Karen E. Till is Senior Lecturer of Cultural Geography at Maynooth University and Director of the Space&Place Research Collaborative. Till’s geo-ethnographic research examines the significance of place in personal and social memory, and the ongoing legacies of state-perpetrated violence. In addition to numerous articles and chapters, her publications include The New Berlin: Place, Politics, Memory(2005), Mapping Spectral Traces (2010), and the co-edited volumesTextures of Place (2001) and Walls, Borders and Boundaries (2012). Till’s book in progress, Wounded Cities, highlights the significance of place-based memory-work and ethical forms of care at multiple scales that may contribute to creating more socially just futures.
Throughout Europe, a wave of anniversary commemorations remembering events such as war and division has been celebrated over the past five years. Using examples from the ‘Super-Gedenkjahr’ in Berlin (2014) and the ‘Decade of the Centenaries’ in Dublin, I examine how recalling difficult pasts may extend conservative agendas of ‘normalising’ the nation, but may also work to recall the foundations of the democratic state as a means of challenging forms of current-day social violence in a neoliberal and transnational Europe.
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