International Conference co-organized by the International Commission for the History and Theory of Historiography (ICHTH) & The Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR)

International Conference co-organized by the International Commission for the History and Theory of Historiography (ICHTH) & The Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR)

Historical Culture in Divided Societies.

From Theory to Practice

Home for Cooperation, Nicosia Buffer Zone, Cyprus, December 18-20, 2014

Α booming interest in what can be broadly called ‘public history’, ‘cultural memory’ and ‘historical culture’ has been taking place during the last decades, transforming history into a camp of contestation, a source for identities formation, a soft power for ruling fragmented societies, and a product for mass cultural consummation. Historical museums, heritage sites, commemorations, historical novels and films are mushrooming, acquiring new content, form and audience. Historical television series receive huge viewings while the internet provides an uncensored platform where history takes on any imaginable form.

Offering multiple and sometimes competing narratives about the past, these various forms, layers, and agents of public history have become the main tools for the representation of the past and, eventually, for the production of historical knowledge, superseding professional history and the Academia in general. The latter mostly concerns itself with the studying of popular historical culture, while it remains rather distant from either incorporating alternative tools for the transmission of knowledge within the academic sphere, or crafting forms of knowledge production that could communicate with a wider audience and shape the social historical awareness.

But what forms does historical culture take in circumstances of rupture and division? Who are the agents, both academic and non-academic, that influence or even determine the ways people in post-conflict societies imagine their past and relate to it? What is the agents’ role? What makes some narratives dominant? Does historical culture in divided societies always privilege traditional approaches and understanding? Or does the matrix of different agents and layers and media create more space for the articulation of alternative views that challenge the standard narratives? How do representations and interpretations of the past interplay with hopes and expectations for the present and future? And how can non-formal education and independent initiatives positively contribute to post-traumatic experiences?

In order to explore and further our understanding on these and more issues, the AHDR and the ICHTH are co-organizing a 3-day conference in the Home for Cooperation, in Nicosia, Cyprus. The conference will be divided in two parts, so as to cover both theoretical approaches and practical examples of public history. International Conference co-organized by the International Commission for the History and Theory of Historiography (ICHTH) & The Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR)

Accordingly, the first day of the conference will be dedicated to a theoretical discussion of the dominant historical culture in divided societies, and the role of a variety of agents and forms, from Academia to the internet, in creating historical awareness in divided and post-conflict landscapes. Speakers of the first day include, so far, Professors Berber Bevernage (Ghent University), Stefan Berger (University of Manchester), Sanjay Seth (Goldsmiths, University of London), Eduard Wang (Rowan University), Mitsos Bilalis (University of Thessaly), Chris Lorenz (University of Leiden and at the Free University of Amsterdam), Masayuki Sato (University of Yamanashi, Japan), Sia Anagnostopoulou (Panteion University, Athens), Niyazi Kizilyurek (University of Cyprus) and Antonis Liakos (University of Athens).

On the second day presentations will focus on a wide range of innovative public history cultural products, and discuss their role in dealing with controversial issues. A variety of different forms will be considered, from museums and exhibitions; to literature, films and documentaries; to technology-supported applications (e.g. online games). Thus far, invited speakers include the Wu Ming collective from Italy, authors of a series of highly acclaimed historical novels, among them Q, Manituana, and Altai covering a wide range of times and places, from 16th century Cyprus to 18th century Americas and beyond; and Professor of International Relations, Costas Constantinou along with Giorgos Skordis (Hki Fi Sanna) from Cyprus, creators of The Third Motherland, an insightful documentary that focuses on the Cypriot Maronite community, addressing issues of identity and memory.

Call for Papers

The AHDR welcomes papers that address the second part of the conference.

Scholars, researchers and independent practitioners with a personal involvement in conceptualizing, designing or implementing projects that exemplify new directions in dealing with the past and addressing wide audiences are invited to submit a proposal. Speakers are expected to offer both a brief presentation of their project, as well as discuss its wider implications and innovative contribution in regards to methodology and/or in addressing the consequences of social conflict and division.

Papers from all fields (media makers, curators, authors, journalists, scholars, civil society actors, policymakers) and geographical areas are welcome. International Conference co-organized by the International Commission for the History and Theory of Historiography (ICHTH) & The Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR)

Through this conference, the AHDR aims to create a network of interested stakeholders, who will have the opportunity to collaborate on future initiatives, including joint projects applications and funding opportunities, thus offering an invaluable platform for the exchange of information, knowledge and capacity building

The deadline for submissions is September 14, 2014. Please submit a title, short abstract (250 words maximum), and brief CV to: A brief description of the affiliated institution should also be included. Please note that the working language of the conference is English. All applicants will be notified by e-mail on whether their papers have been accepted.

Reimbursement of Expenses

Selected individuals will be provided with a maximum amount €500 to cover their accommodation travel expenses.

For any inquiries please visit or contact

Updates regarding the conference will be posted on the AHDR website ( and the Facebook page:


Antonis Liakos, Professor of Contemporary History and History of Historiography, University of Athens, Greece & Chair of the Board of the ICHTH

Daphne Lappa, Research Associate, AHDR, Nicosia, Cyprus

The Conference is part of the AHDR’s ‘Home for Cooperation’ project.

The Home for Cooperation project benefits from a €591,000 grant from Norway through the Norway Grants 2009- 2014. The aim of the project is to support the operation and sustainability of the Home for Cooperation, which shall contribute to the bridge-building between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus.

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