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    After the wall: remembering and representing the GDR

    Arnold-de-Simine, Silke (2009) After the wall: remembering and representing the GDR. In: CUTG, 2009, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    Project synopsis: ‘After the Wall’ is an interdisciplinary research network which has been set up in order to examine the ways in which the East German past has been – and is being – reconstructed and represented since the demise of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The project is the result of collaboration between Bangor University and the University of Bristol, and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The aim of the network is to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines such as Cultural Studies, History, Anthropology, Political Science, Media and Film Studies, who work on memories and representations of the GDR. Almost 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany, the memory of the GDR is experiencing an ever increasing boom. As physical signs of German division disappear from the united landscape, new sites of memory are being created, ranging from consumer-orientated Ostalgie (nostalgia for the GDR) to the documentation of political oppression. The diversification of this memory landscape – in both content and form – and the conflicting nature of many narratives has led not only to an apparent blurring of boundaries between history and memory (‘myth’), but also to a reappraisal of the longer-term legacy of the GDR in unified Germany. By examining this memory landscape, the network aims to advance our understanding of east German distinctiveness and the role of the GDR past in contemporary Germany, as well as our theoretical understanding of collective memories. The project consists of four key events, to be held in 2009 and 2010 in order to interact with, and reflect on, numerous events due to take place in the UK and Germany to mark the twenty year anniversary of the fall of the Wall. The sessions are organised around the following themes: Memory and forms of representation (16-17 April 2009, Bristol) Evoking the GDR Alltag (6-7 July 2009, Bangor) Recalling the GDR dictatorship (22-23 March 2010, Bristol) Remembering the GDR: history versus memory / fact versus fiction? (8-10 September 2010, Bangor)

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