WHAT IS PoSoCoMeS?

PoSoCoMeS is the working group on post-socialist and comparative memory studies within the Memory Studies Association (MSA).

Mission statement

Historical memory is “hot” across the post-socialist world, including the former Soviet republics, East Central Europe and the Balkans, but also China, Vietnam, or Cuba, as well as among the members or heirs of international socialist movements. Accordingly, collective memory has attracted much interest among academic specialists in all of these regions.

However, post-socialist memory studies have yet to constitute itself as a fully-fledged field of inquiry. Scholars often remain confined to their own national contexts, failing to engage in meaningful dialogue with those studying other countries or regions. Many articles still read like contributions to memory wars rather than attempts at dispassionate analysis, and too many authors write about memory phenomena without regard for the international literature in the field, or indeed the contributions of predecessors who wrote about the same topics.

In this context, our working group aims to help establish high scholarly standards for post-socialist memory studies across disciplinary boundaries. We also wish to create a global framework for scholarly dialogue about post-socialist memory, with particular attention to comparative and transnational approaches including regions in the Global South and elsewhere that have been influenced by the socialist project.

History and activities

Founded in early 2018, PoSoCoMeS quickly became the MSA's largest and most active working group, sponsoring 14 panels as part of the 2019 MSA conference in Madrid, including its own pre-conference, and helping establish regular meetings of the different working and regional groups within the MSA.

Our two-week online conference in September-October 2020, organized jointly with the Institute of Oral History of Moldova, was the largest memory studies conference ever to be held in Eastern Europe. The next conference will take place in person in Tallinn on 20-23 September 2023. In addition to its own conferences and events at the annual MSA conventions, PoSoCoMeS organises a rich programme of online seminars and other events.

PoSoCoMeS also publishes a comprehensive newsletter with news about the state of our field and compiles bibliographies of scholarly work on post-socialist memory.

Get involved

We are always open to new members, ideas, and initiatives. To get involved, join our interactive mailing list and participate in one of our bi-weekly online business meetings (see the front page for details). Or simply e-mail us with your ideas or questions.