Contested Histories: Commemorating and Learning from Past Injustices

Contested Histories: Commemorating and Learning from Past Injustices


WHEN: Wednesday, March 24th, 2021 TIME: 10:30am-Noon (PST)


DETAILS:  References to history are abundant in public debates and political disputes. Yet, this public display of historic narratives contrasts with the limited ways in which the public actually engages with and learns about the past. In particular when this memory is contested and told from the perspective of those who struggle to find a voice, public history faces considerable challenges and forms of resistance. This moderated conversation will draw on the expertise of three scholars with extraordinary experience in addressing past injustices from the 20th Century.

The webinar will pay particular attention to two aspects: First, how can experts promote critical historical literacy in the 21st Century when, for instance, the gradual disappearance of first hand witnesses shape the commemoration of the past; how and through which means of engagement can communities make this memory available and meaningful to the public? Second, how can public history deal with attempts to suppress or appropriate the memory of the past driven by particular political interests?


Erica Lehrer is a sociocultural anthropologist and curator. She is a Professor in the departments of History and Sociology-Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal, where she also is Founding Director of the Curating and Public Scholarship Lab (CaPSL).

Charlotte Schallié is a Professor and Chair of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria. Her teaching and research interests include post-1945 diasporic and transcultural writing/filmmaking, memory studies, Jewish identity in contemporary cultural discourse, and teaching and learning about the Holocaust.

Jordan Stanger-Ross is a Provost’s Engaged Scholar and Associate Professor of History at the University of Victoria, where he serves as Project Director of Landscapes of Injustice, a public history project on the dispossession of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s.

Moderator: Oliver Schmidtke (University of Victoria).

This event is hosted by the EuMePo Jean Monnet Network, the Europe Canada Network (EUCAnet), and the Centre for Global Studies, with support from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Eramus+ Programme of the European Union.