Digitalization of Memory in China

21. & 22. September 2022 |  University of Bonn

The workshop "Digitalization of Memory in China" examined the influences of digitalization on memory practices in China. A group of international scholars explored multiple aspects of this topic from interdisciplinary perspectives.

The relationship between memory and power has changed since multiple actors can interact in the digital space. This has massive implications for China, where digitalization is advancing particularly fast. Digital tools challenge the aspect of power over memory because they allow parallel narratives. The value of memory is to remember the past and consider the implications for the present and future. That this is especially true for political actors was demonstrated by Chinese government spokesperson Hua Chunying in 2020 during a press conference. She emphasized that "[t]he history of the struggle against the pandemic should not be tainted by lies and misleading information; it should be recorded with the correct collective memory of all mankind".

Digitization of memories enables new spaces and ways of memory communication. In addition to state actors, marginalized groups also use these possibilities. Members of national minorities, the queer community, and individuals use digital tools to secure and disseminate their stories. This leads to a fragmentation of memories, which can also question state-curated memories.

Digitalization of Memory in China

Group of workshop attendants
Group of Workshop attendants

Prof. Dr. Paul Basu, University of Bonn
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bao Hongwei, University of Nottingham
Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher, University of Bonn
Dr. Florence Graezer Bideau, École Polytechnique
Fédérale de Lausanne
Dr. Melissa Shani Brown, University of Bochum
Prof. Dr. Jeroen de Kloet, University of Amsterdam
Prof. Dr. Lewis Doney, University of Bonn
Dr. Hu Xihuan, Zhejiang University
Prof. Dr. Margaret Hillenbrand, University of Oxford
Ian Johnson, Council on Foreign Relations
Lydia Leipert, Bavarian Broadcasting
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Liu Jun, University of Copenhagen
Prof. Dr. Li Hongtao, Zhejiang University
Prof. Dr. Josef Gregory Mahoney, East China Normal University
Vivien Markert, University of Tübingen
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Maximilian Mayer, University of Bonn
Dr. David O’Brien, University of Bochum
Asst. Prof. Dr. Lena Scheen, NYU Shanghai
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schlie, University of Bonn
Frederik Schmitz, University of Bonn
Wang Linjie, University College London
Prof. Dr. Yang Guobin, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Maysson Zein Al Din, Academy of International Affairs NRW

Further information

In cooperation with TRA (University of Bonn), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Academy of International Affairs NRW and the Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen.

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