The panel explores the role of the past in shaping current moments and imaginings of the future. We are interested in individual, familial, and collective processes, as well as in their overlapping spatial and temporal dynamics.
In this panel, we seek to explore the role of the past in shaping current moments and imaginings of the future. We are interested in individual, familial, and collective processes, as well as in their overlapping transnational and intergenerational dynamics. Emotional dynamics, meaning-making, and issues of morality seem to be central to how people engage with and activate the past in contemporary political and cultural settings. In that regard, narratives of the past can become 'frozen' reference points with explicit moral implications. But what happens when we for instance say "never again," and how is the moral ideal embedded in these words negotiated in practice? More generally, how do visions of the past interplay with imaginings of the future, and how are particular futures pointed to in practice? How does people's imaginative engagement with the past differ from their engagement with the future and how do we conceptualize the present accordingly? The temporalities of the past might be explored through people's relationship with material objects, the intergenerational transmission of family stories, shared cultural activities within a community, state monuments, memorials and education, as well as through the built environment. Further, the interplay between past, present, and future might be approached through transnational flows as well as via research on travelling, multidirectional, and mediated memories. We invite papers that present ethnographic, methodological, and theoretical perspectives on these or similar themes.