Remembering Activism: The Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe


7 - 9 December 2020
Online International Workshop

Online International Workshop Disappointed Hopes: Reclaiming the Promise of Resistance – University of Edinburgh, UK

How can we respond to the pervasive sense of disappointment and left melancholia lingering in the wake of the failed projects of revolutionary societal transformation? Among theorists and activists alike, twentieth-century narratives of inevitable progress and universal human emancipation have been replaced by a sober reckoning with past disappointments, failures and defeats. At the same time, narratives of loss can have a stifling effect on our sense of political possibility, quenching any residual hopes for a better world. Moving beyond lamentation of failure, this workshop asks how an engagement with past disappointments, losses and defeats can help us creatively respond to the difficulties and failures of resistance – and inspire our imagination of political alternatives in the present. It addresses this question by providing a platform for a mutually enriching dialogue between theorists, activists and engaged artists. The contributors address the conjunction of high aspirations and deep disappointments within the modern revolutionary experience – from the socialist and anti-colonial revolutions of the twentieth century to the multipronged struggles for justice and equality today. The purpose is to confront the challenges involved in resisting oppression in the present era of political disillusion and identify sustainable strategies for tackling disengagement from public sphere.

On December 8, Ann Rigney will give a presentation entitled Remembering Defeat, Generating Hope.

Please click here for information about the program and speakers of the workshop, and to register. You will have to book your ticket for each session separately.