Generational Memory and the Resurgence of the Past in Southern Europe and Latin America

Generational Memory and the Resurgence of the Past in Southern Europe and Latin America

Tuesday, 18 June 2019 - 9:45am to 5:45pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HR
Dr Kostantinos Kornetis (Santander Visiting Fellow, St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Visiting Fellows Series

The European Studies Centre Santander Fellow Conference 2019 is entitled: Generational memory and the resurgence of the past in Southern Europe and Latin America

Europe is currently experiencing a crisis of memory regimes, whether this concerns World War II, the collapse of Southern European dictatorships or the period of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe. Post-authoritarian societies are currently facing serious political complexities, chief amongst which is the fact that the second or third post-authoritarian generations demand a different social and political contract than the one concluded after 1945, in the mid-1970s or after 1989, respectively. In Spain, young Catalans challenge the 1978 Spanish constitution, claiming that Franco is back from the grave. In Portugal young people complain that the political class has “betrayed” the values of the 1974 Revolution. The past is returning with a vengeance also in Latin America: in Argentina new generations protest against wrongdoings of the dictatorship period, rejecting the idea of “national reconciliation”, while in Chile the political transition and its masterminds have come under serious attack by students who regard them as a generational breakpoint. 

It is precisely on such complex political battles between official and unofficial memory, established history and counter-history, but also various generations defending different versions of the past that the current conference focuses. Going back to the initial use of the term “political generation” by Karl Mannheim and its connection to social change the conference will tackle the following questions, among others: 

1) How do political generations in post-authoritarian societies in Southern Europe and Latin America remember the past?

2) How are the transitions remembered, narrated and memorialized by relevant actors and how is that reflected in generational terms?

3) What is the role of real or perceived authoritarian and post-authoritarian legacies in the current crisis of memory regimes?

4) Does the role of  “postmemory” offer a satisfactory explanation for young people’s current engagement with the previous’ generations conduct in the past?

5) What does the spillover of generational clash into scholarly and artistic work signify?

6) What are the current political usages and ramifications of these memory regimes?

The conference brings together some of the most engaged researchers on such issues from the UK. It combines empirical with theoretical approaches, introducing ‘generational memory’ as a key factor to understanding current social and political conflicts in these countries, which date back to the 1970s and 1980s. 

Participants include: Kepa Fernandez de Larrinoa (St Antony’s, Oxford), Nikos Papadogiannis (Bangor University), Carolina Rito (Nottingham Contemporary), Valentina Infante Batiste (St Antony’s, Oxford), Niall HD Geraghty (Institute of Latin American Studies, London), Leigh Payne (St Antony’s, Oxford), Sally Alexander (Goldsmiths), Alison Ribeiro De Menezes (Warwick), Marton Magocsi (Reuters Institute).

Chairs include: Tom Buchanan (Kellogg, Oxford), Ignacio Peyró (Director, Instituto Cervantes London), Robert Gildea (Worcester, Oxford).

Further information about session timings will follow in due course. Please note that this is subject to change.​

Registration in advance is essential as places at the venue are limited. Please email: with your interest.

This conference is hosted in collaboration with SEESOX, the Oxford Centre for European History and Cervantes Institute, London.