Nationalism and Memory The ASEN Conference 2024 University of Edinburgh 9th to 11th April A strip of the University of Edinburgh Tartan with a semi-circular cut-out on the left hand side with the purple ASEN logo


A1 – Remembering and forgetting as a tool for nation building

Reconsidering Benedict Anderson’s “Characteristic Amnesias”. Forgetting and nationalism in Flanders and Quebec (1945-1995)
Kas Swerts

While ample attention has been devoted to the relation between memory and nationalism, the relevance of the social process of forgetting to constitute national identities has largely been ignored in nationalism studies. In this article, I will expand on the relevance of forgetting for nationalism by reconsidering a notion Benedict Anderson briefly introduced in the second edition of Imagined Communities: “characteristic amnesia(s)”. First, the presentation will problematize Anderson’s concept, pointing out the deficiencies it has in its initial conceptualization. It will subsequently further develop Anderson’s notion by introducing three different ways the concept of characteristic amnesia can prove relevant for the study of nationalism. This will be explained, secondly, by comparing two different cases in which the notion of characteristic amnesia holds particular sway: postwar Quebec and Flanders. The presentation will highlight the difference between the two cases, illustrating how a diverging emergence of characteristic amnesias resulted in a different conceptualization of Quebecois and Flemish national identity. By expanding on Anderson’s notion of characteristic amnesia on the one hand, further developing the concept by presenting different ways it is relevant for the study of nationalism, and on the other hand illustrating its applicability to different cases, this presentation will highlight the relevance of the process of forgetting for the construction of national identities, further encouraging a critical engagement with not only Anderson’s notion of characteristic amnesia, but the social process of forgetting overall.

Remembering “Slovenian origins” after independence: The case study of national and cultural identities in Slovenian Istria
Maja Zadel and Barbara Gornik

Remembering as well as forgetting is a crucial feature of all social groups (Halbwachs 2001 [1992]); all groups want to have a monopoly over the memory of its members, and nations are among them. As Hobsbawm (2021 [1983]) points out, invented traditions are sets of practices, “which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition” and repetition “automatically implies continuity with the past” (Hobsbawm 2021 [1983], 1). Following a social constructionist approach, we argue that nations are modern inventions, which seek their “roots” in the definite, but almost primordial times of (pre)historic past. In the case of Slovenia, the collective memory was being redefined at the time of independence, in 1991 – the one focusing on primordial existence of Sloveniannes and distancing from (until then common) Yugoslavness. The nationalistic discourse presupposing a linear development with emphasis on ethnosymbolic elements in Slovenian nation-building gain prominence, tracing the construction of Slovenian nationalism back to the 10th century or even before (Šumi 2000; Pušnik 2011; Kosi 2013 Bajt 2011). Following the Slovenian case, the paper will present the result of the case study carried out in Slovenian border area of Slovenian Istria. The paper will, drawing from the results of a public opinion telephone survey and life history interviews, present how the inhabitants of Slovenian Istria define themselves and articulate their identities, Sloveniannes and Slovenian culture.

Remembering Bourguiba: Discursive Constructions of Tunisian nationalism in post-2011 Tunisia through narratives about President Bourguiba’s legacy
Mohsen Hrizi

Tunisia’s attempt at rediscovering its national identity in the early years after the 2011 Tunisian Revolution polarized society and unleashed a heated debate that was capitalized upon by progressive and Islamist political parties. These two sides strove to draw on different components of the Tunisian “social political unconscious” (Dalal, 1998 in Ettin, 2001, p.264) in order to produce different accounts, adapted to their agendas, of the historical processes that had forged Tunisia’s national identity. In the present research, I dwell on how the legacy of former President Habib Bourguiba, who ruled Tunisia from 1957 to 1987, provided a raw material for some elites in order to discursively produce a narrative that claimed to present a nationalist alternative to the polarization between Islamists and progressives. This discursive production of a nationalist account of Tunisia’s past assembled memories, events, and cultural symbols into this narrative. For the purpose of conducting this research, I subject a sample of post-2011 statements, newspaper articles, and TV, radio, and online debates on Tunisian identity and politics to a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), drawing on the methodology suggested by Fairclough (1989; 1993; 1995). As I discuss the specificities of Bourguibism as a primarily Tunisian nationalist policy and worldview that deviates from the transnational reach of traditional political movements in the Arab World like Islamism, Marxism, and Pan-Arab Nationalism, I draw on Critical Layered Analysis (CLA) (Inayatullah, 2010) in order to discuss the potential for Bouguiba’s legacy to contribute to the emergence of nation-bound nationalism in the future.

A2 – Truth and reconciliation

Truth Commissions, Memory and the Failure of Liberal Nation-Building in Bosnia and Herzegovina: the Case of the 2004 Republika Srpska Srebrenica Commission
Jasna Dragovic-Soso

Truth commissions, a key mechanism of transitional justice in post-authoritarian and post-conflict states, have served as tools of liberal nation-building in a variety of cases ranging from Chile to South Africa. By constructing a victim-focused truth-narrative of the past, they seek to establish a basis for civic nationhood and an inclusive ideology that ‘reconciles’ former victims, perpetrators and their societies, as well serving as a first step towards accountability and institutional reform. However, truth commissions are liminal mechanisms and, while their narratives may have an impact in the immediate by generating official apologies and promises of reform and facilitating more constructive public dialogue about the past, such initial breakthroughs are often short-lived and fail to produce genuine structural change. Pre-existing nationalist cognitive frameworks, along with collective memories of conflict which contain their own narratives of heroism and victimhood, provide an alternative ideological repository for the shaping of ‘truth’ about the past. How do these temporalities and narratives intersect in practice and what does this tell us about the possibilities of ‘reconciliation’ through liberal nation-building? This paper considers these themes by focusing on the history of the 2004 truth commission of the Republika Srpska to address its role in the Srebrenica genocide of 1995—from acting as a reluctant but significant catalyst of reckoning and apology to its complete reversal, when in 2018 the commission was officially repudiated in favour of an alternative ‘truth-narrative’ minimising RS responsibility in Srebrenica.

Ethnicity, Memory and Reconciliation in a Decolonising State: The Case of Mau Mau in Kenya, 1960-1969
Niels Boender

Every postcolonial polity, from the products of the violent anti-colonial uprisings of the 1950s to post-Soviet states in Eastern Europe, has to deal with some sort of question of reconciliation. Post-colonial nationhood faces the ubiquitous issue of dragooning together former collaborators and radical nationalists. Some, particularly in Africa, face the additional issue of building new identities in the midst of racial and ethnic frictions unleashed by the opportunities and machinations of the nationalist struggle. How the memory of this struggle is handled by elites and citizens alike thus becomes a crucial site for negotiating the terms of reconciliation, the manner in which different groups are included, and how the new political dispensation is shaped.

Kenya, which experienced brutal insurgency and counterinsurgency in the late-colonial Mau Mau Uprising during the 1950s, is a test case of this phenomenon. While the insurgency was defeated, Kenya nevertheless became independent three years later. Thereby former loyalists, often in the civil service, remained in place, while former guerrillas found important positions in politics or continued to agitate for land. Trying to manage this conflict became a crucially overlooked component of the postcolonial regime of Jomo Kenyatta, particularly as it was his own community, the Gikuyu, which were divided. How historical memory was publicly articulated was a crucial element in this. This paper, rooted in historical archival research, will argue that in the pursuit of a historical memory that could reconcile the rival wings of the Gikuyu, other ethnicities were excluded from the national narrative.

Justice and Reconciliation in relations between Jews and Germans of subsequent generations after the Holocaust
Steven Mock

This paper – intended as a reflective chapter in a book under development on antisemitism – unpacks the abstract concept of justice on a cognitive and emotional level, exploring how it interacts with collective memories of trauma and mass violence to impact relations between descendants of victim and perpetrator groups. Drawing from philosophy, anthropology, psychoanalytic theory, critical literary analysis and theology, it focuses in particular on the effect that the memory of the Holocaust has on relations between subsequent generations of Jews and Germans born after the event. Applying my own theories on the centrality of trauma and defeat to narratives of national identity (Mock 2012), to ideas developed by a friend and colleague as part of a symposium on post-Holocaust philosophy and theology (Frede-Wenger 2004), I examine how myths and rituals of sacrifice are deployed in various ways and with only partial success to resolve a lingering sense of justice unfulfilled that otherwise stands as a hindrance to meaningful dialogue.

Reconciliation, Actions, and Plans: The Nationalist Framing of Reconciliation in Canadian Municipal Reconciliation Action Plans
Kad Mariano

In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report and recommendations concerning settler colonialism in Canada and its harmful legacies on Indigenous people. In response, several municipalities published their own reconciliation action plans, attempting to localize and actualize the TRC’s national memory imperatives. These plans express intentions and promised actions to address systematic problems that have continuously harmed Indigenous people. Drawing on comparative content analysis of three municipal reconciliation action plans in Canada, namely those of Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver, this paper looks at how ‘reconciliation’ is depicted as a political project integral to the postcolonial reorientation of Canadian national identity. Specifically, I investigate the discourses, histories, and relationships that these action plans aim to mobilize and reference in order to reconfigure Canada’s collective memories of settler colonialism. I also examine how these mobilizations affect the state’s historical and contemporary relationship with Indigenous people and attempt to reimagine settler-Indigenous futurities in relation to identified historical injustices. How does this nationalist framing of reconciliation influence settler perceptions of Canada’s history, their responsibilities to Indigenous people, and their place in the world as a reconciling nation? And what important questions about reconciliation are left unimagined and unasked in these action plans?

A3 – Collective Memory Through Identity

The ‘Collective West’ Narrative for Communicating the Russian Invasion of Ukraine in Russia and Germany
Polina Zavershinskaia

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on 24th February 2022, was condemned by more than 140 countries worldwide. In contrast, the majority of the Russian population and certain political actors outside Russia continued to excuse Russian actions in Ukraine and reverberate the Kremlin’s propaganda. This paper deals with cultural reasons for this whitewashing of Russian aggression. Drawing on the narrative analysis in cultural sociology, I detail the Kremlin’s discursive sacralisation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine through the ‘collective West’ narrative, one of the cornerstone cyclic storytelling of the Kremlin’s propaganda at the foundation of the Russian national memory. This narrative capitalises on the antagonism of the ‘sovereign Russia’ against the purported power-grabbing ‘collective West’ represented by the US and other Western democracies. With this study, I argue that ‘collective West’ narrative is especially compelling during the Russian invasion of Ukraine since it portrayed this military conflict as the existential battle of Russia versus the ‘collective West’, representing Ukraine as a ‘tool’ weaponized by it to destroy purported ‘sovereign Russia’. Furthermore, I also explore whether this narrative had a transnational dimension being reproduced by some social actors outside Russia. Specifically, I focus on the mimicking of the ‘collective West’ narrative by the German far-right. The results show the narrative justification of violence through the Kremlin’s propaganda and its transnational potential.

