In recent years, aided by new media and communication technologies, challenges to conventional understandings of World War II narratives at heritage sites have emerged, some of which include underrepresented voices and experiences related to the war that can enrich our understanding of this history, as well as others that manipulate historical facts and spread disinformation that perpetuates bias and discrimination.
Under these circumstances, Sites of Conscience and other cultural and heritage sites are perfectly positioned to spark community dialogue that amplifies marginalized voices, assesses the damaging strands of revisionism, and promotes truth-telling – leveraging the lessons of the past to foster free, just and democratic societies. By recognizing all victims of the war and engendering compassion and new understandings of shared values across diverse audiences, these sites contribute to a deeper understanding of World War II and its contemporary legacies.
To highlight best practices and deepen the role of memory and heritage sites in the promotion of more inclusive narratives and the countering of revisionist narratives of World War II, the Institute of International Studies at Seoul National University and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience are hosting Countering Revisionism: Engaging New Generations in Memory, Truth and Justice around World War II Heritage, an international conference at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City on July 7, 2022. The event will be accessible to a limited number of in-person guests and press, and accessible to all through a livestream.
The day-long event will feature presentations by international experts on WWII heritage issues and representatives of Sites of Conscience and other cultural and heritage sites in four continents that share underrepresented narratives related to WWII, offer strategies to promote more inclusive histories for future generations, and provide tools to counter historical revisionism. In addition, a roundtable discussion with youth from around the world will explore the importance of war heritage, the power of memory, and the ways that youth can take leadership roles in continuing these vital conversations. Videos from Sites of Conscience in ten countries will also be shown, each sharing reflections from youth about the role these heritage and memory sites can play in countering revisionism.
Given the recent rise of neo-Nazis around the globe, as well as challenges posed by new media which has made the manipulation of historical facts and the spread disinformation that perpetuates bias and discrimination extremely prevalent, the conference will highlight strategies that heritage sites can adopt to combat these destructive trends and amplify underrepresented voices and experiences related to the war that can enrich our understanding of this history.
The conference’s agenda can be found here.