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(In)convenient Histories & How to Deal with Them
An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference

 

Saturday 28th August 2021 - Sunday 29th August 2021
Online: ShockLogic Platform

Following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota, outraged citizens around the world took to the streets to demand recognition that Black Lives Matter. BLM protests took a number of forms, including the toppling or defacement of monuments commemorating figures and events associated with slavery, the Atlantic slave trade and the colonial oppression of people of colour more broadly. Through this act, the BLM Movement challenged us to look beyond the “great man” narratives that have shaped the way we understand these historical figures to identify their contribution to inequitable systems and institutions. In doing so, the Black Lives Matter Movement, like the MeToo Movement, has also held current figures accountable when their words and deeds serve to maintain inequality in society.

Those opposed to the toppling of statues, particularly in the right-wing media, have decried the erasure of symbols of history and questioned why figures should be called out now for views and behaviour that were ‘acceptable in their era’. Pundits have also lambasted the growth of a so-called ‘cancel culture’ that silences those who fail to toe the line of political correctness.

These events raise the question of why statues and monuments matter. What is at stake in determining who should be commemorated in this manner? What do they say about a particular society’s values, including whose lives matter? Should being racist/sexist/homophobic automatically disqualify someone from being commemorated with a monument or similar public honour, despite their notable achievements? If so, what is the threshold for determining whether a person’s behaviour rises to the level of disqualification? How has the valorisation of problematic behaviour contributed to the erasure or neglect of the legacies of figures throughout history? Would the issue of statues matter so much if racial and gender inequality were not so deeply rooted in our current socio-economic and political systems?

This flash conference provides a platform for participants to explore these issues through inclusive, interdisciplinary dialogues. Though Black Lives Matter and MeToo have played a key role in directing our attention to the reappraisal of which figures and events deserve to be publicly honoured, this event is not about those movements per se. In considering the issues around publicly honouring problematic figures and events, the focus is on official symbols (e.g. flags), statues, monuments, naming honours for buildings, institutions (e.g. schools and universities) and infrastructure (e.g. bridges, roads, highways).

Key Topics

Key topics, themes and issues for discussion may include, but are definitely not limited to:

  • Connections between monuments/history/memory/identity
  • Psychological analyses of why a person or group clings to the history evoked by problematic figures and events given public honours
  • Ideological/political implications of monuments (e.g. Confederacy monuments built in the Jim Crow era to send a message to black people)
  • The case for retaining monuments honouring problematic figures and events
  • The case for removing monuments honouring problematic figures and events
  • ‘Cancel culture’ debate
  • Criteria for who or what gets honoured—and who determines the criteria
  • The role of education in shaping attitudes toward giving problematic figures and events public honours—and how the education curriculum can support change
  • Blueprints for ethical historical commemoration that promotes justice and equity
  • Strategies for opening channels of dialogue with marginalised groups regarding representation in public monuments
  • Role of historical societies and tourism bodies in curating problematic historical figures/events and developing strategies for ethical historical commemoration
  • Role of local, state and national governments in removal/repackaging of problematic historical monuments and development of strategies for ethical historical commemoration
  • The Arts as an alternative platform for valorising problematic figures/events and bringing attention to deserving figures/events that have been previously overlooked
  • Individual and collective impacts of honouring problematic figures/events (e.g. mental health of marginalised groups, catalyst for activism, etc.)
  • Figures/events that should be commemorated with monuments

What To Send

The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, readings, performances, poster presentations, panels, Q&As, round-tables etc.

At the end of the conference we will be exploring ways in which we can develop the discussions and dialogues in new and sustainably inclusive interdisciplinary directions, including research, workshops, publications, public interest days, associations, developing courses, etc which will help us make sense of the topics discussed during the conference and ensure that our efforts are continued in our own communities.

300-word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Wednesday 21st July 2021. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.

All submissions will at a minimum be double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 23rd July 2021.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Monday 9th August 2021 at the latest.