Carving the collective trauma and nationalism in public spaces: the National Cohesion Monument in Budapest, Hungary
Graziela Ares

The use of memories of collective traumas such as the Holocaust and the Trianon Treaty is not restricted to XXI-century Hungarian politics. However, recently, it has (re)assumed a prominent role in the country´s historical fate, contributing to the personification of potential and imagined enemies and threatening, besides promoting polarization and nationalism in official discourse and public spaces. Since 2011, the reconfiguration of Kossuth Square in Budapest aimed to return the square to its 1944 state, when the preamble of the 2011 Constitution states that Hungary lost its sovereignty. The square and its elements were reorganized individually and collectively to contribute to the symbolic politics of Viktor Orbán’s government. My research investigates the impact of the Monument of National Solidarity built in the “main national square” in 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. It relies on semiology and focuses on aesthetics and materiality to relate the monuments’ parts (and corpus) with past and collective memory within current Hungarian politics. Besides the literature review, I use pictures, interviews with art history and sociology experts, and digitally published materials produced by official and independent channels to present this case study. I expect to assess and problematize how Hungarian illiberal democracy is combining the material and the symbolic to “carve in stone” its version of the past to impact the future of collective memory and nationalism.

A Comparative and Transnational View on Imperial War, Collective Memories and National Identities in the Borderlands of Europe: Identity Formation among Peripheral Minorities during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78
Aytac Yurukcu

The 1877–78 Russo-Turkish War, which involved the Ottoman Empire and the Eastern Orthodox-Pan-Slavic coalition of the Russian Empire (including Bulgarians, Serbians, and Montenegrins), shaped Eastern European nationalism, ethnic boundaries, and national identities. The conflict also affected ethnic majorities and peripheral minorities in the Russian Empire’s army, such as Finns, Estonians, Latvians, and Prussians. Minorities in Europe went through a lot of changes in their identities in the 1870s. Looking into how they were involved in a war between two of the biggest land empires at the time will help us understand how war affects identity and give us new information about the history of nationhood among Russian and Ottoman minorities, especially Finns and Bulgarians. Leading experts in nationalism and collective memory (Anderson, Brubaker, Colley, Hastings, Halbwachs, Balibar & Wallerstein, Berger & Miller, among others) have studied and discussed the effects of wars on the formation of national identities, but they have primarily focused on major powers while doing little to no research on borderland minorities. The aim of this study is to examine and comparatively analyze the narratives, impacts of war diaries, and collective memories (particularly enemy images, national and religious propaganda, massacres, alleged atrocities, and civilians) during the war through a comparison of their narratives by using the Finnish, Bulgarian, Russian, and Turkish soldier’s diaries as well as archival sources from these countries collections. The study asked: How were national narratives depicted and conveyed in the context of a faraway war? How did soldiers represent their national points of view, their understanding of minorities, ideologies between nationalism, nationalistic propaganda, and warmongering camouflaged as nationalism?

‘All aboard’: narratives of the nation and the politics of memory at the Eurovision Song Contest
Maria de Fátima Amante

The paper addresses the relationship between national identity and the politics of memory by analyzing the activity of the Portuguese public television station as host of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest edition in Lisbon. The paper argues that throughout the years the Public TV station has been a privileged actor in the promotion and interpretation of a specific collective past through the mise-en-scène at the ESC stage. By focusing on the narrative of the nation put forward during the 2018 ESC final show in Lisbon the paper highlights the tension between the perennial discursively constructed past and a contemporary sustained narrative of Lisbon as a cosmopolitan, multicultural city. Singularly relevant, the claim All Aboard for the ESC 2018 edition, encapsulated two of the most enduring characteristics of the nation’s collective memory, carefully crafted by ideology through historiography and cultural industries throughout the XX century: the sea, a perennial symbol of national identity and the inclusive nature of the Portuguese colonial project, through miscegenation, a long-lasting tale about Portuguese colonialism. Hence, the paper enters the discussion on the continuities of the colonial in the post-colonial Portuguese society. The paper draws on media ethnography, through the analysis of the Portuguese participation in ESC shows through the years, especially the 2018 ESC final show held in Lisbon produced by the national TV station, and the making of a documentary broadcasted in the same year.

A4 – Uses and abuses of memory

Memory abuse: Historical revisionism and narrative manipulation in war-time Croatia
Taylor McConnell

This paper builds from ongoing work on a monograph tentatively entitled ‘Memory Abuse: Historical Violence and Contemporary Identity Politics in the former Yugoslavia’, which itself develops from my doctoral work at the University of Edinburgh on violence, memory, identity, and power in modern Croatia. Here, I expand on my concept of ‘memory abuse’ and examine its consequences through a case study of the 1991–1995 Croatian War of Independence. The process of ‘Othering’ Croatian Serbs, coupled with acts of ethnic cleansing towards the war’s conclusion, are the outcomes of decades-long struggles for some form of Croatian autonomy within (or ultimately outside of) the federal Yugoslav structure. These struggles were accompanied by assertions of Croatian nationhood as defined exclusively by Croat ethnicity, which built on a narrative of millennial continuity of Croatian statehood, with Yugoslavia as an aberration that for the first time in 1,000 years had erased ‘Croatia’ from the political map. The paper highlights the roles played, among others, by Croatian President Franjo Tuđman, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević, Croatian general Ante Gotovina and various organisations of Croatian ‘defenders’ (Homeland War veterans), who contributed to the violence of the 1990s through their interpretations and performances of historical memory.

This work will feed into one of the core empirical chapters of the monograph, which further builds upon the extant sociological literature on violence (see Malešević 2006; 2016; 2022), post-conflict memory (Otele et al. 2021; Bazin et al. 2023), and power (Wrong 1996; Hearn 2012), among other interrelated concepts.

“Which Day Should be the National Day?” – Mythmaking and Commemoration in Bulgaria
Chris Kostov

This paper addresses a highly contentious issue that has ignited nationwide debates in Bulgarian society since 1990. These discussions have gained even more momentum in light of proposed changes to the Bulgarian constitution. Currently, Bulgaria observes its national holiday on the 3rd of March, a designation made by President Petar Mladenov through a decree on February 27th, 1990. Additionally, the last communist National Assembly declared in 1990 March 3rd as Bulgaria’s National Day.

However, the 2023 draft for constitutional amendments, put forth by the “”We Continue the Change – Democratic Bulgaria”” Political Coalition, suggests that the 24th of May should be recognized as a national holiday. This date traditionally marks the celebration of Slavonic script and Bulgarian culture in Bulgaria. Throughout this debate, various political parties, Bulgarian intellectuals, and historians have put forward alternative dates, such as September 6th for Unification Day and September 22nd for Independence Day. There have also been suggestions to consider other dates, like the 20th of April, which commemorates the outbreak of the April Uprising in 1876, and the 16th of April, the day of the adoption of the Tarnovo Constitution in 1879, viewed by some historians as the true inception of Bulgarian statehood.

This paper contends that this array of proposed dates is not arbitrary. Each of these dates is linked to a specific collective memory and interpretation of Bulgaria’s past. These proposals aim to establish a dominant narrative and the commemoration of a particular event as the most pivotal within Bulgarian society.

The Russian Civil War in the Northern Caucasus: contemporary ethnic and religious conflicts in Dagestan through the frame of collective memory
Grigory Grigoryev

Dagestan is the most ethnically diverse and religious republic in the Russian Federation, which suffers from extreme levels of state violence, corruption and unemployment. Local legal practices are split between Sharia, Russian and local customary law, while the religious field is contested between those loyal to the Moscow Muftiate, Wahhabi followers and village communities who do not recognize the authority of the former two. At the same time, Dagestan is home to at least 32 ethnic groups who compete for the scarce material and ideological resources. One of these resources is the past, for although open public discussions of nationalism, ethnic and religious violence are tabooed, the space of historical imagination allows Dagestanis to express some sensitive ideas through allegorical historical narratives.
This paper is based on extensive field work and seven years of research and is dedicated to the historical imagination and collective identities of three ethnic groups of Dagestan. To reconstruct the identities of Avar, Dargin and Kumyk peoples, reveal the ethnic borders between them and investigate their attitude towards the Russian rule, I propose to look into their collective memory of the Russian Civil War (1917-1922). In order to distil the ethnic differences and the notions of nationalism, I focus on the images of three local ‘heroes’ of Civil War period. My informants describe these personae as exemplar embodiments of their own ideals and aspirations, which allows me to treat the biographies of these leaders as identity narratives of the corresponding ethnic groups.

A5 – Nationalism and Migration 1

They ‘didn’t leave a trace’? – The history and memorialisation of Belgian refugees in Britain
Henry Holborn

This paper considers the memorialisation and historical research of Belgian refugees from the First World War in Britain. It questions the narrative in the media that they ‘didn’t leave a trace’.1 This group constituted the largest singular refugee movement in British history. Whilst there was an extensive scheme to support Belgians arriving in Britain, their maintenance was limited to local government and the support of humanitarian organisations. Furthermore, they came under scrutiny through the stringent Aliens Restrictions Act and were subject to transnational policing. At the end of the conflict, the British state engineered a mass repatriation scheme which was largely successful. However, through marriage or work, some resisted the call to return to Belgium. The temporal nature of the majority of Belgian’s stay meant the lack of a significant long-term migrant community staying in Britain. Additionally, the post-war memory boom largely focused on patriotic narratives of military service, leaving less space to commemorate refugee movements. However, this paper will demonstrate that there was a large degree of memorialisation of the refugees in the immediate aftermath of the war, particularly in the local press. It will also highlight that the emerging historiography and public history of the refugees has played a significant role in re-addressing this ‘forgotten past’.

