Joint Sessions

Family Memory and Intergenerational Transmission of the Past
Session code
Date Time
Thursday, August 25th / 14.00-17.30
Radmila Švaříčková Slabáková; Monika Vrzgulová
Collegium Minus, XVII

The aim of the session is to gain a better understanding of the family memory phenomenon. In spite of the “memory boom” detected in social sciences and humanities for already a few decades now, family memory has still not become an important topic of research. Several studies have emphasized the importance of family stories and traditions for the creation of the historical consciousness of individuals. The session focuses on 2 aspects: the building and construction of family memory, conflicted family memories transmitted to subsequent generations. Both studied aspects are interlinked in their aim of exploring family memory as an active past shaping individuals’ identities.
Each family encompasses people who share part of the past and have certain common relational perspectives. Family memory can be created and transmitted through the means of intimate contacts among family members but also outside the patterns of family conversations and objects. Families occupying the public scene may confuse family memory with memory which is built on the cultural and political history of the nation itself.
Traumatic historical events, witnessed by family members, may not be easily transmitted to subsequent generations. Silence may become a pre-condition for rebuilding life to move into the future. Silent powerful ways, in which the memory of traumatic events shapes families, may turn into conflict as well as the resilience of its members. The presentations explore how the memories of the extreme forms of public violence are transmitted to the following generations, what role the gender differences play in reframing these memories and how young people today negotiate their role in the process. Is family memory overpowered or decimated by national memory?