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Symposium: Rhetoric of the Past

How and why do people re-appropriate rhetoric from the past in present contexts?

September 22, 2016

In 2014, the Dutch producer Bakermat released his pop song ‘One Day’ in which he incorporated the famous words ‘I have a dream’ of Martin Luther King. His song became a hit in several European countries. Another example is the re-appropriation of the 1989 slogan ‘Wir sind das Volk’ during the recent Pegida demonstrations in Dresden. The rhetorical use of the past can articulate a certain identity and influence historical consciousness. Especially now, in times of cultural diversity, it is important to gain more insight. How and why do people use references to the past? How can we analyse these practices in text and images? And how do people respond as consumers to these practices?

Keynote speaker: Professor Michael Rothberg
Time: 13.00-17.30
Location: Tesselschadezaal Huygens ING (fifth floor, Royal Library), The Hague
Organisers: Laurie Slegtenhorst and Tina van der Vlies
Funded by: KNHG – Erfgoed Nederland – Centre for Historical Culture



13.00: Welcome and introduction by Tina van der Vlies (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

13.15: Keynote Prof. Michael Rothberg (University of California, Los Angeles): Implicated Subjects and the Rhetoric of the Past
Moderator Prof. Ismee Tames (NIOD/University of Utrecht)

13.45: First reaction by Dr Berber Bevernage (University Gent)

14.00: Discussion

14.30: Coffee Break

15.00: Session I – Rhetoric of the Past: Narratives and Mnemonic Structures.
Moderator: Prof. Kees Ribbens (NIOD/Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Sanne Parlevliet (University of Groningen): Is that us? Identification and alienation in historical fiction for children
  • Tina van der Vlies (Erasmus University Groningen): “What we have done once, we can do again!” Resonating narratives in history textbooks

16.00: Coffee Break

16.30: Session II – Media, Remediation and Cultural Education
Moderator: Prof. Franciska de Jong (Erasmus University Rotterdam/Utrecht University/University of Twente)

  • Dr Dagmar Brunow (Linnaeus University): Remediating archival content
  • Laurie Slegtenhorst (Erasmus University Rotterdam): World War II remediated in cultural education

17.30: Closure by Laurie Slegtenhorst (Erasmus University Rotterdam)