Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Workshop Commodification of History

Workshop: Commodification of History

The Past as Source of Entertainment and Commerce

14. - 15. September 2018
Venue: DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Poupetova 1, Prague 7
Organizer: Imre Kertész Kolleg, USTR Prague

In a globalizing world, references to the past as a way of identity formation have become more and more important. Even though the “production” of history is the major field of academic historiography, the past is addressed in many popular contexts that are consumed and appropriated by immense numbers of people. Though the forms in which history is brought to life differ widely, most of them have one feature in common: they promise the distribution of knowledge via entertainment and this is what makes them so popular.

Producing history outside academia is often reduced to discussing history as business und forms of “marketing the past” have been criticized in academic discourse. Fears of standardization and a loss of diversity are being voiced in this critical evaluation. The workshop will address some of the emerging questions in this context: how exactly history is being used in different national contexts and commercial settings, and how the past is being transformed into history with a special commercial interest. Papers will focus on a variety of cases across Central and Eastern Europe, from the uses of historical sites for entertainment and consumption, to the uses of social media travel platforms for co-creating historical places and meaning, to representations of the past in private museums, to the re-branding and marketization of the past in cities and towns.

Thus putting the spotlight on the commodification of history, the workshop provides a space for exchange of scholars who analyse these phenomena aiming to foster further conceptual thinking in an emerging interdisciplinary field.  

The workshop is a cooperation between the Imre Kertész Kolleg, Jena and the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague (ÚSTR).