Circus workers vs Paris: How a small community memorial threatened Paris's monumental visions

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract / Description of output

My paper tells the forgotten story of the Memorial for the Fallen Circus Workers in Paris to show the broader picture of the interwar memory politics which shaped the present urban landscape and memorialscape of the French capital city. The interwar memory of WWI in Paris was controlled by political and military leadership, which intentionally attempted to keep the narratives of a "real war" (loss, suffering, injury) or power-challenging narratives (pacifism, communism) away from the capital to prevent more instability in this politically responsive community.
The impact of this practice is visible in the Parisian cityscape and memorialscape. These memory politics resulted in commemorative places created for commanders and state leaders within the city and dismissed the counter-memories of the bereaved or veterans. These commemorative places were strategically located in the city, forming a military memory axis within the capital connecting memory districts and cross-cutting the community remembrance.
What happens when a smaller community plans to commemorate its fallen within the military axis of the city? How does location within the city affect memory? Who are the stakeholders in the debate? The paper tells the story of the conflict between a small commune bordering Paris and the city's governance over the valuable plain of Porte Maillot. It defines three problems with the proposed community memorial - audience, design, and location- while revealing why these components contrasted Paris's great memory political ambitions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2023
EventSeventh Annual Conference of the Memory Studies Association. , at Newcastle University from 4 July 2023.: ‘Communities and Change’ - Newcastle, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jul 20237 Jul 2023
Conference number: 7
https://www.memorystudiesassociation.org/conference-newcastle-2023-announcement/

Conference

ConferenceSeventh Annual Conference of the Memory Studies Association. , at Newcastle University from 4 July 2023.
Abbreviated titleMSA 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityNewcastle
Period3/07/237/07/23
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • WWI
  • memory studies
  • Paris

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