< Back to Research Priorities

What are the politics and ethics of memory and representation in contemporary Europe? How do European societies remember their diverse and collective histories? Whose stories are represented as a part of public memory? 

The Nanovic Institute is interested in projects investigating the politics and ethics of remembrance in contemporary Europe. Our focus on memory includes

  • National memories of racial violence and injustice,
  • Memory and reconciliation in postwar societies, and
  • Contested memory spaces, such as monuments.

We are interested in studying cultures of remembrance broadly in Europe–including post-Holocaust, Socialist, post-colonial, and fascist memory–to understand how and why communities in Europe represent their diverse histories. What are the stakes of memory and representation? How have individuals fought for recognition of their experiences as a part of local and national memory?

The politics of memory

The Nanovic Institute and its affiliated scholars and faculty fellows are currently conducting and compiling research for a book on monuments, public memory, and contesting the European past.

This project takes the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue by anti-racist protestors in Bristol in June 2020 as an inspiration and a springboard into discussions of how memory unites, as well as divides, and if memory can heal wartorn societies. What histories are silenced by the lack of a monument and what does this silence indicate about a country’s public claims about its past? How should nations who once had authoritarian or colonial regimes remember those pasts?

All of these questions are vital parts of the institute’s current work, which will culminate in a book publication. Dialogue and participation by interested scholars is highly welcome as this project continues to grow.

Ongoing research and events

In 2023, the Laura Shannon Prize was awarded to Stella Ghervas for her book Conquering Peace: From the Enlightenment to the European Union (Harvard University Press, 2021). It examines the history of peacemaking in Europe and how post-war efforts to sustain peace emerged after the War of the Spanish Succession, the Napoleonic Wars, World Wars I and II, and the Cold War. In November 2023, Ghervas will deliver her prize lecture, centering on the topic of human dignity, at the University of Notre Dame.

Learn more about Stella Ghervas' prize-winning book

Do you want to learn more about this research and the ways to be a part of it?

Are you interested in pursuing a project on memory and remembering in Europe? If so, you are invited to learn more about Nanovic Institute grants and how to apply for them. There are different processes for different types of projects, so please share your research interests in the form linked below.

Launch the form

Student and Faculty Projects

More Memory and Remembering Projects