Memory Laws in European and Comparative Perspectives


Project Summary

The MELA project’s aim is to examine memory laws throughout Europe and the world.

Memory laws enshrine state-approved interpretations of crucial historical events. They commemorate the victims of past atrocities, as well as heroic individuals or events emblematic of national and social movements. They date back centuries and continue to spread throughout Europe and the world.

The team is comprised of researchers from four countries.

In Sanskrit, the word mela means ‘meeting’ or ‘gathering’. That image recalls the pan-European role of memory laws, but also elicits a paradox. State-constructed memory ‘gathers’ citizens under a mantel of symbolic unity, yet, in a multicultural society, precariously threatens that unity.

The project asks the following questions:

  • When do memory laws conflict with values of democratic citizenship, political pluralism or fundamental human rights?
  • Are the punitive laws inevitably abusive?
  • Are the non-punitive ones mostly benign?
  • Are there optimal ways for states to propagate historical memory?

Prof. Eric Heinze

Project Leader

Queen Mary University of London
United Kingdom


Project Partners

Prof. Eric Heinze

Project Leader

Queen Mary University of London
United Kingdom

Email

Dr Uladzislau Belavusau

University of Amsterdam
Netherlands

Email

Dr Emanuela Fronza

University of Bologna
Italy

Email

Dr Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias

Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Poland

Email

  • Queen Mary University of London

    Queen Mary University of London

    Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, United Kingdom

  • University of Amsterdam

    University of Amsterdam

    De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • University of Bologna

    University of Bologna

    Via Calepina, 14, 38122 Trento TN, Italy

  • Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences

    Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences

    ul. Nowy Swiat 72, 00-330 Warszawa, Poland