Nissan Lecture Theatre, St Antony’s College
Professor Jan Kubik (UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies)
Professor Jan Zielonka (St Antony’s)
Professor Jan Kubik’s lecture will open the international conference “Dealing with a Difficult Past, Looking into the Future. Poland’s Transitional Justice in a Comparative Perspective” organised by the Programme on Modern Poland on Tuesday 31 May – Wednesday 1 June 2016 at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. More information about the conference: www.sant.ox.ac.uk/events/dealing-difficult-past-poland%E2%80%99s-transitional-justice-comparative-perspective
“The formation, maintenance, and transformations of collective memory need to be studied because these processes are intricately intertwined with three issues of paramount political importance: legitimacy of power, collective identity, and transitional justice. The study of the politics of collective memory has become a major academic industry in the recent years, yet theoretical progress has been slow. In a recent book Michael Bernhard and I, working with several collaborators, offered a sketch of a theory of the politics of memory. In this presentation I will outline four areas that need to be developed to move this theory forward. These areas include: (1) the cultural dimension of post-communist transformations as a relatively underdeveloped area of research, (2) the impact of mnemonic politics on the quality of democracy, (3) the political significance of various levels and forms of collective remembering/commemoration, and (4) the difference between the politics of memory and historical politics. The last issue has particularly serious practical and ethical implications that will be briefly outlined.” (Prof. Jan Kubik).