The cultural dynamics of former camps poses a challenge in the growing research on ˜heritagescapes”(Garden 2006) and processes of heritage designation. Key campscapes across Europe whose meanings are often used, misused and abused provide the background for an innovative critical analysis and perspective on “terrorscapes” (Laarse 2014). Since these present, interpret and educate on violent pasts and ideologies of the 20th century, such heritage sites influence the notions of the past in memorial knowledge and practice. Competing stories and visibility of pre-war anti-fascist refugees, political communist prisoners, the Romani community, forced labourers, collaboration and opposition, or the growing transnational norms of the totalitarianism perspective and “double occupation” are both determined and expressed by such spaces.
As many sites of former political violence have been preserved and co-opted as warnings and warrants for the nation state and have recently been recovered in new political narratives of EU enlargement and ongoing negotiations around boundaries in and of Europe, it is proper to consider them now from the perspective of Europe as a dynamic transnational historical and social space, through competing memories, politics of recognition and often disjunctive regional, national and transnational interpretations. Aiming to investigate these sites and museum contexts based on new, reflexive strategies, the project sets out to broaden new means of transmission of knowledge which are necessary if the contemporary public relevance of these sites is to be highlighted. It thus considers their history through unexplored methodologies for conflicted sites (forensic archaeology, critical oral history and memory studies). Furthering debates regarding designations and validations of heritage, research conducted within iC-ACCESS also joins the growing field of debate on the ethical and social meanings of “reconstructing” and making heritage of political violence available virtually.
We enjoy the support of our advisory board: prof. i. R. Dr. Dr. h.c. Aleida Assmann, Universität Konstanz, prof. Eyal Weizman, Goldsmiths, University of London, prof. dr. Robert Jan van Pelt, University of Waterloo, prof. dr. Alexander Etkind, European University Institute