Moveable Feasts: Exploring the role of foodways in the process of acculturation by late twentieth century Glasgow’s South Asian migrant community
Johnnie Anderson

According to the city’s slogan ‘People make Glasgow’. As an ever evolving, multicultural city Glasgow has long been the epicentre of Scottish migration as both Scotland’s largest city and predominate port of entry. Additionally, Glasgow is the often cited as the ‘birthplace’ of Britain’s favourite takeaway dish, the Chicken Tikka Masala, highlighting its ability to celebrate that diversity. This paper intends to contribute a new way of understanding both the history of migration and of social and cultural acculturation using Glasgow’s South Asian migrant community from the 1960s through the 1990s as a case study. Utilising oral history testimonies from the both migrant and Glasgow-born residents, this paper demonstrates how foodways can be used to both express and understand identity during a period of considerable change. Participants discuss the ways in which food and culinary cultural practises were used to maintain links to their heritage during the process of migration and settlement in Glasgow. They also recall memories of Glasgow’s changing social and cultural landscape associated with the acculturation of a migrant community from the Commonwealth at a time when political discourse around such communities was fraught with contradictions. Racialised concepts of Commonwealth migrants deemed ‘(un)deserving’ of maintaining citizenship rights are explored here in relation to archival material from the political and public discourse of the period alongside participants personal memories. This allows this paper to offer new insights into how memory, and both localised and national identity formation, can be explored in historic contexts.

Transnational and National Memory in Practising Charity among Overseas Chinese from Fujian
Dongwei Wang

Migrants’ memory of the homeland and nation influences various transnational activities in many ways, shaping and impacting the practise of charity (or xingshan, in Chinese). This is one of the important economic transnational activities among Chinese migrants both from elite and grassroots backgrounds since the 1850s, has not yet been articulated in detail in the existing literature. This research brings homeland orientation as an authoritative source of value, identity and loyalty (Brubaker, 2005), Kuah’s (2006) conceptual framework of ‘transnational self’, and Barabantseva’s (2010) chronological delineation of China’s modernisation as the analytic tool, to elaborate on how transnational and national memories in different historical periods maintain long-distance nationalism and shape practising charity as a moral obligation on overseas Chinese in participating China’s national building, and in turn, how these charitable activities rebrand the national images of China among Chinese migrants from Fujian. Dividing China’s nation building into three periods: the period of socialist national building (1949-1978), the period of modernisation in post-reform-and-opening-up (1978-2000), and the period of China’s socialist market economy development (2000-2022), this article analyses the mechanism of overseas Chinese from Fujian charity-giving to the home village and other places in the hometown. In doing so, we found the charity-givers, the donation forms and methods, and the scale of charitable activities are diverse and have been implicated by the changing of transnational identity, national image of China and memory of hometown in three historical periods. It is hoped that the findings of this research will enrich the understanding on the experience of overseas Chinese practising charity in contemporary China.

A6 – Memory, Mythmaking, and National Identity

Myth, Memory and Kurdish Nationalism, from the Last Era of the Ottomans to Today
Savaş Dede

This paper aims to examine the Kurdish nationalist memory through its constitutive myth. The main claim in this study is that construction myths are not always tools of nationalistic struggles, but sometimes their result. My argument for Kurdish nationalism and its constitutive myth is that, as Kurds live in Turkey, have been in search of justice more than independence throughout history. This induced them to choose Kawa the Blacksmith as a constitutive myth or mythomoteur, a mythical character who represents justice, not power, in Kurdish and Iranian mythologies. The study will consist of three time periods: the first is the period between 1908 and 1918, when Kawa was started to be used as a mythomoteur; the second period is the period between 1960 and 2000, when Kurdish nationalism demanded absolute sovereignty. It seems that other mythical characters that symbolize more political power than justice, such as Rustam, had begun to be mentioned during this period; the last one is the period from 2000 to the present, the period when the Kurdish movement announced the waiver of its independent Kurdistan. During this period, the Kurdish movement in Turkey eliminated all other myths but Kaveh. The study will draw on findings from my PhD dissertation but will also utilize periodicals such as Demokratik Modernite (Democratic Modernity), to understand the current politics of the Kurds.

The Westernmost People of the East – Myths about the Hungarian National Origin and Their Utilization in Contemporary Politics
Rita Hornok

The proposed paper aims to analyze the processes of mythologization as a political tool in constructing narratives of community (national or international) in contemporary Hungary. The use of national myths in contemporary politics is studied on the case of the Turan myth, which refers to the Hungarian myths of (Central Asian) nomadic-warrior origin and perceived ethnic kinship with Turkic peoples. The research focuses on Hungarian political discourses and the policies since 2010, which reflect the use of the myth of Turan as part of a political strategy (e.g. the ‘Eastern Opening’ and joining the Turkic Council). A “turanist orientation” moreover is promoted by a set of recently emerged government-funded cultural, academic, and political institutions. The main aim of the research is to investigate how the myths about the Hungarians’ non-European origins and the idea of a Turkic alliance are instrumentalized in current Hungarian politics, on two levels: 1) how the myth of Turan is instrumentalized on the national level to (re)construct a narrative about Hungarian national identity (as the “Westernmost people of the East”) and 2) on the international level, how it is used to shape Hungary’s foreign policy and national self-positioning between the East and West in international relations.
The research is situated at the intersection of memory studies and political science, and adopts qualitative-interpretive methodology: it is based on political discourse analysis, and content analysis of the materials of related cultural, academic, and political institutions. It applies the theoretical framework of the political myth.

Reconstruction of the Past: A Postmortem of Turkey’s Centenary
Irem Elbir

Many Turkish citizens’ childhood memories are brimming with scenes from national holiday festivities. This includes the spirited recitation of heroic poems, folk dance displays, and school presentations. On the 29th of October 2023, Turkey celebrated centenary of its establishment. However, the program planned for the 100th anniversary of the Republic, which President Erdoğan had enthusiastically called for three years ago, faced criticism for being “lackluster”. Since it came to power in 2002, Justice and Development Party (JDP) has had an appeal to Islamic-nationalist imagination and Ottoman past to legitimize neo-conservative structure in Turkey. This study examines complex connection between nationalism and memory, aiming to show how past is reconstructed in the centenary celebration of Turkey by the JDP. Hence, the study poses the question: How was Islamic-nationalist identity at the heart of the centenary celebrations which obscured Westernized identity and Kemalist historiography? For this aim, the study will focus on the website named “Yüzüncü Yıl” for the centenary celebrations organized by the Presidency Office of Turkey. The website has information about historical timeline of the country, the projects, and events for the celebrations. Drawing upon the literature on nationalism, collective memory and nostalgia, this study uses multimodal critical discourse analysis to identify the narratives and discursive characteristics of the website. This methodology will provide social, historical, and cultural factors reflected in multiple modes of communication. The analysis leads to the conclusion that the JDP instrumentalized Islamic-nationalist identity in the reconstruction of the past as it also tries to intervene how society remembers.

How a common past has been turned into two national histories: History, politics and methodological nationalism in Norway and Denmark
Rasmus Glenthøj

In this paper, I examine the conflict between history as an ideal and history as a reality by discussing how the grand national master narratives in Norway and Denmark were created and how they have shaped different perception of a common past (the union between Denmark and Norway between 1830 and 1814). The main emphasis will be on Norwegian history, but Denmark will provide a comparative perspective to see similarities, differences, and connections and to avoid methodological nationalism.

I argue that politics and ideology have played a crucial role in both Norwegian and Danish historiography, and that this has influenced the understanding both of history and politics in these two countries (cf. Snyders’ concept of the ‘politics of inevitability’).

The result is two national narratives that suits the two national self-perceptions and current political needs but are mutually incompatible despite the strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In Norwegian history is read in post-colonial terms while Danish historiography suffers from post-imperial amnesia. What they have in common, however, is an understanding of history that is teleological, characterised by methodological nationalism and that denies the futures past (cf. Koselleck).

B1 – Collective memory and writing history

Historical memory and nation-building in post-socialist Mongolia: the case of Chinggis Khaan
Munkhtamir Damdinsuren

This presentation delves into the intricate interplay between historical memory and nation-building, with a specific focus on the post-socialist Mongolian state’s adept utilization of national historical hero, crossing in the context of the history, politics, collective memory, and identity of the nation. This empirical study aims to unravel the mechanisms involved in state’s strategically using the figure of Chinggis Khaan, the founder of the Mongolian Empire, in the top-down reconstruction of national identity in the period after the ideological constraints of socialism. I employ a combination of content analysis in official documents and political discourse analysis in state-led initiatives in nation-building efforts in this study. Then, I argue that the strategic deployment of Chinggis Khaan extends beyond a mere historical representation and it is strategically positioned as a unifying symbol of the Mongolian people, serving to legitimize the ongoing nation and state-building endeavors. Through an analysis of the state’s narrative construction and deployment of Chinggis Khaan, the study contributes to the broader discourse on the role of historical memory in nation-building, offering insights into how a historical figure can serve as a potent tool for shaping collective identity and fostering unity within a nation.

Architects, Heroes and Rejects: The Rise and Fall of Right-wing Lebanese Nationalism
Renée Ragin Randall

This paper charts the celebrated ascendance and then the unceremonious [dumping] of right-wing Lebanese nationalist thought in political, intellectual and literary circles from the 1930s to 1990. These dates correspond with modern Lebanon’s status as a colonial French mandate (1923-1943) and the end of a 15-year internationalized civil war (1975-1990). It is a discourse, I show, that has been articulated most strongly during moments of contestation and disagreement on the national character of the state; which is predicated on claims about and on Lebanon’s prenational past; and which intended to stake a claim on a promised—and yet seemingly always deferred—postconflict future.

I begin with a discussion of the centrality of mythology, colonial and revisionist historiography, and even literary archival practices to a discourse on Lebanese nationalism-in-the making, highlighting in particular the writings of religious clerical historians, French intellectuals and Lebanese political leaders as they are reworked into celebrated literary fiction (1930-1950). I demonstrate how these writers braid together multiple epistemological disciplines in order to craft the very history they claimed already existed. I then trace how these literary discourses show up in the polemical language of political actors at the paroxysm of communal violence (1975-1990), before being silenced by the postwar amnesty laws and pushed underground. I finish with a discussion of the staying-power of these narratives through an analysis of their echoes in the testimony of anonymous agents of one of the country’s most infamous massacres, carried out in 1982 in the name of purging Lebanon of its so-called enemies.

