Fostering a more Critical Collective Memory
Carmen Lienen (post-doctoral researcher at the Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany)
Abstract. History is no objective account of the past but a collective narrative that is influenced by present identity needs of a group. To maintain a positive group identity, this narrative often highlights events that portray the ingroup in a positive light and silences moral transgressions against other groups. In recent years, such glorifications of history have been increasingly challenged by scholars and activists around the world, who call for a more critical representation of history and the history of slavery and racism in particular. While these protests have sparked public debates on how to remember a difficult past in some contexts, several groups have also objected what they call a ‘re-writing of history’, have formed counter-initiatives, or have tried to prevent the teaching of colonialism in schools. In my postdoctoral research, I seek to contribute to a better understanding of the psychological motives and identity processes underlying defensive representations of history, and to test psychological interventions that aim at increasing the acknowledgment of past ingroup wrongdoings.
In this seminar, I would like to discuss some research ideas I am currently developing as part of a postdoc scholarship proposal. I will review literature on constructive patriotism and humility and present study ideas that apply qualitative and quantitative methods.
The presentation will take place at the indicated address, as well as in this virtual seminar room.