘publication workshop’ that allows for in-depth discussion of individual papers and will result in a publication either with a well-established university press or a high-ranking journal in the field. Although we welcome oral presentations, submissions of article drafts (4000 to 6000 words) are preferred.

Scholars interested in participating in the workshop are asked to send an abstract (200 to 400 words, in English) and a short curriculum vitae to by June 20, 2021.

We welcome applications from various fields. The application should indicate if either a presentation or an in-depth paper discussion and circulation is anticipated.

Inquiries can be made to the conveners via the following e-mail addresses: 

The organizing committee:
Adam Hjorthén (Uppsala University)
Sönke Kunkel (Freie Universität Berlin)
Leonie Werle (Freie Universität Berlin)