Memory, Guilt and Shame
International Interdisciplinary Conference  University of Gdańsk, Poland

26-27 March 2020

Deadline for Proposals: 31 January 2020


Organizer:  InMind Support


Scientific Committee: Prof. Wojciech Owczarski – University of Gdańsk, Poland; Dr. Katarzyna Kręglewska – University of Gdańsk, Poland; Dr. Ricardo Rato Rodrigues – Jagiellonian University, Poland



The 20th century – an epoch of genocides – will be forever associated with feelings of guilt and shame. And it is not only the case of perpetrators. People are still ashamed of their ancestors and of the members of their nations, societies or families. Those who suffered from crimes and cruelties often experience survivor guilt, a mysterious phenomenon that psychotherapists try to tame. The status of bystanders is nowadays more and more often called into question, as it became clear that remaining “neutral” in the face of violence and atrocities was simply impossible. At the same time, many of both the victims and executioners make efforts to forget about the past events and repress the uncomfortable emotions. Others forget the facts involuntarily. Yet others cultivate false memories of what never occurred. Politicians impose their own narratives of history, with the hope of re-shaping the common convictions and achieving their short-sighted goals. Therefore, researchers dealing with memory studies of various kinds aim at explaining the complex relations of facts and phantasms, real and imagined guilt, justified and irrational shame.

On the other hand, modern societies seem to exist in the realm of complete shamelessness. More and more people reveal the hallmarks of narcissistic personality. They do not care about protecting their privacy. On the contrary, they are proud of exposing as much as possible from their intimate life. Exhibitionistic behaviors appear to be predominant traits of those who want to capture others’ attention.

These and other factors provoke us to concentrate on the themes of memory, guilt and shame – in the present-day world as well as in the past. We want to describe these phenomena in their multifarious aspects: psychological, social, historical, cultural, philosophical, religious, political, and many others. We also want to devote considerable attention to how these issues appear in artistic practices: literature, film, theatre or visual arts. That is why we invite researchers representing various academic disciplines: anthropology, history, psychology, psychoanalysis, psychiatry, sociology, politics, philosophy, literary studies, theatre studies, film studies, memory studies, consciousness studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, medical sciences, cognitive sciences, and others.

Different forms of presentations are encouraged, including case studies, theoretical investigations, problem-oriented arguments, and comparative analyses.

We will be happy to hear from both experienced scholars and young academics at the start of their careers, as well as doctoral students. We also invite all persons interested in participating in the conference as listeners, without giving a presentation.

Our repertoire of suggested topics includes but is not restricted to:


1. Guilt, shame and genocides

Victims’ shame

Perpetrators’ shame

Survivor guilt

Inherited guilt


Guilt repression

Distorted memories



2. Guilt and shame in social life

Shame and nationalism

Shame and xenophobia

Shame and colonialism

Shame and racism

White guilt

Shame and anti-Semitism

Shame and infamy


Guilt and Anthropocene

Guilt and gender

Guilt and LGBT

Guilt-free consumption

Guilt appeal in commercials


3. Guilt and shame in politics

Guilt and propaganda

Shame and pride

Shame and “historical policy”

Shameless politicians

Guilt and political correctness


4. Guilt and shame in interpersonal relationships

Shame and love

Shame and intimacy

Shame and eroticism

Shame and privacy


Parents’ guilt

Children’s guilt

Caregivers’ guilt


5. Pathology and therapy

Guilt complex

Guilt and suicide

Shame and narcissism

Shame and exhibitionism

Guilt and shame in psychotherapeutic treatment

Shame in psychoanalysis


6. Guilt and shame in religions

Guilt and sin

Guilt and confession

Guilt and absolution

Guilt and condemnation

Crimes committed in the name of God

Guilt and shame in the Catholic Church


7. Representation of guilt and shame



Visual arts


The media


Please submit abstracts (no longer than 300 words) of your proposed 20-minute presentations, together with a short biographical note, by 31 JANUARY 2020 to: