In Spring 2009 the Centre for European Studies at Lund University in cooperation with University of Copenhagen, University of Stavanger, University of Tartu and the Renvall Institute at the University of Helsinki applied for funding at the NordForsk Research board in order to establish a Nordic research network on the theme "Towards a Common Past. Conflicting Memories and Competing Historical Narratives in Europe after 1989".
To our humble satisfaction the application was granted, and the work could begin in the Autumn of 2009.
Knowledge about the past and knowledge about how the past is interpreted, transmitted and used is of extreme importance for the community. Researchers within arts and social sciences have always in one way or another dealt with these issues; yet the last decade has seen a dramatic increase in interest in them. Arts and social sciences speak of the memory turn, and a new area of research called Memory Studies is being established. Its clearest reflection was the creation in 2008 of the international interdisciplinary review Memory Studies. Issues of memory are on the agenda of most countries. The United Kingdom and France are working through their colonial past, Eastern European countries struggle with the legacy of Communism, Germany is dealing with both its Nazi and its Communist past, and the Scandinavian countries, too, are reassessing and debating their history. A couple of examples among many are the Swedish debate on sterilisation and racial research, and Norwegian and Finnish historians’ debates on their countries’ perception of their own role in World War II.
Read the full background
The general aim of the network is to develop research in Memory Studies, to strengthen the position of this new research area in the Nordic countries and make Nordic research on memory more visible on the international arena.