Nation and Prehistory: The Role of Early Prehistoric Research in Hungarian Nation-Building
Henrich Hőnich

The Revolution and War of Independence of 1848–49 and the decade and a half that preceded it play a prominent role in modern Hungarian national consciousness; the period known as the Reform Era plays essentially the role of the founding period of Hungarian nationalism in Hungarian historical memory. However, the Reform Era as the first major period of Hungarian nation-building somewhat obscures the importance of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries for the development of national consciousness, although research in recent decades increasingly suggests that modern Hungarian nationalism and nationalism are in many ways linked to the pre-Reform Era period of Hungarian history, since the Reform Era did not so much overwrite the past as reinterpreted and reused it.
One of the key areas in which the past was used for nation-building was prehistory. It was precisely at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries that the first development of the collection of prehistoric material began, and as such, it implicitly coincided with the development of critical source analysis and publication and the first phase of the professionalization of historiography.
In my talk, I will examine the prehistoric research of this period, its methods, and its results, primarily from the perspective of intellectual history, understood primarily as the history of discourse. My main aim will be to analyze the discourse on prehistory in the period from a contextualist point of view, unpacking the stakes of the debates within the relevant contextual frameworks. I would like to show how, at this early stage of the discourse on prehistory, certain elements of national history began to be constructed, while also pointing out that this took place within the framework of the medieval construction of natio Hungarica, which was still dominant at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. From the point of view of theories of nationalism, the perspective of my presentation is most closely related to that of ethnosymbolism, but at the same time, it seeks to draw on the ideas of modernist approaches that emphasize the role of national awakeners and invented traditions, attempting to transcend the classical debates between the two tendencies with a kind of practical-historical attitude.

B2 – Nation building and coloniality

Sorry not sorry: A critical discourse analysis of European cognitions of colonial injustices between 2020 and 2022
Bruna A. Gonçalves

Between 1995 and 2022, representatives of European states commemorated colonialism and specific episodes of violence committed by their predecessors on 21 occasions. This research conducts a discourse analysis of these texts to investigate whether the commemorations challenge or reinforce the structures of subalternisation. It traces the structuralizing power of discourse to collective memory, drawing on memory and post-colonial studies. The founding myths of colonization are framed as essential elements of the mnemonic hegemony of colonial powers. By reinforcing these hegemonic narratives, European states risk revictimizing colonized communities by perpetuating the epistemicide that supported centuries-long exploitation and oppression. In this case, the acts of remembrance function as opportunist political manoeuvres that mitigate real change.

The research is divided into two parts. The first part presents a theoretical framework of how memories have been used to legitimize racial imbalances by shaping worldviews. It also provides an overview of the different uses of memory by approaches to justice, distinguishing between transformation and reparation mechanisms. The second part dissects the remembrance texts, retrieved through archival research, and groups them according to coinciding narratives.

On the coloniality of national(ist) collective memory in Romania
Simina Dragos

In this presentation, I argue that the memory politics of the Romanian national history curriculum (re)produces coloniality of memory regarding Roma people. Coloniality of memory describes techniques of systematic and systemic silencing and invisibilisation, reproducing hierarchies of worth, importance and legitimacy within collective memory registers, in this case, the national Romanian collective memory. I argue that the Romanian state can define itself as a Romanian – ethnic – nation-state because of coloniality of memory. The coloniality of memory works to erase the existence in, and contribution to, the Romanian state of minority ethnic groups, notably Roma, from mainstream collective memory. My argument is based on a critical discourse analysis of the following threefold corpus: 1) the national curriculum for the subject ‘The History of Romanians’; 2) government guidance for history teachers, and 3) the national exam questions for the subject ‘The History of Romanians’. I thus understand state-sanctioned knowledge through schooling to be a key mechanism, and the classroom a key site, for the formation of hegemonic collective memory. The analysis indicates that racialised hierarchies can be legitimised through national(ist) collective memory, but also enacted in the domain of collective memory – this is how coloniality of memory reinforces coloniality of being. Overall, my contention is that the coherence of the Romanian state rests on the coloniality of memory, achieved, in part, through education as a space of state-led collective memory.

Against the Lost Empire:  Shifting Narratives of Imperial Past in Catalonia and Slovakia
Gemma Sala and Deborah L. Michaels

The rise of nationalism marked the end of Empires, but it also made sure they would not be forgotten. Where Empires collapsed, nations emerged that narrated their identities and legitimated their existence with and against the memories of empire. While successor states of the former imperial powers often based their national identity on the glory of a golden era, peripheral territories drew on shared suffering as a unifying expression of the nation. Such dichotomies, however, miss the nuanced spaces in between. How is the Empire remembered in territories that were neither at its center nor the periphery? What is the narrative in nations that were neither simply net beneficiaries nor systematic victims?

This paper explores the national narratives of the Spanish Empire in Catalonia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Slovakia at key stages from 1900 to today, as expressed in museums, schoolbooks and government-provided teaching resources. It traces these territories’ ambiguous and shifting position towards these empires and analyzes the development of a national memory that negotiates their involvement and denunciation of the imperial past. Our analysis of these nations’ memories of empire transcends and challenges views that often focus on dichotomous, in-group and out-group dynamics, and unpacks the complexity of these nation-building strategies. We explore the extent to which the different economic, political, demographic and geographic relevance of these two territories during empire shaped the nation-building narratives available in Catalonia and Slovakia, aiming to identify the range of constraints and opportunities that drive this form of nation-building.

Remembering against whiteness and the nation-state
Gaspard Rey

My communication is part of a thesis in the making in political theory which investigates the weight of whiteness, understood as a colonial formation of power, on global antiracist movements. It will propose to interrogate to what extent contemporary pedagogical projects for social change based on racial literacy and memory work often end up reinvesting an acritical ‘authentic’ reading of race in the present. Influenced by black feminist and critical race theories, I will wonder how projects such as remembering or learning one’s racial/colonial history have tended to recast race as a historical inevitability, neglecting its lethal state-sanctioned systemic function of ordering the terms of the ‘human’.

Starting from the Swiss national context, a European context in a time of ‘racial awakening’ or ‘loss of colonial innocence’, I will interrogate the tension produced by growing calls for memory work that foreclose possibilities to think anticolonial futures and recondition social change on the nation-state form and its historical constitutive relation to whiteness.

Working with several memoires and autobiographies sharing a same desire of dismantling racist structures, my presentation will investigate the poetic, affective, cultural, ideological elements informing their historiographic positions. I will propose an exploration of the aesthetic registers through which they practice the work of remembering the histories of their racial and (post)colonial present. In this optic, to better understand how racial attachments to the nation-state are elaborated anew through (extra-)narratological articulations of memory in the aim of social change should help us think non-racist futures against whiteness.

B3 – Remembering the War Through Places

German World War II military cemeteries in Finland at the intersection of national and transnational memory cultures
Olga Juutistenaho

This paper focuses on German World War II military cemeteries in Finland as representations of both national and transnational difficult heritage. Since the late 1980s, Finnish WWII memory culture has been dominated by the so-called neo-patriotic turn, emphasizing a heroic, nationalist narrative and neglecting more contested aspects of the past, such as the military alliance between Finland and Nazi Germany (1941-1944). As spatial remnants of this alliance, German war cemeteries in Finland are at odds with the national public memory culture. Moreover, their spatial inaccessibility embodies the invisibility of the Fenno-German alliance in the Finnish collective memory of the war.

In this paper, two German war cemeteries in Finland, Norvajärvi in Rovaniemi and Honkanummi in Vantaa, are spatially analysed in various scales. In the field of critical heritage studies, scale provides an important spatial hierarchy. The case sites of Norvajärvi and Honkanummi have various spatial, aesthetic, and sociopolitical meanings depending on the scale of perception. In their urban contexts, both case sites seem remote, poorly accessible, and therefore invisible. At the national level, they exist outside the authorized heritage discourse. While being marginal and often forgotten curiosities in Finland, as German war cemeteries they are also a part of a transnational heritage network. The transnational character of these sites challenges the national paradigm of Finnish memory culture and encourages a closer, critical look at the role of Finland in WWII.

Battlegrounds of Memory: Unveiling Far-Right Hypernationalism at War Memorial Sites
Thalia Prokopiou

This study employs critical discourse analysis to explore Greek far-right hyper-nationalist discourses surrounding war memorial sites as venues for memory ceremonies. Focusing on the 2013 “”Honor and Memory ceremonies”” organized by the neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn at Thermopylae and Meligalas, the research investigates the intricate link between memorialization places and hypernationalism within far-right texts.

Ancient battlefield memorial sites, like Thermopylae, and also more recent ones, like Meligalas in Southern Greece, are not only used as places for far-right gatherings but also as powerful metaphors for the contemporary Greek (and international) far-right identity. Presented by the far-right wing as “eternal battlefields”, these historical sites, allude to the notion of “ethnoscape”, a historic terrain of the homeland endowed with emotion and tied to an ethnic group who feels the homeland as part of their character and a “unique and indispensable setting of the events that shaped the community”, including battlefields and landscapes of collective memories and experience .

Such metonymical imaginations are often employed together with revisionist historical narratives and one-sided representations of historical places. In addition, the presence of Golden Dawn members in war memorials amplified its self-representation as a “movement” and its populist undertones motivated more members to participate in battalion squads in urban locations, claiming space in the capital and committing violent crimes as well.

Sites of War – Sites of Reconciliation? – Framing World War One on the Western Front in the Twenty-first Century
Sarah Fissmer

More than one hundred years after the end of the First World War, the Western Front still bears witness to this seminal event. West Flanders and Northern France are dotted with countless national and international cemeteries, preserved battlefields, monuments and museums which are still visited by numerous British people even post-centenary. Such lieux de mémoire are at the centre of this paper which is based on my ongoing PhD. In times of rising populism, Brexit and continuous armed conflict – the Ukraine comes to mind as well as more recently the war between the Hamas and Israel – questions of how to use the commemoration of wars to promote reconciliation and international understanding become increasingly important. My PhD analyses in how far these still well-frequented, often national sites of memory on the Western Front frame World War One in such a way that its commemoration helps to foster reconciliation and encourages visitors to look beyond solely national perspectives. The case study for this PhD was conducted at the end of the centenary, in 2018/19, as well as post-centenary in 2022 and resulted in an extensive photo documentation of the chosen sites’ visual symbolism as well as of the texts on display. The theoretical foundation for this study is based on memory studies, material culture studies and theories of reconciliation and uses a frame analysis, consisting of manually coded predetermined frames and a qualitative analysis, as its methodology. The aim of this paper is to present some exemplary findings of this PhD research.

