State commemoration in a digital world

RGS-IBG 2017: London, 29 Aug-1 Sep 

Convenor: Shanti Sumartojo, RMIT University

Deadline for abstracts: 10 February 2017


This session considers how new ways of understanding the relationship amongst memory, state-sponsored history and national identity might be possible in a digital world. In particular, it seeks to explore the role of social media and digital technology at memory sites and during commemorative events. This includes the forms and articulations of memory that the digital can enable, the publics that might be reached, and whether particular affective intensities can be brought into being by or through digital technologies.


Papers are invited that consider different aspects of the politics and experiences of state commemoration with reference to its articulation in or transformation by the digital world. This includes research about the digital – including digital technologies, social media or new forms of representing the past – and research undertaken using new digital methodologies. Given the 2014-18 centenary period, papers focused on First World War commemorative activities are of particular interest. Topics might include:


·      The affective and atmospheric potential of digital technologies to shape the meaning of official commemorative events;

·      Social media, identity politics and the circulation of affects at moments of national crisis or tension;

·      The use of digital technologies at state-sponsored memory sites, including social media, and the effect they have on official narrative and/or visitors’ experiences;

·      How digital technologies might shape understandings of state histories, and what alternate rendering of these histories might be enabled;

·      New ways of deploying digital technologies in research on collective memory and commemoration.


The format of the session will be 4-5 short papers of around 15-20 minutes (depending on submissions).  Please forward proposed paper titles and abstracts of no more than 300 words to by Friday 10 February 2017. This session is sponsored by the Digital Geographies Working Group.

Dr Shanti Sumartojo

Research Fellow
Digital Ethnography Research Centre
School of Media and Communication

RMIT University
GPO Box 2476
Melbourne VIC 3001