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A Right to Memory

Date: March 21, 2022 Time: 10:00 - 14:15 (Local Time, Penn-State, USA), 15:00 - 19:15 (Local Time, UK), 17:00-21:15 (Local Time, Israel).The contributors to the book project A Right to Memory  (co-edited by HI Visiting Scholar Noam Tirosh, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and Anna Reading, King’s College, London) will present portions of the work, with comments and moderation by Penn State faculty. “The right to memory, its theoretical underpinnings, its different definitions, and the varied places and social realms in which actors realize it stands at the core of this edited collection. We contend that a right to memory is a socio-political mechanism promoting memory for the sake of humanity and that connects ideas of human rights with visions of justice, and the empowerment of the weak, those whose stories may be forgotten or stand at the margins.”

Photo Credit: John McDonnell/The Washington Post

This event was co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute and Jewish Studies Program, Penn State University.

Program Schedule 

10:00 – 10:15 Introductory Notes – Kobi Kabalek, Noam Tirosh, and Anna Reading

10:15 – 11:15 First Session: The Right to Memory “On the Ground” – Examples from around the World

Moderator: Lior B. Sternfeld, Penn State

Commentator: Ekaterina Haskins, Penn State

  • The Memory Belongs to No One and It Belongs to Everyone”: An Analysis of a Grassroots Claim to the Right to Memory
    • Rebecca Kook, Politics and Government, Ben Gurion University
  • Using and Abusing Memory Laws in Search for „Historical Truth” – the Case of the 2018 Amendments to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance Act
    • Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias and Grażyna Baranowska, the Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences

11:15 – 11:25 Break

11:25 – 12:50 Second Session: The Right to Memory, Human Rights, and the International Law

Moderator: Nergis Ertürk, Penn State

Commentator: Shmuel Lederman, Haifa University

  • The Duty to Remember: Human Rights and the Shadow of the Two World Wars
    • Jay Winter, Yale University
  • Framing Memory Rights in International Law
    • Anna Reading, King’s College, University of London
  • The ‘Duty to Remember’ and the ‘Right to Memory’: Memory Politics and the Neoliberal Logic
    • Lea David, School of Sociology, University College Dublin

12:50 – 13:00 Break

13:00 – 14:00 Third session: The Right to Memory, Technology, Media and Communications

Moderator: Kobi Kabalek, Penn State

Commentator: Nina Paulovicova, Athabasca University

  • Memory, Rights and Sen’s “Capabilities Approach”
    • Noam Tirosh and Amit Schejter, Communication Studies, Ben-Gurion University
  • The Right to Produce Memory: Social Memory Technology as Cultural Work
    • Karen Worcman and Joanne Garde-Hansen, the Instituto Museu da Pessoa, Brazil and the Centre for Cultural & Media Policy Studies, University of Warwick

14:00 – 14:15 Final Remarks: Beyond A Human Right to Memory /Anna Reading