Migration & Memory

Research Field “MIGRATION & MEMORY”

LBI EHP coordinating researcher: Christiane Hintermann (Vienna)

Points of departure

Migration and memory has been established as a research field at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for European History and Public Spheres in 2006, since 2007 the research is conducted together with colleagues from the University of Malmö. Starting point of the common research is the empirial fact most European societies today are pluralistic, heterogeneous immigration societies. Populations differ not only in terms of ethnic and cultural background, religious affiliation or country of origin but also in terms of their individual and family biographies and their transmitted historical and political experiences. Despite all the past and present migration processes and the emerging multiethnic and multicultural societies, Europe’s self image is still very much centred on national paradigms and narratives. Not to be an immigration country is for instance still a prevailing political leitmotif in Austria.

Our research – which focuses mainly on Austria and Sweden as well as Germany and Romania – is situated at the intersection of history, (im)migration, the narration of history, and remembrance cultures and activities regarding migration. It is based on the general assumption that the very rich European (im)migration history is underrepresented in historiography as well as in the collective memories of European nation states. The linkage of the migration and the memory discourse has not been given much attention from the scientific community yet, at least in Europe. Neither does it play a prominent role when it comes to public and political debates on migration and integration issues. Thus, it is the aim of our research not only to add to scientific knowledge production and to contribute to the advancement of contemporary history and migration research but also to challenge the exclusion of migration histories and migrants from national narratives and to contribute to the visibility of migrant’s hi/stories.

The field includes the following topics/projects which are linked in their overarching concern to study migration narratives and representations.