Around the world, saints, religious leaders, social and political activists, thinkers or scientists who often have not been remembered for decades or even centuries, are rediscovered and endowed with new significance as iconic figures. Often figures of the past, they are presented as role models in order to shape presents and futures. Such processes inevitably involve inclusion and appropriation, while producing otherness at the same time. However, the alterity at work in these constructions of the past are not only to celebrate icons and role models, but also to reject those of them that are deemed undesirable and unvaluable. Allegedly heretics, these leaders of other religious communities, or ideological adversaries, also feed particular narratives and representations of the past. This conference aims to critically examine the construction, deconstruction and functioning of iconic figures from a transregional perspective. A major question is: when and how societal transformations or crises and historiographical lags or gaps are instrumentalized by political and religious groups in order to produce alternative values and norms, selective readings and constructions of the past?
The conference is organised by Stanislau Paulau (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg/Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte, Mainz), Heike Liebau and Abdoulaye Sounaye (both Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin).
If you would like to register for the conference as a visitor, please send an email to marta.podvolotskaya(at)zmo.de
Funbded by the Leibniz Research Alliance „Value of the Past“.
Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Kirchweg 33, 14129 Berlin