Workshop Leader: Vanessa Göppner (ISHA Marburg)

For historians, totalitarianism implies a system in which the exercise of power is in the hands of one or few people and where no political participation comes from the citizenry. One important characteristic for that form of government are measures of repressions against non-conformity.

History has shown that totalitarian regimes use revision of history to legitimise the system. Revisionism of history is an important topic in the historical and social science, because memory is an important link for the identification of people. A fundamental way to doctrine citizens a specific view is via the public space.

The idea of the Workshop is inspired by the topic of memory-discourse in post-socialist states – also called “clash of memory”- which caused a number of memorial changes in the ’90s. Monuments, for example the Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum in Sofia or the Berlin Wall in Berlin, got demolished, public spaces changed. Demonstrations and vandalism appeared against spaces and places with a level of identification for the post-regime. But not only places went through an alteration. Cultural and domestic spaces were affected by that kind of change, too.

Therefore, the workshop Post-Totalitarian-Spaces wants to analyse post-totalitarian memorial spaces and examine the question, how memory in post-totalitarian societies is expressed on the spatial level. The question this workshop wants to examine is how post-totalitarian societies adapt to those revisionisms and the memory of the repressions of Totalitarianism? What happens with the citizens on a mental space? How did for example people who got spied on by the Stasi reflect this memory?

This subject opens various possibilities for academic work and we hope this short description awakens your interest to take part in our workshop.