STRATEGIES OF COPING WITH THE PAST. MULTIPERSPECTIVE AND INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES Call for the new thematic issue No.23 /2023 Guest Editor: Dr Naum Trajanovski
2023-03-10The promotion of the Macedonian translation of Time shelter [mk. Zasolnište na vremeto; bg. Vremeubezhishte] by Georgi Gospodinov in Skopje, in early December 2022, was certainly the event of the day in the capital city of North Macedonia. Gospodinov, unarguably the most prominent contemporary Bulgarian writer, and his newest novel were received with pomp by his Macedonian readers little short of the one reserved for music stars or sports idols. The Time shelter, another of his studies of the past minglings with the present – all of them timely translated in Macedonian – depicts clinics of the past where different eras from the recent history are being frozen: an idea which evolved from a Zurich-based Alzheimer center where it is always the middle-class 60s to European nations’ level in no time, which all held referendums about the preferred decades their citizens would prefer to live in. As a crescendo, the Bulgarian society crashes over the two favored past decades, while Europe comes to the brink of a second First World War. In this context, how much of the past, asks Gospodinov, can a single person stand? (2021, 55). And, indeed, how much past can a single person stand in the given social and political constellation? From the historical pretexts behind the Russian aggression against Ukraine to the most recent episode of Bulgarian-North Macedonia’s dispute over history and memory, the past is a hot topic that dominates many different realms of the everyday life. Moreover, various social and political actors propose their visions of past events as exclusive interpretative frameworks, hence blocking any alternative narratives to reach the public: be it from a marginalized group or a borderland, to name a few. In the past several years, online platforms became dominant tools for spreading those and other exclusivist interpretations. The recent memory studies literature already noted the novel theoretical and methodological aspects of the contemporary “mnemonic conflicts” and pointed out their very embeddedness in the online sphere, as well as the many and different transnational dimensions (Saryusz-Wolska, Wawrzyniak and Wóycicka, 2022; also see Kończal and Dirk Moses, 2021). We are therefore interested in discussing the various strategies for coping with invasive narratives about the past, at various levels and in different contexts. The articles can dwell upon the following subtopics: - Strategies of coping with the past: Individual, family, groupist, local, national and transnational. - Activist attempts: Memory and peace activism, cross-national and regional initiatives. - Transitional justice mechanisms and Dealing with the past models: Past experiences and new challenges. - The online domain: Digital memory platforms, online mobilization and activism.