Roundtable: Religion and the politics of memory as tools of in- and external securitization in Eastern Europe


Panel bei der Fifth Annual Conference of the Memory Studies Association, 'Convergences'
6. Juli 2021, 13.00 Uhr

Description Of The Roundtable:
Remarkably, history is currently not only politized but also sacralized. Historical evidences, myths, and stereotypes are declared “authentic” and therefore beyond doubt or criticism. Secular and sacral
rituals, venerated objects, and marked spaces are used to strengthen feelings of national identity, belonging, and security. Religious authorities and churches are often involved in the sacralization of historical politics. In the recent years the notion of security turned to be a powerful topos being capable of legitimizing a vast number of political actions. Securitizing arguments are interwoven with those of the memory politics: populist parties and churches make use of history in this manner. Politics of memory as means of institutionalization of security often play a crucial role in shaping national identities and legitimizing claims to leadership.

Our roundtable will explore the sacralization of memory politics as part of securitizing discourses in Eastern Europe. Here, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the partial erasure of Soviet traditions and interpretations of history have enabled politicians and societies to search or rediscover a connection to their “own usable past.” On the basis of selected case studies coming from Russia, Poland, Estonia, Slovakia, and Ukraine, the roundtable participants endeavor to explore the
following topics from a comparative perspective:

• Who are the political and societal actors promoting the sacralization of the politics of memory?
• What role do church actors play in this process? Are there differences between the various
churches and denominations? How do the dynamics of security and of perceptions and representations of security (including forms and types of securitization) influence in this context the politics of memory?
• How is legislation used?
• Which historical topics seem best suited for the sacralization of the politics of memory as a tool of securitization?
• Which periods, figures of the national past are revived in this process? Which are neglected?

Participants:

  • Liliya Berezhnaya, Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics,” University of Münster
  • Irina Paert, University of Tartu
  • Heidi Hein-Kircher, Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Marburg
  • Yuliya Yurchuk, Department of History and Contemporary Studies, Södertörn University
  • Agáta Šústová Drelová, Institute of History, Slovak Academy of Sciences
  • Tatiana Voronina, University of Zürich

Panel on the website of the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Marburg