Sites of Memory. Lost and Entangled Narratives

Conference (video recording available, in English and German)

A building is reflected in the water, black and white photo.

Memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe Murdered under the National Socialist Regime; CC BY-ND 2.0: mini malist

When we talk about Berlin’s collective memory, the stories of many minorities are often overlooked. The final conference of the project Sites of Memory. Lost and Entangled Narratives addresses global and local history events and narratives from the perspective of Black Germans, Jews, Sinti and Roma, and other People of Color in their interconnectedness. In his keynote, Michael Rothberg (University of California, Los Angeles) will introduce his multidirectional memory approach and illuminate perspectives on commemorative and memorial cultures. How marginalized stories can be told and made visible will be discussed in the concluding panel discussion.

The conference is organized in cooperation with the Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin.

recording available

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The Old Building is marked in green


Old Building, level 2, Great Hall
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

The Project Sites of Memory. Lost and Entangled Narratives is funded by IFAF Berlin (Institute for Applied Research) and based at Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin.

Recording of the conference Sites of Memory. Lost and Entangled Narratives on 16 September 2016. The video recording includes the words of welcome, the project presentation, the reading, and the keynote, in German and English; Jewish Museum Berlin


9.00 am Opening and Welcome

Dr. Rosa Fava, Head of Academy Programs, Jewish Museum Berlin

Juliane Jurewicz, Research Coordinator of Competence Centre for Integration and Health of the Institute for Applied Research (IFAF Berlin), Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin

9.30 am Presentation of the research project Sites of Memory: Biographies and Places Entangled with Berlin History

Prof. Dr. Iman Attia, Olga Gerstenberger, Ozan Keskinkiliç, Sites of Memory, Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin

Reading by Anita Awosusi and Ilona Lagrene

11.00 am Coffee break

11.30 am Keynote Multidirectional Memory: Entangled Narratives, Implicated Subjects – Prof. Dr. Michael Rothberg, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Chair: Serpil Polat, Jewish Museum Berlin

1.00 pm Lunch break

2.30 pm Parallel panels

Panel 1: Urban History in Educational Contexts – on the Relevance of Exploring City History

Dr. Noa Ha, Mapping Berlin as a Postcolonial City, Technische Universität Berlin

Saraya Gomis, King Code Project and Black Diaspora School
Hajdi Barz, guided city tour Yesterday Through the Eyes of Today
Christian Kopp, Just Listen – Global History from Below and Civil Society Dialogue and Sites of Memory, Berlin Postkolonial

Panel 2: Author/izing History – Creating New Realities. Working with Marginalized Self-Narratives and Biographies

Diane Izabiliza, Sites of Memory
Melanie Weiß, Dikhen amen! Look at us!
Nicola Lauré al-Samarai, Homestory Germany and Sites of Memory
Chair: Judith Rahner, Forgotten Biographies

4.00 pm Coffee break

4.30 pm Closing panel discussion

How Can Marginalized Histories be Narrated and Made Visible?

Prof. Dr. Iman Attia, Sites of Memory, Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin

Dr. Alina Gromova, Jewish Museum Berlin

Aischa Ahmed, Arabic Presence in Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin

Isidora Randjelovic, RomaniPhen
Silke Güç, EOTO – Each One Teach One
Chair: Dr. Manuela Bauche, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin / Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

6.00 pm Break

Wine & snack bar in the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy

6.30 pm Concert: Tayo Onutor & Ernie Schmiedel

(Where: W. Michael Blumenthal Academy)

The singer Tayo Onutor describes herself as Afro-Sintesa. She sings with a warm voice and creates a mixture of Soul, Jazz and R’n’B in English, German and Romani, the language of the Sinti and Romany communities. The pianist Ernie Schmiedel accompanies her through the evening.

The concert will be introduced by Iris Rajanayagam, xart splitta.

Project Sites of Memory

A website was developed as part of this practical research project:
project website

Background information on this research project can be found on the website of the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin:
Website of the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin

Brief Description of the Keynote:

Multidirectional Memory: Entangled Narratives, Implicated Subjects

In his keynote lecture, Michael Rothberg will begin by reflecting on the framework of "sites of memory" that defines the conference. He will review the advantages and disadvantages of the framework as a means of making visible "lost and entangled narratives," and he will offer his theory of "multidirectional memory" as a complementary model for thinking about what happens when different historical legacies intersect in the public sphere. Taking inspiration from the African American intellectual and activist W.E.B. Du Bois, Rothberg will examine an ongoing tradition of remembering one particular multidirectional nexus of memory - the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Monument - in contexts that bring the Nazi genocide of European Jews together with histories of colonialism, slavery, and racism. A final example, taken from an exhibition at the Jewish Museum Berlin, will raise the question of what it means for migrants and minorities to be implicated in national histories of violence and to occupy positions other than that of victim or perpetrator.

Brief Description of Panel 1:

"Urban History in Educational Contexts – on the Relevance of Exploring City History"

Employing interactive methods from the perspective of youths and adults, this panel will introduce participants to the sociopolitical relevance of exploring urban history. We will focus on the method of exploring urban spaces to learn about urban history processes, narratives, and areas that were previously neglected, suppressed, or built up. In two tandem teams, the four speakers will consider how historical interconnections can be drawn upon for practical and political education in an urban context and report on actual experiences from different learning contexts. Exercises in both groups will encourage participants’ active involvement.

Brief Description of Panel 2:

"Author/izing History – Creating New Realities. Working with Marginalized Self-Narratives and Biographies"

Based on various projects in which marginalized life stories play a key role, we will discuss the concept of "author/izing history." We will address key issues that on the one hand take a critical look at unequal speaker positions and, on the other, sound out the oppositional potential of testimonies and biographies: Which functions do individual life stories fulfill in communities and in the context of dominant social relations? Who tells whose story? Why and how? To what extent can life stories create new realities? Of particular interest are potential pitfalls that – depending on the speaker’s position – come to light in the work with marginalized self-narratives and biographies, as well as various areas of tension, which oscillate between collective appreciation and appropriation by the dominant society.

Einladung und Programm der Tagung Erinnerungsorte. Vergessene und Verwobene Geschichten (in German)

Download (PDF / 401.99 KB / in German / not accessible)

Kurzbiografien der Referent*innen der Tagung (in German)

Download (PDF / 539.64 KB / in German / not accessible)

Where, when, what?

  • When16 Sep 2016
  • Where Old Building, level 2, Great Hall
    Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin
    See location on map

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