This article suggests that a “crisis of democracy” can be understood not simply as a deterioration of specific representative institutions but as a repositioning of democratic politics vis-à-vis other principles of social coordination, most notably the capitalist market, and the attendant decline of democratic subjectivity—people’s attunement to claims appealing to the common good. I trace this process to the post–World War II era. I show that the crisis of democracy was shaped by the substantive imperative of fusing democracy with free-market capitalism. Many postwar democratic theorists believed that the welfare state could manage the tension latent in this fusion. But an analysis of Friedrich Hayek’s theory of neoliberal democracy, which recognizes that tension more acutely, reveals that the incorporation of free-market capitalism creates tendencies that undermine democracy from within.
War and disaster in a Buddhist Sinhala village
This article analyzes the regimes of truth and efforts at falsification that emerged aft er the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, where the experience of fear, the blurring of memory, and the fabrication of identity became normalized during the course of a long civil war. By shedding light on the memorialization processes in a Buddhist Sinhala village on the border of the northeastern Tamil zones, the article shows how the tsunami has reinforced governmental devices for controlling peoples and territories, insinuating itself into the core of the enduring process of securitization of fear in Sri Lanka. Yet, however much the politics of memory tends to cloud matters, the article also demonstrates that it never goes uncontested, as long as subjects can channel their capacity for action in unexpected directions.
The Karaoğlanoğlu War Memorial
Mehmet Kerem Özel
The architectural and sculptural design of the Karaoğlanoğlu War Memorial (1990-1991), which this article explores, has a unique place in Turkish war memorial architecture built after 1950. Until the end of the 1990s, Turkish war memorials continued to be conceived and constructed in a traditional and conventional manner in spite of the changes that the notion of the war memorial underwent worldwide over the course of the twentieth century. The Karaoğlanoğlu War Memorial embodies certain attributes of a 'living memorial' and 'counter-monument' with regard to its architectural form and its monument characteristics, which distinguish it from other Turkish memorials. Designed in connection with the features of its geographical context, this memorial enables an awareness of the landscape of memory. With its humane dimension and vaguely figurative repre- sentation, the monument evokes a unique personal experience for each visitor.
History Education as a “Powerful Weapon against Communism“?
The Cold War had a variety of impacts on Swiss schools. This article focuses on how schools, and especially their history curricula, became the vehicle with which to launch a “National Spiritual Defense“ (Geistige Landesverteidigung) against Communism. During the Cold War era, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, teachers' journals and textbooks analyses revealed tendencies connected to a heroic, teleological master narrative of Switzerland's national history. The “cultural memory“ (Assmann) was seemingly designed to strengthen the “Swiss spirit.“ It also provided patterns from which to explain the ongoing Cold War conflict. In the 1970s, educators and politicians assigned the schools the new task of assisting in national military defense efforts.
The French Left, de Gaulle, and the Vietnam War in 1965
Bethany S. Keenan
This article examines conflicts concerning French policy on the American phase of the Vietnam War between the French Left and Charles de Gaulle during the 1965 elections. The Left faced a dilemma on a matter of central foreign policy as it found it difficult to differentiate its position on the war from de Gaulle's public statements on it. Through an evaluation of press commentary, I demonstrate that in its attempt to set itself apart from de Gaulle, the French Left challenged not only his interpretation of the war in Vietnam but also his understanding of France and its role in the world, proffering a softer, cooperative conception in opposition to de Gaulle's push for a militant leadership status for France in the international community. The study shows the limits political parties face as part of protest movements, while also situating French debate over the Vietnam War squarely within the ongoing dialogue over French national identity.
US Military Investments in the Concept of Creativity, 1945–1965
Bregje F. Van Eekelen
This article investigates the Cold War entanglements of the concept of “creativity” with the US military. The field of creativity studies came about after World War II, and the military was a vital site for the production of knowledge about creative thinking. Creativity emerged on the geopolitical radar, in terms of the acquisition of creative thinking skills, attempts to “think the unthinkable” (atomic futures), and the detection of creative citizens. Creative, divergent thinking garnered a renewed urgency with the Sputnik shock, which showcased that conformist practices in knowledge production would not put an American on the moon. Between 1945 and 1965, the concept of creativity—as something to be defined, measured, and stimulated—was framed as a matter of national security and an object of geopolitical concern. This ensuing traffic in knowledge between Cold War academic and military contexts has been constitutive of present-day understandings of creative, undisciplined thought.
Frantz Fanon, Jean-Paul Sartre, and the Violence of the Algerian War
This article considers two famous works published in France during the Algerian War and forever after interpretively linked: Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth and Jean-Paul Sartre's Preface to Fanon's book. It argues that yoking together the two texts has distorted key features of each, in particular as they relate to the multiform problem of violence. To overcome a misreading of Fanon's position by Sartre, the analysis presented here uses the under-examined clinical case studies in the final chapter of Wretched to emphasize Fanon's acknowledgment of violence as a source of trauma, not only a means by which trauma is transcended. It then attempts to explain Sartre's reinterpretation of Fanon's message in light of ongoing postwar debates within the French intellectual Left about the revolutionary potential of violence in metropolitan France.
The Franco-Prussian War in French History Textbooks, 1875–1895
In French history textbooks published after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871, the presentation of the war and its outcome frequently include the myth of France's revanche and depictions of the Prussian enemy as barbarians. Other textbooks presented a narrative of progress in which the French Third Republic is shown as the endpoint of a process of advancing civilization. While the idea of a French revanche can be regarded as a founding myth of the Third Republic, the narrative of progress can be seen as an echo of this myth, cleansed of the concept of the enemy as barbarian, which constitutes a national master narrative.
Attempts to explain the achievements of the Jewish side in the 1948 War of Independence have focused thus far on the military and political dimension and on the domestic social, economic, and ideological dimension, as reflected in the collective mobilization of the Yishuv society. This article reveals the role of additional players in the war, including institutions, organizations, and associations that provided social services; the individuals who headed them; the members who took part in operating them; and the recipients of their services. The article's underlying premise is that Jewish society largely owed its resilience during the war, and in its aftermath, to the functioning of these organizations.
(Re)Constructing Switzerland through Travel Writing
Sara Steinert Borella
Swiss authors and travelers Ella Maillart and Annemarie Schwarzenbach set off to drive from Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford roadster in late 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Their subsequent texts reveal as much about cultural norms prevalent in Switzerland in the late 1930s as they do about the actual journey to Afghanistan. This article explores Ella Maillart's The Cruel Way (1947) and Annemarie Schwarzenbach's All the Roads Are Open (2011) as constructions of the humanitarian principles that the Swiss have come to call their own. Both travel narratives call into question the national value of neutrality while echoing the language of emerging political and legal human rights discourses. The travel narratives of Maillart and Schwarzenbach thus contribute to the development of a literary discourse of human rights that will later become the standard narrative for Switzerland during and following World War II.