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Inconvenient Histories

Where To Send

Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:

Peter Mario Kreuter (Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Germany): kreuter@ios-regensburg.de
Len Capuli (Project Administrator): inconvenient@progressiveconnexions.net

 

Details and Information

 

Registration Fees

The cost for attending the conference is £151/€173. This includes:

~ conference registration fee
~ book of Abstracts
~ a discounted rate for any of the outputs emerging from the event
~ discounted access to further Progressive Connexions events
~ exclusive access to the ShockLogic platform
~ private networking and chat facilities

Calendar of time-lines and deadlines

Wednesday 23rd July 2021
Abstract/Presentation submission

Friday 25th July 2021
Acceptance/Rejection notification
Booking Form Submissions Opens

by Monday 28th July 2021
Circulation of Draft Programme
Invoices issued

Wednesday 18th August 2021
Final date for payment

Friday 20th August 2021
Circulation of Final Programme
Full draft of presentation to be submitted

We appreciate that in 2021, a lot of folks are already Skype and Zoom fatigued! This is why we have been taking our time to partner with the British software developer ShockLogic, to create a customised Progressive Connexions oriented digital platform which will hopefully allow us to create a unique virtual environment which will let us stage as closely as possible the kinds of face-to-face 'in person' encounters and engagements which we successfully achieve in the seminar rooms.

The particular aspects of the platform means we have:

~ online registration

~ a secure platform available only to conference attendees

~ a networking area that can serve as a social hall akin to our typical registration and refreshment areas where folks can meet, see materials and information, chat etc

~ online abstract and programme submissions

~ ePoster capabilities

~ break out rooms where needed

~ one-to-one meeting capabilities

~ networking rooms

The video calls themselves are zoom-based, but embedded within the ShockLogic platform, they share the same sense of community and continuity that we are so committed to in in-person events.

The conferences, meetings and events we organise are not single ‘one-off’ events. They are part of a continual stream of conversations, activities and projects which grow and evolve in different directions. At the conclusion of every meeting, the question needs to be considered: What happens next? After all, there is little personal, educational or professional benefit in gathering people together from around the world and sharing all sorts of fascinating conversations if nothing further is going to happen as a result!

The possible ranges of ‘outputs’ which can productively flow from our meetings is a dynamic response to the dialogues, issues and engagements that take place during the events themselves. And as our meetings are attended by folks who come from different backgrounds, contexts, professions and vocations, what people would like to see developed as a result of our time spent together will always be potentially diverse, fluid and appropriate to what took place.

One range of possible outputs involves publication as a way of continuing the work of a project. Where publishing is a possibility, it is directly referenced in the Call for Papers, Presentations and Participation. Other possible outputs may include, but are not limited to:
~ social media platforms such as Facebook pages and groups, blogs, wikis, Twitter, as vehicles for continuing dialogues, disseminating knowledge and information and bringing new people into the work of the project
~ reviews; reports; policy statements; position papers/statements; declarations of principles
~ proposals for meetings, workshops, courses, schools
~ collaboration gateways, platforms and media
~ personal and professional development opportunities: faculty development; mentoring programmes; cultural cruises; consultancies; summer schools; personal enrichment programmes

The range of outputs is dependent on how little or how much you would like to become involved. Don’t let the end of the meeting signal the end of your involvement with the project. Please get involved, bounce ideas around, think out loud – we’d love to hear about what you’d like to do and are always happy to talk about what is possible.

Payment Process
Participants must register and complete an online booking form which will be available from Monday 26th July 2021 at the latest.
After the deadline has expired, an invoice will be drawn up and sent to you; the invoice will contain all the necessary information for you to pay by bank transfer, Paypal or credit card.
The invoice must be settled by Wednesday 18th August 2021.

It is the responsibility of delegates to ensure that payment is made by this date. Failure to receive payment will result in your booking being cancelled.

Payment Methods
There are a number of ways payment can be made.

Bank Transfer

Payment may be made using bank transfer. There will be an option to pay in either GBP (£ Sterling) or Euro (€). Full details to enable a bank transfer are made available on your conference invoice. If paying by this method, you must agree to pay all charges at the sending and receiving banks.

By Invoice
You may request that an invoice be sent to you which you may forward to your institution. It is your responsibility to ensure that the invoice is paid before the payment deadline.

Online
Your invoice will include a link to pay through a secure and encrypted online payment system. Please click the link to use this method.

Credit Card
Payment may also be made using credit card. We cannot accept American Express or Discovery as a form of payment.

Paypal
Payment may also be made using Paypal. If paying by this method please send us the email account connected with your Paypal account and we will forward you a request for payment.

All fees are payable in advance. No delegate will be permitted entry to the conference if an invoice is still unpaid.

What’s so Special?

A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.

 

A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.

 

A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.

 

An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.

 

An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.

Ethos

Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.

 

Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.

Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network inspiring inclusive interdisciplinary research, publishing and collaboration

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