Conference at Aarhus University - December 4-5, 2009




December 4 - 12.00-18.00

Building 1532 (Mathematics), room 122



Introduction by Mads Rosendahl Thomsen (Aarhus University)



Keynote by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (Stanford University): A ‘stimmung’ of latency. About a new history of post-1945





Nils Arne Sørensen (University of Southern Denmark): Remembering and Forgetting the Great War in Inter-War Europe


Stefan Iversen (Aarhus University): So Who Witnesses the Witnesses? On Danish Narratives from German Concentration Camps






Leona Toker (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Representations of the End of World War II in Gulag Literature


Rivka Eisner (Aarhus University): Patriotic Performance, Marked Bodies, Haunted Places and the Politics of Remembering and Forgetting in Postwar Vietnam



Light snacks




December 5 - 9.30-16.00

Building 1584 (Aesthetics), room 112




Keynote: Marko Attila Hoare (Kingston University): Stillborn recovery: Bosnia-Hercegovina since Dayton




Frederik Stjernfelt (Aarhus University): Approaching the truth - the post-war war of interpretations


Christian Axboe Nielsen (Aarhus University): Moving Bosnia and Herzegovina from Dayton to Brussels







Joachim Lund (Copenhagen Business School): Identifying the Real Enemy: The Return of Anti-Socialist Efforts in the Danish Business Community, 1945-49


Uffe Østergaard (Copenhagen Business School): Remembering and Forgetting the end of the Cold War after 1989 - how nobody foresaw the Fall of Communism







Panel debate opened by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht



The conference is generously sponsored by the focus area Globalisation at the Faculty of Arts, the Department of Aesthetic Studies and the Scandinavian Department.

Registration is not required.

Contact for further information about the conference.


The topic of "postwar"

The intensity of wars and their strong narratives of good and evil, of heroes and villains, tends to overshadow the periods following immediately after. What actually happens in a period of postwar when normal life returns and societies are reconstructed? When the memory and reflection of what just happened unfolds in a variety of recollecting modes spanning from denial to glorification?

Postwar periods are not to be seen only in terms of normalization, however, but also of change. In some cases, antagonistic interpretations of what happened in wartime freeze in a sort of stalemate; in other cases, peace is also the victorious narrative's suppression or domination of losing groups whose interpretations are relegated to subcultural existence, or even, in the case of less open societies, to underground existence. The interpretation of war may change considerably during the postwar period, due to the aging and disappearance of actual participants, to the change in internal or external power relations, to the publication of reserach results etc.

As periods of normalization, postwar periods also faces the dilemma of repressing or confronting what happened during the war; a dilemma that is only made more complex when the different goals and obligations of state, society, groups and individuals are considered. One result of these conflicts is that persuasive narratives, luring symbols and other ways of seeking effects through aesthetic means play an important role in shaping the memory of war and postwar alike.

In this seminar several postwar periods and their distinctive traits are investigated to give a tentative bid on what could be called "the semiotics of postwar remembrance".