Decolonial workshop on (post)socialist childhood memories

On August 23rd-25th 2018, we organized a workshop in Tampere to further extend – theoretically, methodologically, conceptually, analytically, and geographically – our project on DE-COLONIAL AND DE-COLD WAR DIALOGUES ON CHILDHOOD AND SCHOOLING. We had the pleasure of hosting Professors Erica Burman (The University of Manchester, UK), Madina Tlostanova, (Linköping University, Sweden) and Kathrin Hörschelmann (Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, Leipzig, Germany) for three days in Tampere, Finland.

We discussed our most recent edited book, Childhood and Schooling in (Post)Socialist Societies (2018), and the ways in which we can extend the existing project in new directions. We discussed topics such as the growing geopolitical divides within current politics and in the everyday experiences of those living in post-socialist societies or migrated from the region. We noted that Cold War divisions and hierarchies are being reproduced and rearticulated in knowledge production and in everyday spheres of life – sometimes in new and unexpected ways. The relative silence around and the continuing devaluation of socialist experiences might contribute to shifts in politics to the right, while also causing the feelings of incoherence in people’s personal histories. In this context, we also discussed how our project can be more closely linked to larger social and political issues, such as current geopolitics or global knowledge production.

The participants gave presentations that have addressed many of our concerns and aspirations of our research project. Madina Tlostanova talked about the (post)socialist missing other: aesthesis, embodied memories and knowledge production. Kathrin Hörschelmann shared a personal geography of encountering familiar and unfamiliar memories of socialist childhood and schooling. Erica Burman presented conceptual and methodological considerations that extend our project with the method of found childhood as a practice of child as method.

We also organized a small workshop related to our own childhood memories – entitled ‘Relations and connections across divides’ – linking memory work and materialities. We each prepared a memory story and/or brought an object or a photo, and shared out memory stories with the group. During our discussions, connections and relations emerged across our memories and intentions for our future work together became articulated more clearly.

We hope that our discussions will soon materialise into an exciting new project, including scholarly and artistic work, and transnational active engagements with broader audiences. We will keep you updated on these new developments during the following weeks and months.

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