Nationalism and Memory The ASEN Conference 2024 University of Edinburgh 9th to 11th April A strip of the University of Edinburgh Tartan with a semi-circular cut-out on the left hand side with the purple ASEN logo


The plenary speakers at the conference are, in alphabetical order by surname, Lea David, Jeffrey K Olick, and Anastasiya Pshenychnykh.

Lea David

A headshot of Lea DavidAbstract

The memories of the past events became dominant, ever-present and inseparable from ‘here and now’. While we talk about the ‘memory boom’ in the late 20 th century, what we are experiencing currently, is whole new infrastructures and network connections that form Memory-Verse. Memory-Verse refers to the infinite simultaneous linkages of the fragmented memories that are screened onto the present. This is gradually becoming one of the most important organizing principles of the contemporary society. In this lecture, I talk about how we got here and what the consequences of Memory-Verse to social organizations are.


Lea David is an Assistant Professor at the School of Sociology, University College Dublin. Her work examines the globalization of human rights and memory politics, and their impact on nationalist ideologies in post and in-conflict settings. Her main research and teaching interests cover the interconnectedness of sociology of human rights and memory politics, nationalism and nation-state; human-object relations; ideology; solidarity; historical sociology; qualitative research methods; the Holocaust/Genocide nexus; the Balkan and the Israeli/Palestinian conflicts. She has held various postdoc fellowships including a fellowship in Holocaust Studies, the Fulbright Fellowship, the prestigious Jonathan Shapira fellowship at
Tel Aviv University, the Israeli Council fellowship for outstanding scholars, and a Marie Curie Research Fellowship at the School of Sociology at UCD. Her book manuscript “The Past Can’t Heal Us! The Dangers of Mandating Memory in the Name of Human Rights” published with Cambridge University Press (2020) was shortlisted for the Memory Studies Association best book award, and was awarded the Honourable Mention for the 2021 ASA Sociology of Human Rights Gordon Hirabayashi Award.

Read more about Lea at UCD.

Jeffrey K Olick


This talk will explore the assertion that, when it comes to collective memory, the United States has been exceptional in comparison to many other nations.  In particular, it will inquire into both the structures of that exceptionalism, and reasons for its recent change.


Jeffrey K. Olick is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and History at the University of Virginia. Jeff is also past president of the Memory Studies Association. He has published widely on collective memory, critical theory, transitional justice, and postwar Germany, among other topics, including trauma, tragedy, and theodicy, along with the history of sociological theory. With Stefan Berger (Bochum), he is editor of A Cultural History of Memory, 6 vols,, published by Bloomsbury. Forthcoming books include In the Grip of the Past and The Mnemonic Turn, both with Oxford UP. With Astrid Erll (Frankfurt), he is also editor of the new book series, Studies in Collective Memory (also OUP).

Read more about Jeffrey at UVa.

Anastasiya Pshenychnykh

A headshot of Anastasia PshenychnychAbstract

The talk is an exploration of memory wars – disagreements over the past – shaking Ukraine since 2013, which took the form of battles over monuments in physical and media spaces. It aims at understanding shifts in Ukrainian national identity underpinned by revisioning Ukrainian past in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The first part of the presentation draws on documentary films and interviews with Ukrainian elites’ representatives to examine the internal tensions over Ukraine’s history and identity between pro-EU and pro-Russian supporters since the eruption of anti-governmental protests in Kyiv in 2013 and the Revolution of Dignity of 2014. This period is marked by the phenomenon of Leninfall – a wave of toppling and destroying statues of Lenin in Ukraine – which started as a public disapproval of President Yanukovych’s refusal to sign the Association Agreement with the EU and spun up with subsequent Russia’s occupation of the Ukrainian Crimea and Ukrainian eastern territories. The second part of the talk explores the international Russian-Ukrainian conflict over interpreting historical periods/events/figures since the full-scale Russia’s invasion in Ukraine in 2022, which translated into digital memory wars on pro-/Ukrainian vs pro-/Russian social media. The years of 2022–2023 are distinguished by the movement of decolonization/de-Russification in Ukraine – cleaning Ukrainian spaces from the traces of not only the Soviet era but also of imperial one, when parts of Ukraine were under the Russian Empire’s reign. Emerged as a reaction to Russian aggression, this movement becomes a unifying force in Ukraine to combat Russian imperial narratives propagated via pro-/Russian media, as well as via reinstalling Soviet monuments on Ukrainian occupied territories and damaging/destroying monuments representing Ukrainian historical figures by Russian armed forces.


Anastasiya Pshenychnykh is Academic Visitor in Communication and Media division within the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Loughborough University on Council for At-Risk Academics support scheme. From 2015 till 2022, Dr Pshenychnykh held the position of Associate Professor at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in Ukraine, English Philology Department, where she lectured Media Communications and Multimodal Media Analysis. 

Anastasiya’s scientific interests are cognitive, discursive, memory and media studies, multimodal linguistics, the theory of image and perspectives. She has been a researcher of international projects on media – Philosophy and Media project, Higher Education Support Program (2010-2012), Crisis, Conflict and Critical Diplomacy: EU Perceptions in Ukraine and Israel/Palestine (2015-2018), Contested Narratives of Climate Change: Algorithmic Flows and Human Interactions on YouTube (2018) by National Centre for Research on Europe, New Zealand, Contested Heritage. A Multilevel Analysis of the Securitization of Heritage and its Challenges for EU and UN Actorness at Faculty of Arts, KU Leuven, Belgium (2022) and others. At the moment, Anastasiya is researching on the topics of Contested heritage in Ukraine: digital memory wars over monuments on Ukrainian and Crimean Telegram channels and Contested memory in Ukraine and Russia: audience’s receptiveness and perspectives in the context of the ongoing Russian Ukrainian conflict.

Read more about Anastasiya at Loughborough.

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