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Democratic Memories in Global Perspective

Learn more about the different approaches to democratic collective memory in the construction of a global democratic history

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
4 December 2023- 28 March 2024

Democracy as an ideal form of government was interpreted and realized differently across time in various parts of the world. Every attempt to establish democratic institutions in countries or world regions, their relative success, forms of organization and basis of stability, as well as the threats against them, are part of a global democratic history, which connects interpretations of the past with present experiences and future aspirations. In this context, democratic collective memory plays a central role. It shapes history, creates cultures of remembrance and memory sites in museums, memorials and archives, and awakes moral emotions across generations, influencing political and rule making decisions.

In this course, the topic of democratic collective memories will be discussed from an international and transdisciplinary perspective, including psychology, law, political science, history, sociology, education, archeology and cultural studies. Fostering cooperation within the CIVIS network, this course aims to make students aware that global democratic issues do not have simple solutions and demand cooperation between different academic specializations and multiple stakeholders. Moreover, the contact with researchers and students from different countries where democratic memories are dealt with differently, will support the development of critical thinking, opening new possibilities for international agreements as well as European and global solutions.

Main topics addressed

The formation of national democracies, the national framing of collective memories and their tensions with other collectivities as migrants, ethnic minorities, women, etc. in the formation of collective identities.

  • Anti-colonial, postcolonial and decolonial democratization processes, including the relationship between both ex-colonial powers and the independent countries.
  • Memories of totalitarianism, group-based moral emotions across generations, and the current shaping of democracy.
  • Fundaments of comparative law, human rights and democratic social movements.

Learning outcomes

Students will enhance their critical knowledge on democratic collective memories from the perspective of different disciplines. More precisely:

  • Skills in participating in transdisciplinary debates on democratic collective memories and their relationship with concrete issues faced by museums, memorials, archives and other memory sites.
  • A variety of methodological skills on collecting and analyzing different kinds of data.
  • Critical thinking on democratic collective memories, reflecting on its main challenges and solutions.
  • Skills in working in international teams to solve common problems.


Dates: 4 December 2023- 28 March 2024 Language: English (B2)
Location: Tübingen, Germany ECTS: 3*
Format: Blended Workload: 83 hours

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. 

Physical mobility

The physical mobility part will be running from 24 March 2024 to 28 March 2024 in Tübingen.

The second phase of the course will take place in Tübingen. Students will attend to a series of lectures and visit museums, memorials and memory sites in and around Tübingen: National Socialism, Jewish History and Remembrance Culture in Tübingen, Linden Museum in Stuttgart, Eckerwald Memorial, Concentration Camp Cemetery Schörzingen, Concentration Camp Cemetery and Learning Site Schömberg, Museum and Concentration Camp Memorial in Bisingen. They will reflect on their experiences and continue developing their group projects. By the end of the week, they will present their projects and receive feedback from lecturers.

Virtual part

The virtual part will be running from 4 December 2023 to 4 March 2024 .

In the first phase of the course, students will attend virtual lectures on a variety of theoretical perspectives about global democratic collective memories. They will have access to a room in the CIVIS Moodle platform, where they can access all material provided by the lecturers to prepare for their online lectures. Besides attending these lectures, students will have the opportunity to discuss relevant topics in the forum to prepare their research projects in groups and get acquainted with the program of the event in Tübingen, preparing themselves to the second phase.

Programm (Mondays, 14.00-16.00 CET, online)

  • 04 December 2023 - Introduction and lecture: ‘Common themes in the transdisciplinary field of Memory Studies: The trouble with national borders’ with Floor van Alphen (UAM), Laura Beck (UAM) and Glaucia Peres da Silva (UT)
  • 11 December 2023 - Lecture: ‘Archeological approaches to dark sides of conflicts from the 20th century’ with Lukas Werther (UT)
  • 18 December 2023 - Follow-up discussions with Floor van Alphen (UAM), Laura Beck (UAM) and Glaucia Peres da Silva (UT)
  • 15 Jan 2024 - Lecture: ‘Social psychological approaches to collective memories of colonialism’ with Laurent Licata (ULB)
  • 22 Jan 2024 - Lecture: ‘Interrogating national narratives about the troubled colonial past in Spain’ with César López (UAM)
  • 29 Jan 2024 - Follow-up discussions with Floor van Alphen (UAM), Laura Beck (UAM) and Glaucia Peres da Silva (UT)
  • 05 Feb 2024 - Lecture: ‘Public opinion and memories of conflicts of the past’ with Irene Martín (UAM)
  • 12 Feb 2024 - Lecture: ‘Holocaust, evil and collective responsibility’ with Cristina Sánchez (UAM)
  • 19 Feb 2024 - Follow-up discussions, wrap-up session, next steps with Floor van Alphen (UAM), Laura Beck (UAM) and Glaucia Peres da Silva (UT)


This course is open to Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD students at CIVIS member universities enrolled in the following fields of study: Psychology, Law, Political Sciences, History, Archeology, Modern Literature, Communication, Education, Cultural Studies, Sociology, or any other fields related.

