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SHAME 2023 : MEMORY, GUILT AND SHAME - 5th International Interdisciplinary Conference (online)


When Oct 26, 2023 - Oct 27, 2023
Where Gdańsk
Submission Deadline Oct 10, 2023
Categories    interdisciplinary   psychology   memory   cuture studies

Call For Papers

Conference Online


The 20th century – an epoch of genocides – will be forever associated with feelings of guilt and shame. And it is not only the case of perpetrators. People are still ashamed of their ancestors and of the members of their nations, societies or families. Those who suffered from crimes and cruelties often experience survivor guilt, a mysterious phenomenon that psychotherapists try to tame. The status of bystanders is nowadays more and more often called into question, as it became clear that remaining “neutral” in the face of violence and atrocities was simply impossible. At the same time, many of both the victims and executioners make efforts to forget about the past events and repress the uncomfortable emotions. Others forget the facts involuntarily. Yet others cultivate false memories of what never occurred. Politicians impose their own narratives of history, with the hope of re-shaping the common convictions and achieving their short-sighted goals. Therefore, researchers dealing with memory studies of various kinds aim at explaining the complex relations of facts and phantasms, real and imagined guilt, justified and irrational shame.

On the other hand, modern societies seem to exist in the realm of complete shamelessness. More and more people reveal the hallmarks of narcissistic personality. They do not care about protecting their privacy. On the contrary, they are proud of exposing as much as possible from their intimate life. Exhibitionistic behaviors appear to be predominant traits of those who want to capture others’ attention.

These and other factors provoke us to concentrate on the themes of memory, guilt and shame – in the present-day world as well as in the past. We want to describe these phenomena in their multifarious aspects: psychological, social, historical, cultural, philosophical, religious, political, and many others. We also want to devote considerable attention to how these issues appear in artistic practices: literature, film, theatre or visual arts. That is why we invite researchers representing various academic disciplines: anthropology, history, psychology, psychoanalysis, psychiatry, sociology, politics, philosophy, literary studies, theatre studies, film studies, memory studies, consciousness studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, medical sciences, cognitive sciences, and others.

Different forms of presentations are encouraged, including case studies, theoretical investigations, problem-oriented arguments, and comparative analyses.

We will be happy to hear from both experienced scholars and young academics at the start of their careers, as well as doctoral students. We also invite all persons interested in participating in the conference as listeners, without giving a presentation.

Our repertoire of suggested topics includes but is not restricted to:

1.Guilt, shame and genocides
- Victims’ shame
- Perpetrators’ shame
- Survivor guilt
- Inherited guilt
- Forgetfulness
- Guilt repression
- Distorted memories
- Forgiveness

2.Guilt and shame in social life
- Shame and nationalism
- Shame and xenophobia
- Shame and colonialism
- Shame and racism
- White guilt
- Shame and anti-Semitism
- Shame and infamy
- Eco-guilt
- Guilt and Anthropocene
- Guilt and gender
- Guilt and LGBT
- Guilt-free consumption
- Guilt appeal in commercials

3.Guilt and shame in politics
- Guilt and propaganda
- Shame and pride
- Shame and “historical policy”
- Shameless politicians
- Guilt and political correctness

4. Guilt and shame in interpersonal relationships
- Shame and love
- Shame and intimacy
- Shame and eroticism
- Shame and privacy
- Shamelessness
- Parents’ guilt
- Children’s guilt
- Caregivers’ guilt

5.Pathology and therapy
- Guilt complex
- Guilt and suicide
- Shame and narcissism
- Shame and exhibitionism
- Guilt and shame in psychotherapeutic treatment
- Shame in psychoanalysis

6.Guilt and shame in religions
- Guilt and sin
- Guilt and confession
- Guilt and absolution
- Guilt and condemnation
- Crimes committed in the name of God
- Guilt and shame in the Catholic Church

7.Representation of guilt and shame
- Literature
- Film
- Theatre
- Visual arts
- Songs
- The media

Please submit abstracts (no longer than 300 words) of your proposed 20-minute presentations, together with a short biographical note, by 10 OCTOBER 2023 to:

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