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Virginie Rey

This article presents an analysis of the evolution of ethnographic museums in Tunisia, tracing their development from the period of French colonial rule until the present. It documents and interprets the trajectory of museography in the country over nearly a century, demonstrating changes and continuities in role, setting and architecture across shifting ideological landscapes, from the colonial, to the postcolonial to the more recent revolutionary setting. It is argued that Tunisian ethnographic museums, both in their processes of conception behind the scenes and in their scenography itself, have been key sites in which to read debates about national identity. The article excavates the evolution of paradigms in which Tunisian popular identity has been expressed through the ethnographic museum, from the modernist notion of 'indigenous authenticity' to efforts at nation-building after independence, and more recent conceptions of cultural diversity. Based on a combination of archival research, participant observation and interviews with past and present protagonists in the Tunisian museum field, this research brings to light new material on an understudied area.

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Wandelnde Horizonte des Weltwissens

Zur Raumvorstellung der elementaren Geographieschulbücher des Japanischen Kaiserreichs

Toshiko Ito

*Full article is in German

Changing Horizons of World Knowledge: On the Presentation of Space in Primary School Geography Textbooks of the Japanese Empire

English abstract

The presentation of space in primary geography textbooks of the Japanese Empire (1868–1945) changed according to the political climate. In the liberal phase of the 1870s, Japanese geography schoolbooks dealt with the entire earth. In the revisionist phase of the 1880s, in order to encourage a sense of national identity, no knowledge of lands outside of Japan was imparted to lower primary school students. In the phase of colonial expansion from the 1890s, the world reemerged in geography school books, with an increasing emphasis on the reorganisation of East Asia. Drawing on premodern mythology, primary geography textbooks served to consolidate the Japanese concept of empire in accordance with the respective political situation.

German abstract

Die Raumvorstellung in den elementaren Geographieschulbüchern des Japanischen Kaiserreichs (1868–1945) änderte sich mit dem politischen Klima. In der liberalen Phase der 1870er Jahre behandelten die Geographieschulbücher alle Erdräume. In der revisionistischen Phase der 1880er Jahre wurde den unteren Grundschülern zur Wahrung der nationalen Identität kein Wissen über die Erdräume außerhalb Japans vermittelt. In der kolonialen Expansionsphase ab den 1890er Jahren fanden die Erdräume außerhalb Japans wieder Eingang in die Geographieschulbücher, wobei die Neuordnung Ostasiens immer stärker betont wurde. Auf der vormodernen Mythologie basierend dienten die elementaren Geographieschulbücher der Festigung des japanischen Reichsgedankens nach Maßgabe der jeweiligen politischen Lage.

Keywords: Geographieschulbücher, Großostasiatische Wohlstandssphäre, Japanisches Kaiserreich, koloniale Expansion, nationale Identität, Raumvorstellung

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Alexandra Kaiser

The article sketches the ruptures in today's German memory culture, concentrating on the Volkstrauertag (People's Day of Mourning) and the Gedenktag für die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (Remembrance Day for the Victims of National Socialism) on 27 January. It starts with an overview of the history of the Volkstrauertag with its (outward) transformation from a commemoration day for dead German soldiers into one for “all victims of war and violence.” The inclusive model of commemoration that was typical for the Bonn Republic is disintegrating today. In united Germany, the Volkstrauertag and 27 January reflect antagonistic memory strands, that is a memory focussed on the war dead and German suffering or on the Holocaust and German guilt. In light of discussions about commemorating Bundeswehr dead, the article ends by describing a re-heroicizing of the Volkstrauertag and, in a more general way, tries to outline the shifting construction of German national identity.

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Voicing past and present uncertainties

The relocation of a Soviet World War II memorial and the politics of memory in Estonia

Inge Melchior and Oane Visser

This article analyzes the politics of memory around the Estonian government’s decision to relocate Tallinn’s World War II memorial of a Soviet soldier. It shows why and how legitimizing national discourses resonated with and influenced personal narratives among ordinary Estonians. It also discusses discourses of Estonians who took a more critical stance on the relocation. The article argues that the dominant discourse in Estonia has been characterized by a notion of suffering and a search for recognition from the West, while turning its back to the East (Estonian Russians and Russia). In a similar vein, the relocation aimed at a breakaway from the Soviet past and its discourse, while at the same time reinforcing its perceived continuity. As such, the Estonian case gives insight into processes of remembering, amnesia, and the quest for recognition at the new border of the European Union, within a context of highly contentious minority politics.