This course is open for students from all disciplines who are interested in the topic attested through these aspects:

(a) personal engagement in civil society organizations linked to democratic collective memories issues,

(b) attendance to courses on democratic collective memories,

(c) attendance to conferences on democratic collective memories,

(d) own research (including Bachelor, Master or PhD thesis),

(e) future academic / professional perspectives.

A level B2 in English and any other documents that prove the interest in the topic are also desired.

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

This course is also open to students with the same academic profile, who are enrolled at a CIVIS strategic partner university in Africa. Please check here, if you can apply and this particular course is open to applications from your university. Successful applicants will receive an Erasmus+ grant covering travel and subsistence costs during their stay. Applicants should be willing to extend their stay at the host university for 1-3 weeks for additional research and/or training purposes.

Application process

Interested students should apply by filling in the online application form by 30 September 2023. 

Students will be selected based on the following criteria: CV and motivation letter.

Apply here


In order to receive the certificate of attendance and the 3 ECTS credits related to this course, students are required to undertake the following mandatory activities:

  • Attend at least 75% of the lessons during the introductory phase
  • Elaborate a research project to be submitted at the end of the virtual phase
  • Attend at least 75% of the lessons during the physical phase
  • Present the results of their research projects at the end of the physical phase

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Laura Beck Varela is Associate Professor of History of Law at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid since 2013. She has studied in Porto Alegre, Seville and Frankfurt am Main. She has worked and published on the history of property law, gender history, book and censorship studies, and is interested in the role of democratic memory in legal education.

Ignacio Brescó de Luna is Assistant Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain) and external researcher at the Aalborg University Centre for Cultural Psychology (Denmark), where he was postdoc researcher and Associate Professor until 2021. He visited Cambridge University (UK), University of Brasilia (Brazil), the Georg Eckert Institut (Germany) and Kyushu University (Japan) for his research, centering on collective memory, national identity, grief and the experience of memorial sites. He edited the books: The Road to Actualized Democracy (2018), Memory in the Wild (2020), Remembering as a Cultural Process (2019). In 2020 he received the Grífols Foundation bio-ethic grant.

Attila Dézsi is BA in Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology, with a minor on Gender Studies, and MA in Prehistoric Archaeology. They are pursuing a doctorate in Contemporary Archaeology, using the Free Republic of Wendland as a case study and employing a community approach to better understand the heritage of this protest site of the 1980’s anti-nuclear movement. As research assistant at the heritage office (Landesamt für Denkmalpflege), they research former sites of Nazi concentration camps and forced labor in Baden-Württemberg, and at the University of Tübingen they study the archaeological remains and heritage of a far-right utopian settlement by German antisemites in 19th century Paraguay.

Vangelis Karamanolakis is Associate Professor in Theory and History of Historiography at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA). He is also President of the Historical Archive (NKUA) and President of the Society’s Board of Directors of the Contemporary Social History Archives. He has taught at the universities of Crete, Athens, Panteion (Greece). He has published several books and articles about theory of history, Greek historiography, memory studies, history of dictatorship (1967-1974), history of institutions, archival research and psychiatric institutions. His last book is about the destruction of the files of social convictions in Greece (2019).

Raphael Kupczik is representative of the Tübingen Students’ Union.

Pieter Lagrou teaches contemporary history at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He has worked and published on the legacy of war, war crime trials and international justice, public history and the history of nationalism and national languages. He has studied and taught in Leuven, Yale, Firenze, Aix-en-Provence and Paris.

Dimitra Lampropoulou is Assistant Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of History and Archaeology. Her research and teaching interests concern social and cultural history, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, youth, work, welfare, voluntary action, social movements and memory. She has published books and articles on twentieth century Greek social history and oral history. She is a member of the Contemporary Social History Archives (Athens), the Association of Oral History in Greece, the Cultural and Intellectual History Society (Athens), the European Labour History Network and the research network “Who Cares in Europe?” Cost Action 18119.

Giovanna Leone is Full Professor of Social Psychology at Sapienza Università di Roma (Italy). She is full member of several national and international academic associations, including AIP (Italian Association of Psychology), EASP (European Association of Social Psychology), ISPP (International Society of Political Psychology) and Member of the Board of several national and international journals, including the Italian Journal of Community Psychology, the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, the Personality and Social Psychology specialty section of Frontiers in Psychology. She published more than 200 chapters, books, essays, and research articles. Her more recent research explores the role of historical consciousness in reconciliation processes. 

Laurent Licata is Professor of Social and Cultural Psychology at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. His current research interests are (1) the interplay between collective memories (or social representations of history), social identities and intergroup relation processes, with a focus on colonialism and collective victimhood, and 2) acculturation processes of people with immigrant background. He chaired the COST Action IS1205 « Social psychological dynamics of historical representations in the enlarged European Union » (2012-2016). From 2016 to 2020, he was the Vice-rector in charge of academic policy, career development, and gender and diversity policies at Université libre de Bruxelles.

Cesar Lopez is Associate Professor in the Department of Basic Psychology at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain). He earned a Ph.D. in Psychology at the same university (2012). He has been a visiting scholar at several universities in the United States (Harvard University, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts Boston) and Europe (Institute of Education, London, and Erasmus University Rotterdam). His main research interests are collective memory and identity, narrative thinking, collective emotions, historical thinking, and history learning in schools and popular culture.

Irene Martín Cortés teaches Political Sciences at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She coordinates the research project “Polarization around historical memory in Spain: distribution and factors that affect its intensification” (2021-2024) and was coordinator at UAM of the Horizon Project H2020 “REPAST – Revisiting the Past, Anticipating the Future – Strengthening European Integration through the Analysis of Conflict Discourses” (2018-2021). She is currently Vicerrector of International Relations at the UAM. Her research interests are the political culture and participation in Spain and Greece, education for citizenship and how young people relate with politics.

Glaucia Peres da Silva is sociologist, specialized in globalization and cross-border processes. Her PhD in economic sociology focused on the formation of global markets, analyzing the case of the world music market. At the University of Tübingen, she is responsible for the development of the Global Awareness Education with focus on the Humanities and Social Sciences. The focus of her work is the inter- and transdisciplinary teaching on globalization, international networking and development of transfer projects.

Cristina Sánchez is Professor of Philosophy of Law at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, known for being among the first to publish on Hannah Arendt in Spanish. She has worked on the problem of contemporary evil and the Holocaust, authoring books including Cartografías del mal, Plaza y Valdés (2017) and Confrontando el mal, Siglo del Hombre (2018). In recent years, she has worked on evil from a gender perspective; mass violence, specifically sexual violence, against women in wars, collaborating with researchers from Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Germany and Croatia. Her latest publications are Violencias de género: Entre la guerra y la paz (2021) and La agenda de Mujer, paz y seguridad (2022).

Bacary Sarr is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal. He is director of studies at the Higher Institute of Arts and Cultures (ISAC) at the same university. His book Imaginaire de l´insolite et problématique identitaire dans lettres belges francophones. Un nouveau fantastique? (2021, Liège University Press) was finalist for the Grand Prix d´Histoire de la Littérature of the Royal Academy of Belgian Language and Literature. He is now preparing the book An Archeology of Slavery Memory in Transatlantic Literature, that will appear in May 2024.

Floor van Alphen is Assistant Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, after receiving a research fellowship through the Madrid Research Talent Attraction Programme in 2018. From 2012 to 2018 she investigated the appropriation of master narratives among high-school students in Argentina, with a Argentine National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) doctoral and postdoctoral scholarship. Currently, her cultural psychological research focuses on collective memory, addressing students’ cultural diversity and their manifold constructions of the past. Recently, she has published with Brady Wagoner in Memory Studies, and edited the book Reproducing, Rethinking, Resisting National Narratives (2022) with Ignacio Brescó de Luna.

Lukas Werther did his PhD and his Habilitation in Archaeology at Jena University. After a research stay at University College London, he worked as Visiting Professor at Tübingen University. Currently, he is Deputy Director of the Romano Germanic Institute within the German Archaeological Institute. He is a historical archaeologist with a focus on social inequality, historic environments and landscapes, including landscapes of terror and violence. Among his recent publications Nazi shale oil and forced labour. Interpreting surface finds from a shale oil plant of „Unternehmen Wüste“ (1944/45) in Wurttemberg, Germany. In: Beiträge zur Mittelalterarchäologie in Österreich. Beiheft (in press).