EVENT Oct 26
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Memory, Guilt and Shame - 5th International Interdisciplinary Conference

Gdansk, Poland
Organization: InMind Support
Categories: Postcolonial, Hispanic & Latino, Interdisciplinary, Popular Culture, Gender & Sexuality, Women's Studies, World Literatures, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2023-10-26 to 2023-10-27 Abstract Due: 2023-10-10

Conference online (via Zoom)


The 20th century – an epoch of genocides – will be forever associated with feelings of guilt and shame. And it is not only the case of perpetrators. People are still ashamed of their ancestors and of the members of their nations, societies or families. Those who suffered from crimes and cruelties often experience survivor guilt, a mysterious phenomenon that psychotherapists try to tame. The status of bystanders is nowadays more and more often called into question, as it became clear that remaining “neutral” in the face of violence and atrocities was simply impossible. At the same time, many of both the victims and executioners make efforts to forget about the past events and repress the uncomfortable emotions. Others forget the facts involuntarily. Yet others cultivate false memories of what never occurred. Politicians impose their own narratives of history, with the hope of re-shaping the common convictions and achieving their short-sighted goals. Therefore, researchers dealing with memory studies of various kinds aim at explaining the complex relations of facts and phantasms, real and imagined guilt, justified and irrational shame.

            On the other hand, modern societies seem to exist in the realm of complete shamelessness. More and more people reveal the hallmarks of narcissistic personality. They do not care about protecting their privacy. On the contrary, they are proud of exposing as much as possible from their intimate life. Exhibitionistic behaviors appear to be predominant traits of those who want to capture others’ attention.

            These and other factors provoke us to concentrate on the themes of memory, guilt and shame – in the present-day world as well as in the past. We want to describe these phenomena in their multifarious aspects: psychological, social, historical, cultural, philosophical, religious, political, and many others. We also want to devote considerable attention to how these issues appear in artistic practices: literature, film, theatre or visual arts. That is why we invite researchers representing various academic disciplines: anthropology, history, psychology, psychoanalysis, psychiatry, sociology, politics, philosophy, literary studies, theatre studies, film studies, memory studies, consciousness studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, medical sciences, cognitive sciences, and others.

            Different forms of presentations are encouraged, including case studies, theoretical investigations, problem-oriented arguments, and comparative analyses.

            We will be happy to hear from both experienced scholars and young academics at the start of their careers, as well as doctoral students. We also invite all persons interested in participating in the conference as listeners, without giving a presentation.    

       Our repertoire of suggested topics includes but is not restricted to: 

1.   Guilt, shame and genocides

Victims’ shame
Perpetrators’ shame
Survivor guilt
Inherited guilt
Guilt repression
Distorted memories

2.   Guilt and shame in social life

Shame and nationalism
Shame and xenophobia
 Shame and colonialism
Shame and racism
White guilt
Shame and anti-Semitism
Shame and infamy
Guilt and Anthropocene
Guilt and gender
Guilt and LGBT
Guilt-free consumption
Guilt appeal in commercials 

3.   Guilt and shame in politics

Guilt and propaganda
Shame and pride
 Shame and “historical policy”
Shameless politicians
Guilt and political correctness 

4.   Guilt and shame in interpersonal relationships

Shame and love
Shame and intimacy
Shame and eroticism
Shame and privacy
Parents’ guilt
Children’s guilt
 Caregivers’ guilt 

5.   Pathology and therapy

Guilt complex
Guilt and suicide
Shame and narcissism
Shame and exhibitionism
Guilt and shame in psychotherapeutic treatment
Shame in psychoanalysis

6.   Guilt and shame in religions

Guilt and sin
Guilt and confession
Guilt and absolution
Guilt and condemnation  
Crimes committed in the name of God
Guilt and shame in the Catholic Church      

7.   Representation of guilt and shame

Visual arts
The media

Please submit abstracts (no longer than 300 words) of your proposed 20-minute presentations, together with a short biographical note, by 10 October 2023 to: conferencememory@gmail.com



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