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Collective Memory and Tourism

Globalizing Transmission through Localized Experience

Vida Bajc

The articles in this issue highlight the relationship between collective memory and tourism. In what ways are practices of collective remembering implicated with those of tourism? Where do collective memory scholarship and tourism studies meet? How might the two interdisciplinary academic fields be shaped through each other’s concepts? We suggest that experiencing the collective past is integral to specific forms of tourism, particularly what is called ‘heritage tourism’. So, too, are certain kinds of public practices of collective remembering increasingly connected with the tourism industry. In the absence of, or complementary to, financial support for the historic preservation efforts, the entrepreneurial approach to the collective past turns objects of such memory into tourist attractions to keep them economically viable. Thinking about collective remembering in relation to tourism directs our analytical focus to the authority of experiencing the past in a specific tourist place in the present. It centres our attention on what is involved in making this experience possible.

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Ruth Wittlinger

British-German relations have undergone a considerable transformation since 1945 with both countries having to adapt to significant changes in their own status, as well as a very different international environment. Germany's status as a morally and militarily defeated and occupied power in 1945 is in stark contrast to the confident role it is playing at the beginning of the new millennium when—sixty years after the end of World War II—the German chancellor for the first time took part in the VE-Day celebrations of the victors. This article analyzes recent dynamics of collective memory in both countries and examine if and to what extent their collective memories play a role in British-German relations.

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Eric Langenbacher

The Federal Republic of Germany—both before and after 1989—has been influenced deeply by collective memories of the Nazi period and the Holocaust, a seemingly "unmasterable past." In a first phase after unification, memory trends, which had their origin in the mid 1980s, continued, but a second period, beginning around the 1999 move of the capital back to Berlin, however, witnessed the erosion of this older trend and the delayed rise of new memory dynamics. Substantively, there have been three vectors of memory concerning Nazi crimes, German suffering, and the period of division, especially regarding the German Democratic Republic. In this article, I outline the major collective memory dynamics and debates, first from a qualitative and then from a more quantitative perspective where I analyze the holdings of the German National Library. I conclude that an intense period of memory work characterized the postunification years, but the peak of concern was reached several years ago and the German future will be much less beholden to the past. Given inevitable normalizing trends and the unintended consequences of the hegemony of Holocaust memory, Germany's difficult historical legacy increasingly appears to be disappearing or even mastered.

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Memory Practices in History Education about the 1947 British India Partition

Opportunities and Challenges to Breaching Hegemonic Remembering

Meenakshi Chhabra

This article is an epistemological reflection on memory practices in the construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of collective memories of a historical event involving collective violence and conflict in formal and informal spaces of education. It focuses on the 1947 British India Partition of Punjab. The article engages with multiple memory practices of Partition carried out through personal narrative, interactions between Indian and Pakistani secondary school pupils, history textbook contents, and their enactment in the classroom by teachers. It sheds light on the complex dynamic between collective memory and history education about events of violent conflict, and explores opportunities for and challenges to intercepting hegemonic remembering of a violent past.

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Joanna Wojdon

This article analyzes textbooks and curricula for primary schools in Poland published between 1944 and 1989 to show how the communist regime attempted to influence Polish history education via political change and educational reform. The article focuses on five aspects of this influence: Marxist methodology of history, portrayals of political parties, promotion of a “scientific“ worldview, justification of new boundaries and alliances of the People's Poland, and a new pantheon of national heroes. In conclusion, the article investigates the effectiveness of history education in shaping Polish collective memory under the communist regime.

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Heroes of Our Time

The Historical-Political Context of Devorah Omer’s Novels

Rima Shikhmanter

This article examines Devorah Omer’s first two historical children’s novels, Ben-Yehuda’s Eldest Son and Sarah, Heroine of NILI (both published in 1967), as a case study for the ideological role played by historical fiction for children and youth in 1960s Israel. A comparison of the novels with the historical sources on which Omer relied reveals how the selection of the figures of Sarah Aaronsohn and Itamar Ben-Avi allowed her to create a narrative that crossed the political divide while presenting the difficulties experienced by children and women in their encounters with the national myth. Omer’s novels thus play a dual role: they preserve the Zionist narrative and shape a collective memory consistent with the establishment of a sovereign Jewish state, while also raising issues that call into question the national narrative’s hegemonic status.

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Introduction

The Presence of the Past in the Era of the Nation-State

Nicolas Argenti

With contributions from several of the Balkan countries that once were united under the aegis of the Ottoman Empire, this special issue proposes new theoretical approaches to the experience and transmission of the past through time. All of the articles in this issue explore themes to do with the transmission of collective memories of post-Ottoman state formation and the malaise associated with a contemporary epoch that, echoing late modernity, we might term ‘late nationalism’. This introductory article examines the several manifestations of this general phenomenon under the rubric of post-Ottoman topologies, suggesting that where history creates a fixed, empiricist record of the past, topologies denote the flux of collective memory in its multiple and mutable incarnations across time.

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Lia Friesem

More than other collective memories, the Holocaust is the most vivid memory in today’s Israeli existence. As a result of comprehensive official and unofficial memory work that utilizes the Holocaust as a political and educational tool, on the one hand, and due to the advent of the new media, on the other, its grip on everyday Israeli reality is only growing stronger. As part of a broader research project focusing on resistive cultural activity on Israeli Twitter, this article makes visible the striking omnipresence of the Holocaust on this social network, while maintaining that many of the ‘Holocaust tweets’ constitute an act of resistance. That is, users are engaged in oppositional decoding in a battle against the hegemonic Holocaust discourse.

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Navigating a Globalizing World

Thoughts on Textbook Analysis, Teaching, and Learning

Hanna Schissler

History textbooks are sources of collective memory and can thus be read as "autobiographies" of nation-states. History textbooks used to be anchored in national traditions, ultimately legitimizing the rationale of nation-states. In questioning the sole validity of national history, social movements since the 1960s and the process of globalization became the seedbeds for the deconstruction of master narratives. Because of their instrumental character as teaching tools, textbooks in general allow researchers to decipher the normative structures of societies. The information revolution since the 1970s has dethroned textbooks as the sole means of instruction in classrooms, and led to the development of different approaches for the analysis of textbooks. Today's globalizing world demands new reference frames for teaching and learning. In the second part of this article, eight clusters that are pertinent for orientation in the perplexing realities of the present are drafted: challenges resulting from the revolution in information technologies; the changing world of work; contradictory tendencies in globalizing processes; the impact of a new turbo-capitalism with its de-legitimizing impact on political systems; unequal developments leading to an ever increasing inequality on a global as well as on local levels; the increase of worldwide migration and its impact on classrooms; contested memories in societies that reposition themselves in a world that has grown together and re-fragmented at new seams; and finally, the crisis in orientation and values and the personal costs resulting from the perplexities and insecurities of the world.

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Mark A. Wolfgram

Alon Confino, Germany as a Culture of Remembrance: Promises and Limits of Writing History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006)

Wulf Kansteiner, In Pursuit of German Memory: History, Television, and Politics after Auschwitz (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006)