The 9/11 Legacy: “History is Not Was, History Is”
National September 11 Memorial & Museum, June 15-16, 2017
This past September, thousands of family members gathered at the 9/11 Memorial to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 2001. At this site, the effects of that day are still obvious: memorial fountains where the Twin Towers once stood, the steady drone of construction on surrounding projects still underway, rebuilding the devastation left behind, and two large steel tridents that once formed part of the external façade of the North Tower visible through the windows of the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s entry pavilion. Here, the effects of terror are evident. Here, to quote Pope Francis on his own visit to the site in 2015, “grief is palpable.”
This conference, to be held at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on the former World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, will explore the broader legacy of 9/11. This was the most globally witnessed event in history and one that led to the longest war in the history of the United States. What, then, are the legacies that ripple out from the memorial fountains across the city, the country, and the globe? As William Faulkner observed, “History is not was, history is.” How has the event of 9/11 reverberated in our understanding of the past and in more contemporary social, political, and cultural life; in the economy, in war and peace, surveillance and security, the geopolitics of the Middle East, the refugee crisis and in the debates over identity, memory and sacred space? What historical processes might we trace – either backwards or forwards – from September 11, 2001? What news headlines can we connect to 9/11 in meaningful and instructive ways: Paris, Orlando, Istanbul, the Arab Spring, Aleppo, the death of Syrian refugee child Alan Kurdi, Edward Snowden, Russia, the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the list goes on…
We especially seek papers that draw on the intersections between these topics and themes in order to explore the ways in which they might (or might not be) traced back to, or through, 9/11. Do they have a narrative coherence shaped by the forces created that day in September? Or do they operate outside the event, as part of some other inevitable geopolitical shift that we now know only by that name-date even if that shift might have happened anyway?
We invite paper and panel proposals from scholars who can speak to the conference theme. We also seek contributions from practitioners, museum professionals and graduate students. Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and CV to the conference organizers (Dr. Andrew Hammond and Dr. Lindsay Balfour) at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1, 2017. Panel proposals should include an additional abstract for the theme of the panel. Some financial assistance will be available to help offset the cost of attendance. Selected papers may be included in a follow-up edited volume/special edition.
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