Seminar to Study Collective Social Memory and the Construction of Identity

Department of Anthropology

On September 14th-16th the Department of Anthropology at the European University at Saint-Petersburg held an interdisciplinary seminar for young scholars entitled “Theoretic-Methodological Approaches to the Study of Collective Social Memory and Individual Construction of Identity: A Dialogue between Russian and German Schools of Thought”. This seminar served as a continuation of another one which took place in November 2015 at Johannes Gutenberg University (Mainz) entitled “Russian Culture - German Culture. The Concept of National Identity in Modern Humanitarian and Social Sciences”.

In St. Petersburg, twenty representatives of various humanitarian disciplines (anthropology, communication studies, cultural studies, linguistics, Slavic studies, sociology, and philosophy) from both Russia and Germany were given the opportunity to tell colleagues from different countries of their own studies; to work together on proposed topics; and to discuss theories and methodological approaches used by various schools of thought. A significant amount of time was dedicated to work in three groups: “Content Analysis”, “Museological Presentation, Integrated Observation”, and “Oral History and Interviews”. This allowed participants to discuss in detail various methods for and aspects of studying collective memory.

The program also included a visit by The Foundation of Support and Development of Russian-German Relations “The Russian-German Meeting Center of Petrichurch”, during the course of which members of the foundation told about their own efforts, while the groups continued their work.

The atmosphere which was felt in the auditoriums, the enthusiasm which was demonstrated in academic discussions, and comments from participants allow organizers to hope that the second seminar, just like the first, will lead to fruitful collaborations and new collective projects.

This seminar was conducted with the support of the German Ministry of Culture and Mass Media, the Institute of Migration and Intercultural Studies (University of Osnabruck), the Research Academy of the University of Marburg, The Schrubeck Family Eastern European Research Foundation, The ZEIT Ebelin Foundation.

Organizers: Anna Flak (University of Osnabruck), Kristina Locke (Hildesheim University), Julia Person (University of Erfurt), Sara Rait (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz), Natalia Salnikova (Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg), Professor Sergey Shtyrkov (European University at Saint Petersburg), Andrey Trofimov (University of Marburg).