B4 – The Place of Ethnic Discrimination and Genocide in the Memory

Will all blood testify? Mourning, Memory and Silences in Kashmir
Idreas Khandy

Khoon Diy Baarav (Blood Will Testify) is a popular saying invoked by Koshur-speaking people in Kashmir, especially in the context of violence inflicted by the State of India. The memorialisation of killings and massacres committed by the armed forces of the Indian State is an important element in the discourse of the ongoing Kashmiri nationalist movement. While such memorialisation must be granted its due significance and treated as a public counter-history/memory and resistance against official and institutionally authorised history, this article seeks to centre the silences such memorialisation conceals. The silences, I argue, undermine the claims of representativeness of the Kashmiri nationalist movement. Further, the silences inadvertently lead to a loss of control over the ‘lived history’ for the people of Kashmir as the partial histories are weaponised by the (post) colonial states of India and Pakistan to reinforce statist narratives -rooted in the parochial two-nation theory, at the cost of social and political aspirations of the people of Kashmir. Finally, I argue that such weaponisation of ‘partial histories’ entrenches a spatial structuring of thought and possibility whose ultimate casualty could be the prospect of establishing an inclusive Kashmiri nation as knowledge takes on the form of blood. This article’s materials for its arguments and analyses include calendars, graffiti, digital art, music, newspaper editorials and archives, and historical works (academic and non-academic) that have emerged from Kashmir.

Multipastism: Collective Memory, Ethnic Conflict, and Anti-Muslim Discrimination in Global Perspective
Promise Frank Ejiofor

Despite the prevalence of anti-Muslim discrimination in parts of Africa, the two predominant conceptualisations of Islamophobia are problematically Eurocentric and, as a consequence, tend to pay little attention to manifestations of the phenomenon in the African continent. On the one hand, the cultural racism model which defines Islamophobia as a form of cultural racism focuses on the racial experiences of non-white immigrant Muslims―especially immigrant Muslims of South Asian and Arab ancestry and physical appearance―in Europe and North America. On the other hand, globalist models tend to theorise Islamophobia as a form of racism manufactured in the West by way of European colonial capitalism and orientalism and exported willy-nilly to all parts of the non-Western world after the gruesome 9/11 terrorist attacks on American territory and the Global War on Terror. In both accounts, Euro-American histories of imperialism are routinely posited as the starting point for the analysis of Islamophobia across all continents including Africa. That various manifestations of Islamophobia have their unique histories, sources, and contours that cannot―and should not―be reduced to the history of Europeans in Africa is generally circumvented in favour of grand narratives that prioritise Eurocentric epistemologies. In this article, I problematise these hegemonic interpretations of Islamophobia from an African perspective. Drawing on collective memory literature and focusing on ethnic conflicts in Nigeria―the African state with the largest Muslim population―I retheorise and reformulate Islamophobia as anti-Muslim tribalism embedded in varied and various collective memories of groups’ power contestations that inexorably differ from one local context to another.

“We Are Second-Class Citizens”: Zimbabwe’s Gukurahundi Massacres and Ethno-linguistic Consciousness Amongst the Second Generation
Lena Reim

This paper explores how young Ndebele-speakers draw on the memory of unresolved state repression, known as Gukurahundi, to voice their sense of rejection not only from the Zimbabwean state but from Zimbabwean nationhood. Between 1982 and 1987, Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland and Midland’s provinces witnessed brutal military repression that targeted the political opposition and its stronghold amongst Zimbabwe’s Ndebele-speaking minority. Over 30 years later, the perpetrator party remains in power while no genuine efforts of reckoning have taken place. Drawing on extensive fieldwork between 2018 and 2022, including over a hundred interviews and observations of public events and engagement, this paper explores practices of remembering and narrating Gukurahundi within a second generation of victims. My findings reveal that state repression of Gukurahundi from the national record has failed to foster “forgetting” and has instead allowed grievances to fester across generations. Rather than adopting their parents’ narratives, however, members of the second generation are re-constructing the meaning of Gukurahundi in light of their present-day context. Drawing on Liisa Malkki’s concept of mythico histories, I show how Gukurahundi has come to form the central event in a larger and popular narrative about Zimbabwe’s moral and political order in which Ndebele speakers are posited as “second class citizens”. By situating the emergence of this narrative in socio-political and economic shifts over the past two decades, this paper explores the contexts in which silenced histories may re-emerge and may challenge national orders in new ways.

“I Solemnly Declare that I will Speak the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth”: Afterlife of the ICTY Victims’ Testimonies
Nikola Gajić

The paper encapsulates a significant aspect of my ongoing PhD project, focusing on the role of victim-witness court testimonies in front of the ICTY in shaping the memory of the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia. The thesis examines the political instrumentalization of testimonies by political actors and national churches as social agents influencing war-related memories in the post-Yugoslav space. The central question driving the analysis is how political and religious actors instrumentalize victims’ testimonies in constructing the public memory of post-conflict wars. The hypothesis tested claims that such instrumentalization leads to the alienation of victims from their testimonies, turning them into tools for political power and resulting in the disenfranchisement and neglect of victims. The research employs digital humanities tools as an innovative approach for utilizing a micro perspective on the issue by focusing on individual cases. The study underscores the significance of testimonies as mediums for memory politics, highlighting that memory not only depicts particular events but also promotes and spreads social values rooted in them. Politicized by political actors, the shared mnemonic perception of conflicts influences the behavioral practices of the broader public. In the context of post-conflict nations and the growing nationalist discourse, the research emphasizes the critical examination of the role and potential misuse of court testimonies. It aims to shed light on the mnemonic afterlife of victims’ court testimonies, critically assess reconciliation processes, and provide a new empirical example for comparative post-conflict contexts.

B5 – Nationalism and Migration 2

Palestinian Arabs or Arameans? Different narratives of those displaced from Kafr Bir’im
Marta Wozniak-Bobinska

Kafr Bir’im is a former Maronite village in modern-day Israel, four kilometres south of the Lebanese border. In 1948, it was captured by Haganah, and in 1953, was bombed by the Israeli Air Force. However, the village’s former residents have never lost hope and that one day they would be able to return. For 75 years, they have used their status as Israeli citizens and fought in the political and legal arenas. Some of the displaced identify as Palestinian Arabs and want to frame their activism as a part of the broader Arab-Palestinian plight. Others, though, stress their Aramean roots as well as historical and cultural proximity to the Jews. In 2014, Aramean became an official identity on the Israeli population census, and Arameans have been encouraged to serve in the Israeli army.
I look at these two identifications and narratives – Palestinian Arab and Aramean – through the prism of “strategies of survival”. Both resistance and loyalty are responses to structural political conditions of the ethnocratic state and adaptation to external threats. Thus, the study of those displaced from Kafr Bir’im can offer valuable observations regarding the resilience of communities. Methodologically, it draws on political science, especially studies on nationalism, racialisation, ethnic conflict and minority mobilisation. It also engages with ethnocratic and control theories.
The paper is based on findings from the research project Political Dimension of Violence Against Cities: Urbicide in Palestine – A Case Study, funded by the National Science Centre in Poland (UMO-2020/37/B/HS5/00837).

Italian emigration memories and nationalistic rhetoric: private and public remembering and forgetting
Daniela Salvucci and Dorothy L. Zinn

This qualitative study connects memories of Italian emigration with current dynamics of revitalized emigration from Italy and immigration to the country. The ongoing research is part of a wider interdisciplinary project involving anthropologists and economists, testing the possibility of priming empathy toward immigrants by reactivating memories of emigration. The study aims to identify specific links between the memory/forgetting of emigration in the dominant society and emotions toward immigration. Through in-depth interviews (individual and family histories), we focus on private memories of emigration and perceptions of immigration, analysing how they link to political and mediatic public narratives. All three cases compared (Bolzano, Trentino, Matera) reveal interesting contradictions in the articulation of remembering and forgetting on private and public levels. Individuals and families often cultivate intimate memories of emigration, especially when supported by local associations (Trentino), or where Italian migrants played a “foundational” role (Bolzano). Such private remembering contrasts with a political strategy of public forgetting, especially when it comes to emigration suffering. Participants in Matera, however, no longer connect with a family history of emigration. They instead emphasize the new emigration from Southern Italy, allowing for spaces of empathy with current immigration. On a more public-political level, the emigrant past is silenced, curbing the potential for empathy. This paper contributes to debate on the production of collective narratives of migration and new national identities by articulating private histories and the public uses of history, highlighting the ambiguities and contradictions in remembering and forgetting the Italian emigration.

B6 – A Continuous Quest for a Navel?

Weaving Facts and Myths: Sundanese’s Quest for Ethnonational Identity in Indonesia, 1945-1959
Yudo Rahmadiyansyah

As the second-largest ethnic group in Indonesia and native to West Java, the Sundanese played a crucial role in shaping Indonesian national identity while also participating in various rebellions, separatist movements, and ethnic political movements in post-independence Indonesia. This research looks at how the Sundanese tried to make sense of historical events like the Bubat War, the Majapahit colonization of Pasundan, and the discrimination against Sundanese people in the early 1950s, as well as mythical narratives about the glory of the Sundanese civilization and the idea of the Just King (Ratu Adil), in order to form their ethnonational or subnational identities from 1945 to 1959. By applying a constructivist framework, the analysis will encompass diverse primary and secondary sources, including government documents, biographies, and memoirs of key political and cultural figures involved in the dynamics, and coverage in Indonesian and Dutch-language newspapers. In this research, ‘ethnonationalism’ is defined as the pursuit of political autonomy, cultural recognition, or even independence from the parent state based on sub-national ethnic identity (Connor, 2001 & 2007; MacIver, 1999). The findings from this research provide a new perspective on the role of myths and facts in the process and show that the Sundanese ethnonational identity began as a separatist movement and later evolved into a sub-regional autonomy and cultural recognition movement.

Legacies and Unity: Exploring Historical Ethosymbolism in the Middle East
Nazish Mahmood

This article delves into the intricate relationship between history, symbols, and collective identity in the Middle East. The region, known for its rich historical and cultural heritage, offers a fascinating backdrop for understanding how historical ethosymbolism shapes contemporary society, politics, and regional dynamics. It aims to explore the various manifestations of historical ethosymbolism in the Middle East and its impact on notions of unity and division. It examines the role of ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Persia in shaping national identities and fostering a sense of pride and continuity with the past. Moreover, it delves into the influence of religious ethosymbols, such as the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and significant historical figures within the Islamic tradition, in shaping collective identity and political narratives. The article also investigates the legacy of more recent historical events and symbols in the region, including the Arab-Israeli conflict and the struggle for Palestinian statehood. It explores how these events have become powerful ethosymbols, evoking emotions, shaping national narratives, and influencing regional dynamics. Furthermore, the article discusses the potential of historical ethosymbolism as a force for both unity and division in the Middle East. It examines how historical narratives and symbols can be used to reinforce sectarian, ethnic, or nationalist divisions, as well as how they can contribute to a shared heritage, fostering reconciliation and cooperation. By analyzing historical ethosymbolism in the Middle East, this article provides insights into the complexities of identity formation, cultural preservation, and regional stability. It underscores the significance of historical consciousness and its impact on contemporary Middle Eastern societies.

