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Dynamics of Memory and Identity in Contemporary Europe

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Dynamics of Memory and Identity in Contemporary Europe

Edited by Eric Langenbacher, Bill Niven, and Ruth Wittlinger

248 pages, 2 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-577-2 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2013)

ISBN  978-1-78238-917-0 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (April 2015)

eISBN 978-0-85745-581-9 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Overall this is an interesting collection with a number of thought-provoking essays. Notably, several of the chapters bring new (social science) methodologies to the interdisciplinary field of memory studies. It is also a strength of the volume that, while the focus is clearly on memories of World War II and the Holocaust, it incorporates consideration of a range of pasts that continue to have a significant impact on the way Europeans understand themselves and others. The comparative perspective proves particularly fruitful in raising new questions regarding different kinds of remembrance at both the national and the European level.” · European Legacy

“The volume is well-structured and the individual chapters are put together in a coherent fashion. The material they cover is extremely engaging and is new to the English-speaking audience, especially where the French and German literature is concerned. They also add richness to a debate already characterised by its increasing politicisation. This is, therefore, a valuable volume… [that] will appeal to a wide range of scholars and students from humanities and social sciences disciplinary backgrounds, from history to anthropology as well as memory scholars. It also provides food for thought at a time when a better understanding of Europe’s past, present and future is a political imperative and an incentive for future research.” · H-France Review

“This is a very interesting and well-researched contribution to the memory studies literature. The individual chapters are based on sophisticated research and provide up-to-date insight into the debates in their fields of specialization. Especially impressive is that, across the board, they draw on literatures and source materials in the languages of interest, so that the volume brings together a new set of materials for an English-speaking audience.” · Jenny Wüstenberg, Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, Free University of Berlin


The collapse of the Iron Curtain, the renationalization of eastern Europe, and the simultaneous eastward expansion of the European Union have all impacted the way the past is remembered in today’s eastern Europe. At the same time, in recent years, the Europeanization of Holocaust memory and a growing sense of the need to stage a more “self-critical” memory has significantly changed the way in which western Europe commemorates and memorializes the past. The increasing dissatisfaction among scholars with the blanket, undifferentiated use of the term “collective memory” is evolving in new directions. This volume brings the tension into focus while addressing the state of memory theory itself.

Eric Langenbacher is a Associate Teaching Professor and Director of Honors and Special Programs in the Department of Government, Georgetown University. He is editor of Between Left and Right: The 2009 Bundestag Election and the Transformation of the German Party System (Berghahn, 2010).

Bill Niven is Professor of Contemporary German History at Nottingham Trent University. His recent publications include The Buchenwald Child: Truth, Fiction and Propaganda (Camden House, 2007; German edition, 2009), and Memorialization in Germany since 1945 (edited with Chloe Paver, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

Ruth Wittlinger is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Government and International Affairs at the University of Durham, UK.  Her latest monograph is German National Identity in the Twenty-First Century: A Different Republic After All? (Basingstoke, 2010).

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Memory Studies
Area: Europe


Eric Langenbacher, Bill Niven, & Ruth Wittlinger

Chapter 1. Dynamics of Generational Memory: Understanding the East-West Divide
Harald Wydra

Chapter 2. Time-out for National Heroes? Gender as an Analytical Category in the Study of Memory Cultures
Helle Bjerg & Claudia Lenz

Chapter 3. The Memory-Market Dictum: Gauging the Inherent Bias in Different Data Sources Common in Collective Memory Studies
Mark A. Wolfgram

Chapter 4. Remembering WWII in Europe - Structures of Remembrance
Christian Gudehus

Chapter 5. Ach(tung) Europa: German Writers and the Establishment of a Collective Memory of Europe
Hans-Joachim Hahn

Chapter 6. Critiquing the Stranger, Inventing Europe: Integration and the Fascist Legacy
Mark Wagstaff

Chapter 7. The Thread That Binds Together: Lidice, Oradour, Putten, and the Memory of World War II
Madelon de Keizer

Chapter 8. Memory of World War II in France: National and Transnational Dynamics
Henning Meyer

Chapter 9. The Field of the Blackbirds and the Battle for Europe
Anna Di Lellio

Chapter 10. Transformation of Memory in Croatia: Removing Yugoslav Anti-Fascism
Ljiljana Radonic

Chapter 11. German Victimhood Discourse in Comparative Perspective
Bill Niven

Chapter 12. Shaking off the Past? The New Germany in the New Europe
Ruth Wittlinger

Conclusion: A Plea for an “Intergovernmental” European Memory
Eric Langenbacher

Notes on Contributors

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