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Excursion: ,Krieg.Macht.Sinn.’ ,Agonistic’ Principles as Interventions in Museum Exhibitions

When Dec 06, 2018 08:00 to
Dec 07, 2018 10:00
Where Ruhr-Museum Essen
Contact Name
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,Agonistic’ Principles as Interventions in Museum Exhibitions


When: December 6 to 7, 2018

Where: Ruhr-Museum in Essen

Contact: Sahra Rausch, Anna Heidrich, Zoran Vukovac


Antagonistic as well as cosmopolitan modes of remembering tend to promote a single version of the past by applying moral categories confronting “good” with “evil”, which Chantal Mouffe (2005) has criticized of ignoring the political substance of social conflict. Following Mouffe’s concept of “agonism” (Mouffe 2005, 2012), the “Krieg.Macht.Sinn” exhibition at Ruhrmuseum in Essen develops an agonistic ethicopolitical mode of remembering. The exhibition therefore aims to question hegemonic cosmopolitan remembrance as well as the role of museums in their reproduction by displaying multivocal and opposing voices.

Under the broader framework of Horizon 2020 UNREST project (Unsettling Remembering and Social Cohesion in Transnational Europe), “Krieg.Macht.Sinn” offers a political intervention that captures memories of war in museum practices and consequently challenges nationalist interpretations of war experiences. The exhibition therefore treats war memory as a process in which critical perspectives of war and memory have to struggle for meaning. The four sections focus on the war in Syria, WW I, WW II and the Yugoslav wars by addressing the following thematic blocs: soldiers, bomb war, genocide and refugees.

Prof. Dr. Wulf Kansteiner (Aarhus University) was among the academic experts who conceptualized the exhibition, contributing with his outstanding expertise in memory and media studies. In collaboration with AG “Museumskulturen”, Research Area 1 “Cultural Memory Studies” offers a workshop with Prof. Kansteiner at Ruhrmuseum Essen. The aim is to approach the museum as an “agonistic space”, an expression of a “radical democracy”, to critically engage with representations of memory and the meaning of displayed objects. Furthermore, following the global trend of digitalization of memory, the group will have the opportunity to question the impact digital memories have in mediation processes as well as its role in memory and museum cultures of the present day.

On December 6, 2018 we start with a two hours introductory session in Essen. The next day we will visit the exhibition and have a workshop with Prof. Kansteiner from 10 am to 3 pm at Ruhrmusem.

Travel and accommodation expenses are covered by the GCSC, meals are not included.

We kindly ask for a binding registration until October 19 to be sent to:


Prof. Dr. Wulf Kansteiner

Wulf Kansteiner is Professor of Memory Studies and Historical Theory at Aarhus University, Denmark. He is co-founder and co-editor of the Sage-Journal “Memory Studies” and member of the editorial board of the series “Media and Cultural Memory”. He widely published in the fields of Holocaust studies, media history, historical theory, and memory studies, recent publications include “War Museums as Agonistic Spaces: Possibilities, Opportunities and Constraints” (International Journal of Heritage Studies, March 2018) and “The Holocaust in the 21. Century. Digital Anxiety, transnational Cosmopolitanism, and Never Again Genocide Without Memory” (Digital Memory Studies: Media Pasts in Transition, 2018).


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