The myth of the Guanche’s extinction explained through the ethnosymbolist approach
Jorge Antonio Montesdeoca Pérez

In recent years, many residents of the Canary Islands have been learning about their genetic linkage with the Guanches, the pre-Hispanic indigenous population of the archipelago, as indicated by the findings from various genetic studies (Rodríguez-Varela et al. 2017; Fregel et al. 2019; García-Olivares et al. 2023). While these results align with what the disciplines of historiography, lexicology, and genealogy have long asserted – specifically, that following the European conquest, the surviving indigenous population was not a minority – this revelation has taken many islanders by surprise. One factor that could explain this reaction is the myth which alludes that the Guanches were practically extinct after the conquest. This myth took root in island society in the late 1980s, just after the nationalist awakening on the islands, which was largely built upon Guanche symbols and memory.
It is the origin of this myth that is the main focus of the paper, constituting a novelty in the academic field. The methodology employed is founded in the theoretical perspective of ethnosymbolism since this approach places a strong emphasis on the ethnic components of communities and their cultural representation and reproduction across time. Thus, the methodology involves an analysis of the interactions between artists, intellectuals, and the wider public concerning the portrayal of the Guanche from the mid-1970s onwards. This perspective provides an original interpretation, according to which the process of nationalist agitation was abruptly interrupted, due to mainly exogenous factors, causing the Guanche, for many islanders, to no longer serve as an element of identity but instead transforming it into a potential source of geopolitical disruption.

Victimhood Nationalism in the Global Memory Space
Jye-Hun Lim

Victimhood nationalism, in my definition, is a narrative template to grant posthumously the moral superiority, historical legitimacy, and political alibis to a present nation living in a legacy of “hereditary victimhood” by connecting the post-memory generations to ancestral victims via collective memory. In this presentation, I will articulate “victimhood nationalism” as a global phenomenon to explain the victimhood competition in the postwar “coming to terms with the past” in the global memory space across Europe and East Asia. In the age of global memory, the spatial turn of globalization reconfigured the national mnemoscape dramatically into the global one. With the emergence of the human rights regime as a global memory formation, nationalist discourses have shifted from heroes to victims, which intensified the nationalist competition globally over who suffered most. The dialectical interplay of global and national memories in constructing victimhood nationalism demands a critical inquiry into the dichotomy of perpetrators vs. victims, collective guilt vs. innocence, national vs. cosmopolitan memory, historical actors vs. passive objects, over-contextualization vs. de-contextualization, historical conformism vs. presentism, etc. I will investigate the entangled memories of victimhood nationalism in the global memory space, focusing on the mnemonic nexus of Poland, Germany, Israel, Japan, and Korea. This project ultimately attempts at a global history of victimhood nationalism beyond a mere compilation of case studies, with the methodological accent on the mnemohistory as the transdisciplinary memory studies.

C1 – Negotiating belonging

How to connect blood and soil? Polish nationalists and Polonization of peasants through the use of history
Claudia Snochowska-Gonzalez

At the end of the 19th century, in Polish lands (then under partitions), peasants rarely identified themselves as Poles. They were nationally indifferent and identified rather with their neighbourhood or with the authorities of the Russian or Habsburg Empires, to which they owed the abolition of serfdom. They treated the “Polish cause” as a nobility cause that has nothing to do with their own interests. Therefore, the most important task for Polish nationalists was to “Polonize” the peasants – to convince them of their own Polishness and, at the same time, to gain them to the program of National Democracy, the Polish variant of integral, Völkisch nationalism. The national democrats considered historical education to be the best means of achieving this goal, the central element of which was the history of the Polish land, soaked in the blood and sweat of the peasants’ ancestors, and the eternal peasants’ love for it, postulated by the National Democrats (which, of course, reflected the real hunger for land felt by the peasants). By mythicization of the peasants’ relationship with the Polish sacred land, by emphasizing the eternal relationship of the Polish blood with the Polish soil, such imposed historical memory sanctified the land ownership right. The National Democratic Party’s narrative, under the guise of caring for the interests of the Polish peasantry, in fact secured the interests of its social base, and by winning the peasants to the national cause, it guaranteed their submission to national discipline and the absence of class protests.

Nation builder, injustice shielder and gatekeeper: the 135 year journey of a tacit naturalization decree
Melissa Martins Casagrande

Decree n. 58-A was enacted in Brazil in 1889 and imposed the tacit and compulsory naturalization of all foreigners who lived in the country’s territory. This paper argues that Decree n. 58-A has had three very different roles in terms of its legal impact throughout the last 135 years. The paper argues that the first role of Decree n. 58-A was as nation builder as it was devised to homogenize the country’s population around a nationalist discourse of allegiance and belonging. The second role, as injustice shielder, is argued to have been in the 1940s, when thousands of Axis country nationals filed lawsuits to have their Brazilian citizenship officially declared grounded on Decree n. 58-A to avoid property seizures and other forms of persecution when the country officially joined World War II’s Allied forces. The third role, as gatekeeper, stems from a Court decision in Italy in 2020, repealed in 2022, that denied the right to Italian citizenship, through the ius sanguinis criteria, to descendants Italian nationals who immigrated to Brazil and were purportedly naturalized by Decree n. 58-A. The methodology used is legislative and case law discourse analysis for all three roles, complemented by jurimetrics for the second role as well as by quantitative and qualitative data on Italian citizenship through the ius sanguinis criteria for the third role. The paper aims to contribute to the analysis of the intergenerational impact over 135 years of a decree that has instrumentalized nationalist initiatives intertwining two countries.

Homeland’s Future in the Kurdistan Freedom Movement: Notes on Belonging and Becoming
Francesco Ventura

The notion of homeland refers to “an area to which a people or a political community is closely attached. ‘Attachment’ has a profoundly cultural and political meaning in all major uses of the term” (Gregory et al. 2009 p. 342). The political meaning embodied in the term ‘attachment’ also highlights, as some authors suggested (Shelef 2020), that the homeland can be thought of as a political territorial project imbued with emotional topographies and geographies. Existing literature is mainly past-oriented, emphasising the role played by the past, the origins, the ancestors, etc. in forging current conceptualisations of the homeland. What almost completely misses is an assessment of the role played by the future temporality in understanding the notion of homeland. Drawing on the case of the representations of Kurdistan undertaken by the members of the Kurdistan Freedom Movement (KFM) and Berardi’s (2017) framework for the becoming, I show that the future is present in the configuration of the homeland in three ways: as openness (possibility), prefiguration (potency), and legitimisation (power). Therefore, I demonstrate that the future temporality plays a crucial role in conceptualising and forging the homeland, right in the present. This becomes evident in the case of the KFM after its shift of paradigm from Marxism-Leninism towards an innovative form of libertarian municipalism. Due to this shift of paradigm, the KFM deeply rethought its idea of territoriality and identity and reassessed its distant past.

C2 – National languages and memory

Recalling the language: A comparative typology
Joep Leerssen

Many national movements asserted the separate identity of their nation on the basis of having a separate language. In some cases, that language had fallen out of general usage and had to be recalled from the past, or from its vestigial currency among peripheral, unprestigious and often poorly literate sections of the population. This paper compares, on the basis of the comparative-historical source research applied in the Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe, instances of language recall-revivalism in various European cases, with an emphasis on Irish Gaelic and Finnish. It will be demonstrated that language-revivalist concerns persist across the A-B-C stadialism of Miroslav Hroch, but with a shifting balance between the registers of knowledge production (philologists), artistic usage (literati) and political symbolism (activists). The Jacobsonian functions of language (communicative, poetic, conative, phatic, metalingual, etc.) provide a useful grid for compare the specifics of the various national cases.

Collective Memories as a Tool of Epistemic Nationalism: Insights from Historical Dialectology in Croatia and Serbia
Vuk Vukotić

Critical scholarship on colonialism and nationalism has repeatedly pointed out that many modern scientific disciplines, from anthropology to sociology, were conceived as a part of a larger political project. While there is a large body of critical literature on the impact of colonialism and nationalism on scientific work, the role of memory in such works remains unexplored. Taking Serbia as a case in point, this article dives into one of the most “successful” nationalist projects in Serbian academia: historical dialectology. Ever since the first dialectologist and leading national ideologue, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, proposed a classification of the South Slavic linguistic area into separate “dialects,” dialectological knowledge was used to make territorial claims for the Serbian nation. A key element, and a possible factor of success, was the constant evocation of collective memories of “Serb migrations,” events that national history presents as particularly traumatic for the national past. As the analysis will show, demographic data, combined with nationalist-turned-commonsense narratives of the tragic migrations of Serbs, has served as compensatory evidence to support ethnolinguistic divisions of the South Slavic area, where no linguistic data could be provided. It will be argued that collective memories play a key role in the subtle mechanics of epistemic nationalism, here understood as the cognitive disposition that posits the nation as the starting and ending point of scientific analysis.

Banning Vernacular Serbian in Tributary Ottoman Serbia
Tomasz Kamusella and Motoki Nomachi

Between 1832 and 1868 the vernacular-based standard of Serbian was repeatedly banned in Tributary (Ottoman) Serbia in favor of Slaveno-Serbian. Meanwhile, across the autonomous state’s northern frontier on the Danube, in the Austrian Empire, this vernacular Serbian language gained popularity, also in education and at the level of local administration. This development took place mainly in the ethnically Serbian areas of the Military Frontier, which largely overlapped with the Patriarchate of Karlowatz (Karlovci). At present, the story of these bans of vernacular Serbian in Ottoman Serbia tends to be overlooked, due to the rise – in the last third of the 19th century – of the linguistically-based Serbian nationalism steeped in this very vernacular. This type of nationalism (together with the denial of the Ottoman past) underpins today’s Serbian national master narrative, preventing the analysis of Tributary Serbia’s language politics that championed Slaveno-Serbian in official administrative and educational use.

