The University of Tartu team addresses the role and reconciliatory potential of postmemory in contemporary transmission of difficult memories in the Estonian society.
“Postmemory” describes the relationship that the “generation after” develops in relation to the personal, collective, and cultural trauma of those who came before, i.e. to experiences they “remember” only by means of the stories, images, and behaviors among which they grew up (Hirsch 2013). The team focuses on the study of youth NGOs (Nongovernment organizations) as agents of memory of World War II and its aftermath.
The aim of the team’s research is twofold. The first aim is to document and analyze ways of commemoration and transmission initiated by youth NGOs to explore their relationship to Estonian memory culture on the one hand and to European memory culture on the other. How and to what extent do the ways in which youth organizations deal with difficult memories have an impact to Estonian and even European memory culture? The second aim is to explore the memory narratives the youth NGOs collected during their actions in order to explore the impact the new ways of commemorating and transmitting have on the content and form of remembering. Will the embeddedness of post-memory in transcultural and transnational mnemonic processes increase its reconciliatory power in Estonian society?
The team’s research will be based on the analysis of participant observation of memory events, thematic interviews with youth activists, and the narrative analysis of memory narratives collected by youth NGOs’ oral history initiatives since 2000. The positioning of youth NGOs toward Estonian memory politics and political culture as well as the public image of respective youth NGOs will be analyzed through media contents.
The Research Team
Prof. Ene Kõresaar (Team Leader), University of Tartu
Terje Anepaio, Eesti Rahva Muuseum
Laura Jamsja, University of Tartu
Kirsti Jõesalu, University of Tartu