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Nose Aesthetics

Rhinoplasty and Identity in Tehran

Sara Lenehan

Tehran currently hosts one of the largest rhinoplasty markets in the world, and rhinoplasty is the most sought after cosmetic surgery in the country. This article examines whether the rhinoplasty trend reflects a shift in Iranians' attitudes towards their ethnic and cultural identity. It is argued that fashion and beauty norms in Tehran are certainly informed by globalised images, but these are mediated by Iranian moralities of prestige, image consciousness and class awareness. Thus, while many of the persons interviewed described 'Iranian noses' as aesthetically inferior to 'European noses', their statements were not necessarily coupled with a desire to negate Iranian identity.

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Exploring Continuities and Reconciling Ruptures

Nationalism, Feminism, and the Ukrainian Women's Movement

Martha Kichorowska Kebalo

Aspects of the women's movement evolving in post-Soviet Ukraine may be viewed as an extension of a transnational Ukrainian women's movement that had its origins in the nineteenth-century Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires. This essay traces the continuities of personnel and mission that serve to link disparate historical phases of such a movement over temporal and geographic discontinuities, even over homeland and diaspora communities. A central question is how the political history of Ukraine, and in particular, its lack of a unified state for most of the twentieth century, has affected the history of the country's women's movement. Historically, the feminism of Ukrainian women, often clearly evident in their pronouncements and strategies, has been obscured by the political context of their movement, which has encouraged its framing as nationalist, even by the women themselves. It is suggested that a growing body of historical scholarship is promoting a broader understanding of Ukrainian women's activism. Such projects can serve to bridge ruptures in the 'national ethos' that stem from Ukraine's complex history, reclaim the feminism of the movement, and focus the range of women's activism in Ukraine on a consensual, specifically women's, agenda.

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Anthropology Misapplied?

The Culture Concept and the Peace Process in Ireland

Andrew Finlay

This article is animated by a concern that anthropological ideas of culture, particularly the 'old' idea of culture as the way of life of a distinct people, have been misapplied in the government of Northern Ireland during the period of the peace process. Rather than accept disciplinary responsibility for this, I trace the provenance of the notions of culture and identity implicit in the Good Friday Agreement. While people trained in anthropology have been involved in implementing cultural policy, other disciplines—notably law, history and political science—have been more influential in its conception, with only occasional references to anthropology for legitimation. Paradoxically, the influence of the old anthropological concept of culture is a sign of the relative weakness of anthropological influence in government circles. Ultimately, though, anthropological circumspection in this regard might be preferable to the hasty and vainglorious claims of other academic disciplines.

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Eric J. Cunningham

This article examines socio-cultural circulations associated with dams and other water management technologies in central Japan. Such technologies and the circulations of water they enable link communities across Japan's rural and urban spaces in social, political, economic, and cultural ways. They also produce anxieties by highlighting social inequalities and the disparate impacts of water resource development in modern Japan. Using Makio Dam in central Japan as a case study, I argue that actors in both upstream and downstream communities actively imagine and enact social relationships that work to ease the tensions that arise from unidirectional flows of water by producing sensations of harmony and common identity.

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Where Are the Minorities?

The Elusiveness of Multiculturalism and Positive Recognition in Sri Lankan History Textbooks

Anne Gaul

This article analyzes the representation of Sri Lanka's communities in history textbooks that are currently in use. Even before the end of the war in 2009, the education system was recognized as an instrument with which the country's divided society could be rebuilt. The issues addressed in this article concern a period in which ambitious educational reforms are being implemented that envision textbooks as a tool for the creation of a new generation of citizens in a postwar society. It reveals that the general lack of recognition of minority communities, and the negative representations of the Tamil community in particular, that appear in these textbooks are not compatible with the proclaimed vision of a multicultural yet integrated society. Instead of fostering social cohesion, these textbooks may deepen ethnic divides and stereotypes, and therefore thwart reconciliation and long-term peace.

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Deepa Nair

The controversy over rewriting history textbooks in India in 2000 not only revealed the divergent renditions of collective memory but also evoked decades of contention over self-representation and cultural identity. This article explores these "multiple" renderings of a "singular" past and contends the formation of "historical identities" by arguing that divergent use of reason and interpretation leads to a layered and uid Indian identity leaving it open for contestation. By situating the case of the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb within the milieu from which textbook controversies emanate, the article suggests an alternative dimension for looking at the controversy—instead of the usual binary concept of "secular" versus "communal" history. At the root of the controversy is not merely politicization but also divergent perspectives of looking at the past and the resultant rethinking and reworking of dominant notions of it.