Forgetting or Falsifying? Proponents of the ‘Panslavic language’ in Particularist National Memory
Alexander Maxwell

This paper ponders the difficulty of studying the terms “language” and “dialect” as categories of political practice given the popularity of these terms as categories of analysis. Attitudes toward linguistic classification have changed over time, but scholars become confused when studying historical actors who engaged in nationalist activism for a variety they understood as a “dialect,” when modern scholars view that same variety as a “language.” In the first half of the nineteenth century, for example, Habsburg Panslavs believed in a single Slavic nation speaking a single “language.” Panslavs codifying literary Croatian or literary Slovak imagined the object of their efforts as a “dialects” (or even “subdialects”) of the great Slavic language. Recent scholars, both historians and linguists, accept Slovak and Croatian as “languages,” and anachronistically assume the current preferred taxonomy was equally hegemonic in the nineteenth century. Mistaking a change in consensus taxonomic status for terminological shift, scholars thus severely misinterpret primary sources. Indeed, the historiographic consequences are catastrophic: much of the scholarly literature misquotes historical actors. This paper documents the extent of the problem for two particular patriot-awakeners, the “Croat” Ljudevit Gaj and the “Slovak” Ľudovít Štúr, by documenting discrepancies between the text of primary sources and inaccurate reprints or quotations of those texts in subsequent literature. It ends by suggesting that anachronism, rather than the nationalism of central European scholars, best explains why so many scholars have tried to erase the memory historical Panslavism.

C3 –  Education and National Identity

Ottoman Imperial Past in the Politics of Memory of Post-Euromaidan Ukraine: The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory in Search of the Non-Russian Historical Roots
Viktoriia Svyrydenko

The Euro-Maidan and Russia-Ukraine conflict has substantially impacted the process of constructing Ukrainian national memory and identity. Except for active promotion of decommunisation agenda, since 2014, the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINP), a major memory managing institution in Ukraine, has considerably broadened the repertoire of the historical periods it addresses in its activities. One of the new areas of the UINP’s memory politics became imperial legacies. Diverse territories of contemporary Ukraine over several centuries belonged to the Ottoman, Habsburg and Russian empires. The annexation of Crimea in 2014 prompted the UINP to have a closer look at this region over different periods, and specifically at the history of the Crimean Khanate, a vassal of the Ottoman empire, and its relevance to Ukrainian national memory. In this paper, I focus on different representations of the Ottoman imperial past in post-Euromaidan Ukraine through the framework of state propaganda and counter-propaganda production. The politics of memory in contemporary Ukraine to a significant extent, is shaped in response to Russia’s policies, practices and discourses. Narratives of Russian officials, and of the UINP, represent the examples of state propaganda and counter-propaganda. The dialogism between Russian official and Ukrainian memory discourses is traced on the level of three broader identitarian discourses: discourse of colonialism, discourse of imperialism, and civilizational discourse. Another methodological framework of my study is securitization. I argue that Ukrainian memory agents applied three interrelated discursive strategies: 1) securitization of discourses, 2) selective reading of the past events through the prism of today’s politics, and 2) dialogical relationship with official Russian narratives around the Crimea with the use of some of the same terminology with the inverted meaning.

Fixed or constructed? Historians’ debates about the conceptualization of national identity in contemporary Croatian history curriculum
Snjezana Koren

The educational systems of the majority of countries that emerged from the dissolution of Yugoslavia include a category of “national subjects” (e.g., Croatia) or “identity subjects” (e.g., Serbia). The curricula of these subjects (i.e. History, Geography, Croatian/Serbian Language) are frequently employed as instruments to (re)define identity for contemporary political purposes. School history curricula are highly selective in formulating their interpretations of the past and their historical narratives are constructed through the dynamic interaction between remembering and forgetting. Debates over history curricula have been another feature of these developments, revealing substantial differences in the understanding of the purpose of school history. The most recent debate (2016–2019) occurred during a period when a resurgence of nationalism emerged following the conclusion of the EU accession process. As a result, the concepts of nation and national identity dominated discussions surrounding the proposal for the history curriculum. The academic historians, both individuals and entire history departments, were key stakeholders in these discussions. This paper aims to examine the discursive strategies employed by historians when discussing the concept of national identity in the curriculum. I will analyse the language used in these contributions, such as the vocabulary and phrases employed, and examine their connection to the political and social context. I will also analyse historians’ explanations of their perspectives on the purpose of history education, and examine whether they do so in consideration of various theories on nationalism.

Changing text, Changing meaning: The Return of the Declaration of Arbroath
Andi Haxhiu

The Declaration of Arbroath (1320), Scotland’s arguably most studied document, was temporarily returned to the National Museum of Scotland between 3 June and 2 July 2023. For the curatorial team, this temporary exhibition marked a “”once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this iconic piece”” of Scotland’s history and material culture.
While it was expected to be on display for its seven hundredth anniversary (2020), the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the document’s first appearance in more than eighteen years. Regardless of these rare occasional displays, its current fragile condition suggests that this temporary exhibition might have been its last public display in a long time.

Considering its socio-cultural relevance and rare public appearances, this research engages in a comparative analysis to scrutinise how the permanent exhibition in the Kingdom of Scots galleries and the temporary exhibition of the Declaration of Arbroath have displayed and presented the document. More specifically, this research investigates how the deliberate nationalistic curatorial decisions in the Kingdom of Scots permanent exhibition are amortised by the cautious verdict to exclude this famous excerpt from the temporary exhibition:

“”As long as only one hundred of us remain alive, we will never on any condition be brought under English rule”” (Declaration of Arbroath, 1320 [Fergusson Translation, 1970]).

This research evaluates the tacit rhetorical assertions in both the didactic and interpretative text panels, explaining how Scotland’s changing political context has engendered new meanings for the document’s importance. Lastly, it dissects how the museumising of the Declaration of Arbroath positions the document as the rhetorical bedrock of Scottishness due to its reasonably utilisable modern ring in particular sections. Considering the document’s socio-cultural relevance and rare public appearances, this research provides a valuable analysis of its historical and cultural significance.

C4 – National memory, war and domination

The dead ends of reconciliation: Emmanuel Macron’s policy on remembering the Algerian War
Paul-Max Morin

Using methods from political science (field work, interviews with policy makers, public policy analysis), my paper analyses Emmanuel Macron’s reconciliation policy in relation to the memory of the Algerian war in France. It describes how Emmanuel Macron first used memory as a disruptive tool in French politics to outrace his competitors. Since then, Algeria has become a corner stone of his political identity and expected legacy (Politics). Emmanuel Macron’s depiction of memories of the Algerian war as a source of identity tensions and a potential threat to national cohesion then strongly influenced the design of his policy (Policy). The latter aims at reconciliation, relies on a dedicated taskforce directly attached to the President at the Elysée and favours the presidential gesture and speeches as its main tool (Polity). The paper describes the evolution of both the concept of reconciliation and the taskforce in charge of its implementation throughout the mandate as it follows the President’s agenda. It then unveils the unexpected effects of this public policy: 1) the integration of memory into other policies addressing contemporary tensions in French society (antiracist mobilisations, terrorism, separatism), 2) the perpetuation of a clustered approach of memory groups, 3) A limited public action implied by the presidentialisation of the issue and its management, 4) the depoliticization and denial of colonialism and racism as structural elements of this past and its consequences.

Making Life Grievable? The Memorialisation of Martyrs in Ethiopia
Sarah Vaughan

Memorialisation of martyrs was a central strategy of Ethiopia’s contested process of post-war transitional justice during the 1990s and 2000s. Four martyrs’ museums were established: for some a welcome step in the recognition of what they and their families had experienced; for others, a partial, politicised or revisionist approach to Ethiopian history. The Tigray museum was ransacked and emptied during the 2020-22 war. The Addis Ababa museum was vandalised during protests in 2022. This paper documents several threads of Ethiopia’s diverse processes of memorialisation (both official and more local) to interrogate Lekha Sriram’s claim that “the concept of the martyr itself divides people in divided societies along the lines of factions, generations, and ideologies” (2017, 24). In the Ethiopian context competing nationalisms and distinct ethnic identities may be added to this list. It is clear that “not all the country’s contemporary monuments unify” (Conley 2019, 98ff). But as Ethiopians once again try confront the consequences of a period of horrifying political bloodletting, and its deliberate political “invisibilisation” (Butler 2009), the paper considers when, how, why and whom martyrs’ memorials divide or unite – and how this changes. This close reading of new interviews, and contemporary social media sources informed by the literature of the longer period shows how the effect of memorialisation of violent episodes and violent deaths is a more contingent, multiple, underdetermined – and shifting – matter than it might seem, not least in its relation to the evolving constellation of power (Barnes 1988).

War, memorialisation and national moralities
John Hutchinson

Warfare can have long-term consequences for nation-formation through its memorialisation. I explore how the existential threat represented by war can engender a morality of exemplary sacrifice, which can be a source of inspiration for or criticism of the postwar society. I will focus on the two World Wars and the establishment of rituals of remembrance and myths of the combat community as a gemeinschaft.
The extremities of war has generated the construction of heroes whose courage affirms the capacity of the nation to overcome extraordinary challenges and who in death, as exempla virtutis, will inspire future generations. Such memorialisation has a long history, from Pericles’s funeral oration to the Athenians onwards. In the modern period the nation became deified through the cult of fallen soldiers, first manifested during the mass death of French Revolutionary wars, which prescribed a duty on survivors to support the values for which they fought. During the 19th century a democratising European-wide repertoire of remembrance developed that emphasised the heroism and comradeship of war. The First World War introduced a new iconography of remembrance and the idealisation by soldiers of the war community as a gemeinschaft. I will examine the paradoxical effects of such myths which could imply a tension between the military and civilians and which downplayed the brutalisation of war. They could act as a social glue in differentiated gesellschaft of peace, but also as a critique of established social arrangements, generating a utopian politics of the left and the right among returned servicemen.

