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Agency in Transnational Memory Politics
Wüstenberg, J. & Sierp, A. (eds)
The dynamics of transnational memory play a central role in modern politics, from postsocialist efforts at transitional justice to the global legacies of colonialism. Yet, the relatively young subfield of transnational memory studies remains underdeveloped and fractured across numerous disciplines, even as nascent, boundary-crossing theories on topics such as multi-vocal, traveling, or entangled remembrance suggest new ways of negotiating difficult political questions. This volume brings together theoretical and practical considerations to provide transnational memory scholars with an interdisciplinary investigation into agency—the “who” and the “how” of cross-border commemoration that motivates activists and fascinates observers.
Subjects: History (General) Sociology Memory Studies
Blurring Timescapes, Subverting Erasure
Remembering Ghosts on the Margins of History
Surface-Evans, S., Garrison, A. E. & Supernant, K. (eds)
What happens when we blur time and allow ourselves to haunt or to become haunted by ghosts of the past? Drawing on archaeological, historical, and ethnographic data, Blurring Timescapes, Subverting Erasure demonstrates the value of conceiving of ghosts not just as metaphors, but as mechanisms for making the past more concrete and allowing the negative specters of enduring historical legacies, such as colonialism and capitalism, to be exorcised.
Borders of Belonging
Experiencing History, War and Nation at a Danish Heritage Site
In an era cross-cut with various agendas and expressions of national belonging and global awareness, “the nation” as a collective reference point and experienced entity stands at the center of complex identity struggles. This book explores how such struggles unfold in practice at a highly symbolic battlefield site in the Danish/German borderland. Comprised of an ethnography of two profoundly different institutions – a conventional museum and an experience-based heritage center – it analyses the ways in which staff and visitors interfere with, relate to, and literally “make sense” of the war heritage and its national connotations. Borders of Belonging offers a comparative, in-depth analysis of the practices and negotiations through which history is made and manifested at two houses devoted to the interpretation of one event: the decisive battle of the 1864 war in which Otto von Bismarck, on his way to uniting the new German Empire, led the Prussian army to victory over the Danish. Working through his empirical material to engage with and challenge established theoretical positions in the study of museums, modernity, and tourism, Mads Daugbjerg demonstrates that national belonging is still a key cultural concern, even as it asserts itself in novel, muted, and increasingly experiential ways.
Area: Northern Europe
House of the Waterlily
A Novel of the Ancient Maya World
Set in the Maya civilization’s Late Classic Period House of the Waterlily is a historical novel centered on Lady Winik, a young Maya royal. Through tribulations that mirror the political calamities of the Late Classic world, Winik’s personal story immerses the reader not only in her daily life, but also in the difficult decisions Maya men and women must have faced as they tried to navigate a rapidly changing world. Kelli Carmean’s novel brings to life a people and an era remote from our own, yet recognizably human all the same.
The Mobility of Memory
Migrations and Diasporas across European Borders
Passerini, L., Trakilović, M., & Proglio, G. (eds)
Migration is most concretely defined by the movement of human bodies, but it leaves indelible traces on everything from individual psychology to major social movements. Drawing on extensive field research, and with a special focus on Italy and the Netherlands, this interdisciplinary volume explores the interrelationship of migration and memory at scales both large and small, ranging across topics that include oral and visual forms of memory, archives, and artistic innovations. By engaging with the complex tensions between roots and routes, minds and bodies, The Mobility of Memory offers an incisive and empirically grounded perspective on a social phenomenon that continues to reshape both Europe and the world.
Narratives in the Making
Writing the East German Past in the Democratic Present
Despite the three decades that have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the historical narrative of East Germany is hardly fixed in public memory, as German society continues to grapple with the legacies of the Cold War. This fascinating ethnography looks at two very different types of local institutions in one eastern German state that take divergent approaches to those legacies: while publicly funded organizations reliably cast the GDR as a dictatorship, a main regional newspaper offers a more ambivalent perspective colored by the experiences and concerns of its readers. As author Anselma Gallinat shows, such memory work—initially undertaken after fundamental regime change—inevitably shapes citizenship and democracy in the present.
The Presence of the Past in the Era of the Nation-State
Argenti, N. (ed)
How are historians and social scientists to understand the emergence, the multiplicity, and the mutability of collective memories of the Ottoman Empire in the political formations that succeeded it? With contributions focussing on several of the nation-states whose peoples once were united under the aegis of Ottoman suzerainty, this volume proposes new theoretical approaches to the experience and transmission of the past through time. Developing the concept of topology, contributors explore collective memories of Ottoman identity and post-Ottoman state formation in a contemporary epoch that, echoing late modernity, we might term “late nationalism”.
Subjects: Sociology Anthropology (General) Memory Studies
The Sound of Silence
Indigenous Perspectives on the Historical Archaeology of Colonialism
Äikäs, T. & Salmi, A.-K. (eds)
Colonial encounters between indigenous peoples and European state powers are overarching themes in the historical archaeology of the modern era, and postcolonial historical archaeology has repeatedly emphasized the complex two-way nature of colonial encounters. This volume examines common trajectories in indigenous colonial histories, and explores new ways to understand cultural contact, hybridization and power relations between indigenous peoples and colonial powers from the indigenous point of view. By bringing together a wide geographical range and combining multiple sources such as oral histories, historical records, and contemporary discourses with archaeological data, the volume finds new multivocal interpretations of colonial histories.
The Politics of Memorialization in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland
If memory was simply about past events, public authorities would never put their ever-shrinking budgets at its service. Rather, memory is actually about the present moment, as Pierre Nora puts it: “Through the past, we venerate above all ourselves.” This book examines how collective memory and material culture are used to support present political and ideological needs in contemporary society. Using the memorialization of the Troubles in contemporary Northern Ireland as a case study, this book investigates how non-state, often proscribed, organizations have filled a societal vacuum in the creation of public memorials. In particular, these groups have sifted through the past to propose “official” collective narratives of national identification, historical legitimation, and moral justifications for violence.
Postsocialist Nostalgia and the Politics of Heroism in Czech Popular Culture
Scholars of state socialism have frequently invoked “nostalgia” to identify an uncritical longing for the utopian ambitions and lived experience of the former Eastern Bloc. However, this concept seems insufficient to describe memory cultures in the Czech Republic and other contexts in which a “retro” fascination with the past has proven compatible with a steadfast critique of the state socialist era. This innovative study locates a distinctively retro aesthetic in Czech literature, film, and other cultural forms, enriching our understanding of not only the nation’s memory culture, but also the ways in which popular culture can structure collective memory.
Subjects: Cultural Studies (General) History: 20th Century to Present Film and Television Studies Memory Studies
Area: Central/Eastern Europe
When Will We Talk About Hitler?
German Students and the Nazi Past
For more than half a century, discourses on the Nazi past have powerfully shaped German social and cultural policy. Specifically, an institutional determination not to forget has expressed a “duty of remembrance” through commemorative activities and educational curricula. But as the horrors of the Third Reich retreat ever further from living memory, what do new generations of Germans actually think about this past? Combining observation, interviews, and archival research, this book provides a rich survey of the perspectives and experiences of German adolescents from diverse backgrounds, revealing the extent to which social, economic, and cultural factors have conditioned how they view representations of Germany’s complex history.