Multidirectional memory &
reparative public humanities

Key Ideas and Aims
Multidirectional Memory & 
Long-Distance Solidarity
M4F combines the collaborative study of representations of the interlinked histories of colonialism, slavery, and genocide with the development of curatorial skills and public educational projects. Our aim is to collaborate with local institutions and initiatives to facilitate reparative memorial practices in and around St. Louis.

We want to intervene in public debates about the ethics of memory and ways to acknowledge and productively work with the legacies of problematic pasts to help create a more just and equitable society. We believe that finding new ways to confront the history and memory of the Holocaust, genocide, slavery, colonialism, and other instances of systematic and mass violence is imperative as contemporary societies in the US and elsewhere continue to grapple with lasting injustices and inequalities that reflect past systems of exclusion and violence.

The Studiolab draws on work on historical trauma the faculty organizers have undertaken and explores the analytic and reparative leverage we can gain by engaging the similarities and differences of these histories and legacies. We draw especially on Michael Rothberg's concept of "multidirectional memory" to tease out the ways in which collective memories of seemingly distinct histories – the legacies of anti-Black violence in the US, of the Nazi genocide of European Jewry, and of the colonial logics and regimes that shaped the Americas – overlap and intersect. We believe that “reading” across these cases can contribute to forms of “long-distance solidarity” across time, space, and various identity formations.
Reparative Public Humanities: 
Memory Workshops & Projects
Our approach to reparative public humanities is inspired by the “history workshop” movements designed to facilitate more participatory, inclusive, and transformative interventions in history and memory. We utilize the framework of public history as a form of engaged humanities scholarship that has the capacity to make these interventions.

Often facilitated by political activists, freelance historians and others committed to social change, history workshops focused on studying local history, down to the neighborhood level, disrupting hierarchies of expertise, and on making plain the connections between historical processes and contemporary life to understand and counter structures of inequality and marginalization.

M4F Workshops will generate a series of public programs and resources. Studiolab teams will collaborate with community partners on projects culminating in public-engaging activities, exhibitions,  programs, and other interventions. We will host public conversations between scholars, activists, creatives, curators, archivists, students, and others in the Studiolab space, as well as film screenings, exhibitions, and other programs. These will facilitate multi-directional memory, including the difficult yet necessary dialogue between different local constituencies, and feed back into project planning and development.

More about M4F Projects