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Patriotic History and the (Re)Nationalization of Memory (06.2023)
This book charts and traces state-mandated or state-encouraged “patriotic” histories that have recently emerged in many places around the globe.
Such “patriotic” histories can revolve around both affirmative interpretations of the past and celebration of national achievements. They can also entail explicitly denialist stances against acknowledging responsibility for past atrocities, even to the extent of celebrating perpetrators. Whereas in some cases “patriotic” history takes the shape of a coherent doctrine, in others they remain limited to loosely connected narratives. By combining nationalist and narcissist narratives, and by disregarding or distorting historical evidence, “patriotic” history promotes mythified, monumental, and moralistic interpretations of the past that posit partisan and authoritarian essentialisms and exceptionalisms. Whereas the global debates in interdisciplinary memory studies revolve around concepts like cosmopolitan, global, multidirectional, relational, transcultural, and transnational memory, to mention but a few, the actual socio-political uses of history remain strikingly nation-centred and one-dimensional. This volume collects fifteen caste studies of such “nationalizations of history” ranging from China to the Baltic states. They highlight three features of this phenomenon: the ruthlessness of methods applied by many state authorities to impose certain interpretations of the past, the increasing discrepancy between professional and political approaches to collective memory, and the new “post-truth” context.
This book will be of interest to students and researchers of international politics, the radical right and global history. It was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Genocide Research.