Memory Politics and Activist Memory – Dr. Dovilė Budrytė

Dr. Dovilė Budrytė is a Professor of Political Science at Georgia Gwinnett College.  She is the author of ” Taming Nationalism? Political Community Building in the Post–Soviet Baltic States”.

In this interview, Dr. Budrytė discusses the concept of ‘activist memory’ under the umbrella of memory politics. She identifies activist memory as education about past trauma which is beneficial for supporting and promoting human rights. However, Dr. Budytre stresses that focusing on our own community’s suffering is in fact exclusive and narrow. There is a need to understand trauma beyond the borders of one’s own community. Lithuania has recently seen increased attention to the Roma genocide. Of particular interest is the cooperation between Roma and Jewish communities, where both parties have shown genuine attempts at understanding each other’s traumatic experiences. This example demonstrates how it is possible to transcend the borders of one’s own community. It is this feeling of human vulnerability that is essential for the promotion of human rights. Dr. Budytre also explains how structural changes during times of crisis reignite memory (politics). New traumas, such as the current war in Ukraine, bring up memories from the past.