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A European Memory?: Contested Histories and Politics of Remembrance

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Volume 6

Contemporary European History

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A European Memory?

Contested Histories and Politics of Remembrance

Edited by Małgorzata Pakier and Bo Stråth

372 pages, 6 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-621-4 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2010)

ISBN  978-0-85745-430-0 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (January 2012)

eISBN 978-1-84545-813-3 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Editors Malgorzata Pakier and Bo Strath and the score of contributing scholars deserve commendation for a collection of ambitious essays, many of which represent bold attempts at explaining and synthesizing complex concepts and processes.  ·  Journal of Cold War Studies

The book provides an extremely useful guide through the labyrinth of issues concerning Europeans and the politics of remembrance. The editors deserve great credit for taking on and attempting to represent the multiplicity of debates that characterize contemporary European visions of and debates about the past.  ·  Central European History

This work assembles the most recent reflections on the cultural unification of Europe as well as…proposes a serious interdisciplinary discussion of practices of memory. A work that is useful for whoever wishes to have an overview of the questions arising from the internationalization of national memoirs and to reflect on the role of the historian in the context of the multiple discourses on the past.  ·  Histoire sociale/Social History

An anthology of impressive and seminal scholarly research, ‘A European Memory?’ is a welcome addition to the Berghahn Books' outstanding 'Studies in Contemporary European History' series and highly recommended for academic library European History reference collections and supplemental reading lists.”  ·  Bookwatch

 “[This timely volume] comes as a worthy and insightful reader on one of the core fields of debate in European social and human sciences, with its focus on the representations of the most deplorable parts of European twentieth-century history…Many of its articles offer interesting thoughts and useful introductions, highlighting both actors and structures of ‘memory production’…It will no doubt be a handy companion in classes on politics and history in contemporary Europe.  ·  H-Soz-u-Kult

“As the most comprehensive scholarly venture to use the memory concept for a broad assessment of the dark legacies of Nazism, Communism, and World War II for a common European identity, the volume has no equal. It overwhelms the reader with a plethora of both new and well established information and reflection…The overall direction coincides with the current trend towards internationalization of national histories. It can be considered a strong contribution to this important and worthwhile trend.”  ·  Frank Trommler, University of Pennsylvania


An examination of the role of history and memory is vital in order to better understand why the grand design of a United Europe—with a common foreign policy and market yet enough diversity to allow for cultural and social differences—was overwhelmingly turned down by its citizens. The authors argue that this rejection of the European constitution was to a certain extent a challenge to the current historical grounding used for further integration and further demonstrates the lack of understanding by European bureaucrats of the historical complexity and divisiveness of Europe’s past. A critical European history is therefore urgently needed to confront and re-imagine Europe, not as a harmonious continent but as the outcome of violent and bloody conflicts, both within Europe as well as with its Others. As the authors show, these dark shadows of Europe’s past must be integrated, and the fact that memories of Europe are contested must be accepted if any new attempts at a United Europe are to be successful.

Małgorzata Pakier is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Sociology, Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, and is also active in planning the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. She received her PhD from the European University Institute in Florence, Department of History and Civilization. Her research interests include the media of memory, especially film, museum, and city spaces, and Holocaust memory and representation.

Bo Stråth was Professor of Contemporary History at the European University Institute in Florence (1997–2007) and is currently Academy of Finland Distinguished Professor of Nordic, European and World History at Helsinki University. His research concentrates on questions of modernity and the use of history in a European and global perspective.

Subject: History (General) Cultural Studies (General) Memory Studies
Area: Europe


List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: A European Memory?
Małgorzata Pakier and Bo Stråth

Part I. Europe, Memory, Politics, and History. Uneasy Relationships

Chapter 1. On ‘European Memory’: Some Conceptual and Normative Remarks
Jan –Werner Müller

Chapter 2. The Uses of History and the Third Wave of Europeanization
Klas-Göran Karlsson

Chapter 3. Halecki Revisited: Europe’s Conflicting Cultures of Remembrance
Stefan Troebst

Chapter 4. Iconic Remembering and Religious Icons: Fundamentalist Strategies in European Memory Politics?
Wolfgang Kaschuba

Chapter 5. Culture, Politics, Palimpsest. Theses on Memory and Society
Heidemarie Uhl

Chapter 6. Damnatio Memoriae and the Power of Remembrance. Reflections on Memory and History
Frederick Whitling

Chapter 7. Seeing Dark and Writing Light: Photography Approaching Dark and Obscure Histories
James Kaye

Part II. Remembering Europe’s Dark Pasts

Section 1. Remembering the Second World War:
Chapter 8
. Remembering the Second World War in Western Europe 1945 – 2005
Stefan Berger

Chapter 9. Practices and Politics of Second World War Remembrance. (Trans-)National Perspectives from Eastern and South-eastern Europe
Heike Karge

Chapter 10. A Victory Celebrated. Danish and Norwegian Celebrations of the Liberation
Clemens Maier

Section 2. Towards a Europeanization of the Commemoration of the Holocaust:
11. Remembering Europe’s Heart of Darkness - Legacies of the Holocaust in Post-war European Societies
Cecilie Felicia Stokholm Banke

Chapter 12. Holocaust Remembrance and Restitution of Jewish Property in the Czech Republic and Poland after 1989
Stanisław Tyszka

Chapter 13. A Europeanization of the Holocaust Memory? German and Polish Reception of Europa, Europa (1990) by Agnieszka Holland
Małgorzata Pakier

Chapter 14. Italian Commemoration of the Shoah. The Construction of a Survivor-oriented Narrative and its Impact on Italian Politics and Practices of Remembrance
Ruth Nattermann

Section 3. Coming to Terms with Europe’s Communist Past:
Chapter 15. Managing the History of the Past in the Former Communist States
Arfon Rees

Chapter 16. Eurocommunism. Commemorating Communism in Contemporary Eastern Europe
Péter Apor

Chapter 17. The Memory of the Dead Body
Senadin Musabegović

Chapter 18. Neither Help nor Pardon? Communist Pasts in Western Europe
Kevin Morgan

Section 4. Coming to Terms with Europe’s Colonial Past:
Chapter 19. Politics of Remembrance, Colonialism, and the Algerian War in France
Jan Jansen

Chapter 20. Memory Politics and the Use of History: Finnish-speaking Minorities at the North Calotte
Lars Elenius

Conclusion: Nightmares or Daydreams? A Postscript on the Europeanization of Memories
Konrad H. Jarausch


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