National memory and Metaxas’s dictatorship in Greece
Georgios Kritikos

This research will examine the experiences and memories of Metaxas’ dictatorship (1936-41). He proclaimed the third phase of Greek Civilization and Ancient Greek world was presented as a superior value by means of cultural propaganda.
This research will examine how that policy of the revival of a glorious memory and antiquity attempted to transform Greek society and create national cohesion? It will survey which memories of ancient Greek glory – in the form of historical events and cultural symbols – were selected to be embedded in the language of Greek nationalism. It will analyse how these elements of propaganda informed Metaxas’ festivities which were used as the most powerful and entertaining way to reach mass audience, in the fascist educational system, in its National Organization of Youth (EON) – that has been strongly influenced by the Third Reich – and in the imposed censorship, which was so severe that it applied to school curriculum as well as to the press.
Moreover, it will investigate what is remembered in a contested discourse of Modern Greek society? Which is the image of Metaxas that was produced in the school text-books, in the modern national festivities as well as in the historical narrative? Last but not least, it will explore how those elements of nationalistic propaganda are still powerful in the rhetoric of extreme right wing and populist political parties in Greece. To conduct this research, primary sources from the PRO archives in London and other sources or archives in Greece will be used.

C5 – Contested Nationalism

Contested narratives and commemorative practices in Cyprus
Dilek Latif

In politically contested settings, public schools and textbooks contain and disseminate national ideologies, perceptions and messages desired to be conveyed to the next generations. Conflict affected societies develop narratives, mythologies and official histories that become “proxy battlefields” for the conflict. In case of Cyprus, where post-conflict hostility and separation continues for decades, education serves to reinforce the past. Public schools provide ethnic education to strengthen the ethnic identity of each community, and commonly propagate a narrative in order to legitimise political goals. In line with this, history education, school activities, and commemorative practices like national celebration days are used to convey and legitimise official narratives and reinforce identities defined visà-vis the other. Other school activities such as competitions in poetry and essay-writing based on nationalistic themes during the Martyrs Weeks and God Bless Motherland Days are used as a tool to justify the official historical narratives and political goals. Within this context, this paper aims to take among the turning points of the Cyprus conflict, the most sensitive periods of 1963 and 1974, to show how the same historical events have been differently constructed in the Turkish and Greek Cypriot national historiography and how they have been commemorated. This paper will be based on the document analysis of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot history textbooks regarding 1963 and 1974 incidents. The document review method will be used in combination with in-depth semi-structured interviews with teachers regarding the contrasting commemorative school practices for these historical events.

American National Identity and Contested Memories
Ranjoo Herr

Once considered a beacon of liberal democracy, the United States of America in the early 21st century is in the throes of social polarization caused by hyperpartisanship. Political scientists claim that emotionally charged group loyalties reflect inherent features of groupish human nature. The social psychology literature on social identity supports the idea of groupish human nature with its bifurcated tendencies: when people think of themselves in terms of social identity, they exhibit positive attitudes toward ingroup members that are conducive to generating trust and cooperation—ingroup favoritism—and disinterest and even hostility toward outgroup members. The pathologies of American democracy exemplify the second tendency of social identity. The crucial question is: If inherent human nature is at the root of the American democracy’s dysfunctionality, then can American democracy be rehabilitated? The paper argues that American democracy can be healed by embracing groupish human nature, especially ingroup favoritism, which has been associated with increasing trust within the ingroup. If American partisans can think of each other as sharing common identity of a larger ingroup—”superordinate” identity—then paralyzing hyperpartisanship may be reduced. The superordinate identity in the American context is American national identity. Yet “multiple traditions” in American history (Smith 1997) have resulted in contested national memories and are at the heart of the corrosive American social polarization. This paper examines how contested national memories can be constructively dealt with in the American context, so that American social polarization can be overcome.

Emotional Memory Cultures in Norway and Ireland through the lens of commemoration
Charlotte Aslesen

Nation-building and memory culture goes hand in hand, and both of these were subject to great change in the 20th century. Factors such as the Second World War, global social changes, and domestic political conflicts put many European nations in conflict with their ways of celebrating their national identity and -past. My paper builds on my PhD project pertaining to memory cultures in commemoration in Norway and Ireland in the last century. My project, as well as my paper, analyses the emotional aspect of these memory cultures, and how these changed over time in relation to contemporary events. In Ireland in particular, a national period of commemoration known as the Decade of Centenaries comes to a close in 2023 after ten years of commemorating the events of the Irish Revolution, which is described by the DoC as having taken place between 1912 and 1923. Ireland’s commemorative cultures have changed greatly over the past century, particularly in relation to the impact of the events of the Northern Ireland conflict. In my paper, I will compare Ireland’s commemorations to Norway’s commemoration of its own national days of celebration, namely the writing of the constitution in 1814 and the cession of the Norwegian-Swedish union in 1905, which established Norway as an independent state. My paper focuses on the banal nationalist displays in official commemorations in the form of public displays such as rituals, speeches, monuments, memorials, and the like, and on how the emotional displays in these change throughout the century.

The effect of National Security Law on National Identity in Hong Kong
Mariusz Bogacki

Since its introduction in June 2020, the National Security Law (NSL) has attracted considerable attention from scholars studying law, human rights and the political and judiciary systems in Hong Kong. The question of how does the NSL affect the eve-contested national identity in the city remains understudied. This paper addresses this lacuna by analysing how the law affects the way ‘ordinary’ Hong Kong populations perceive and feel about their national identity and belonging. The paper adopts the conceptual framework of everyday nationalism in combination with an innovative methodological triangulation (interviews, participant observation and photo elicitation) based on a 12 month of ethnographic fieldwork in Hong Kong in 2023. The study makes a three-fold argument. First, Hong Kong national identity that began to emerge in 2010s has been largely eradicated due to the dismantling of institutional (ie. democratic parties, media, student unions) and ideological (ie. activists, writers and popular commentators) structures underpinning it. Second, while the Hong Kong government has been accelerating promotion of Chinese national identity, these attempts are being met with confusion, disregard, and dislike by most Hong Kongers. Thirdly, the paper argues that following the introduction of the NSL, different segments of Hong Kong society are reluctantly, pragmatically or opportunistically accepting Hong Kong’s identity as ‘just another Chinese city’. The paper concludes that this ‘new’ city identity has to be understood in the context of Hong Kong’s future as an integral part of China’s Greater Bay Area and the international semi-autonomous city status.

C6 – National Stories

Portraying a Generational Gap through Individual and Collective Memories in Contemporary Northern Irish Novel
Marie Gemrichová

Although the Good Friday Agreement is revered for concluding the armed conflict in Northern Ireland, it also confirmed a binary previously established in the province and recently, critics have drawn attention to a growing disparity between this binary and the diversifying society which no longer corresponds to that ‘simple’ double division; specifically, they point to a growing gap between the generation that directly experienced the Troubles and a younger one that didn’t. This dispute can be observed not only in the society itself but also in recent Northern Irish novels which often concentrate on how younger characters face previously established truths and knowledge and how these may clash with and frustrate their own experiences.
While the immediate community these characters grow up in first helps form a part of what then constitutes the characters’ primary knowledge and their ‘truths’ of the world, the paper will look at how it also hinders further development and strengthens the previously established, and possibly no longer applicable, certainties.
The paper will examine two recent novels – Nick Laird’s Modern Gods (2014) and Anna Burns’ Milkman (2018), specifically their central characters and discuss the influences that form their awareness, new knowledge that they gain, and the clash that these two realities present for them. To discuss these topics, it will make use of concepts from cognitive psychology which aid in describing the way individuals learn, gain explicit and implicit knowledge, and importantly form memories, and how these can interact u

Oil in the Mexican social imaginary
Josafat Morales

In March 1938, President Lázaro Cárdenas nationalized the oil industry in Mexico, previously controlled by foreign companies. This event had a substantial impact on the Mexican population, which quickly came to consider oil as something that belonged to all Mexicans. Based on the theoretical proposals of Cornelius Castoriadis and Charles Taylor, this paper seeks to explain the place of oil in the Mexican social imaginary from 1938 to the present, as well as its relationship with Mexican nationalism. To achieve this, we will review the historical development of oil within the social imaginary divided into three periods: that of the governments of the Revolution (1938-1976), oil as a macroeconomic factor (1976-1988), and the neoliberal era (1988-2018). Finally, we will analyze what the current Mexican government contributes to the imaginary. With this, we will be able to verify how, despite the economic, political, and social changes that Mexico has undergone in almost 100 years, oil continues to occupy a privileged place within the Mexican imaginary, providing legitimacy to governments of different political characteristics.
It is essential to mention that this research has been ongoing for several years, with some publications in Spanish, including my book El petróleo en el imaginario social mexicano: nación, patrimonio y soberanía (2020). With this paper, it is hoped to bring this research to the academic Anglo-Saxon community.

Post-memory discourse in Kazakhstan
Zeinep Abetova et al.

Memory conflicts have become challenges to civil harmony in the world and regions. The dynamics of historical narratives in Kazakhstan determine the relevance of the topic. Also of particular importance is the role of the young generation as an essential agent of post-memory, and its contribution to the discursive repertoire of national identity.
Analytical framework: ideas of the concept of memory (Nora P., Halbwachs, M., Olick J.K.), post-memory (Hirsch M.), trans-local memory (Freitag U.), in which the memory of a nation and groups is defined as an important component of a mnemonic community, in which collective memory was considered as a key concept explaining national and social identity. We study the cultural memory of young people as agents of post-memory in the context of “”working memory””, continuously updated by young memory actors involved in various forms of memorial activities (Rigney A.).
The results of a study (more than a year) of forms of memorial activities will be presented. In addition, we demonstrate this fact through a case study of commemorative practices in the art practices, developed by a network of young memory activists. It is also planned to study the ways, tools, and practices that are used to promote interpretations of the past, relations between nations, and cultural heritage in its everyday manifestations and in the discursive range of post-memory of Kazakh youth

D1 – Televising the nation

The complexity of official memory production in Post-socialist China: mediating socialist-era memory through local television programmes
Mingkun Li

In post-socialist China, public memory of the socialist era is routinely viewed as monopolised by the party-state and perceived as monolithic. Through detailed archival research and textual analysis, this paper analyses the production processes and texts of a television programme produced by Sichuan Provincial Television in the 1980s commemorating the Third Front Movement, a Maoist-era campaign of mass migration and war preparedness and demonstrates the complexity of official memory even in the authoritarian state.

The paper argues that a discussion of official memory should begin by dissolving the bias towards a dichotomy between official and popular memory, by analysing the specific composition of the producers of memorial texts and, as such, by exploring the memorial texts that are produced. This paper finds, firstly, that different actors within local Third Front migrant communities, local governments, media organisations and the Party Central Committee have different interests in how the Third Front movement should be commemorated in the post-Mao era, and that there are complex interactions between them in the production of television programmes. Second, while the text of this TV programme ostensibly appealed to the mnemonic discourse of the Central Party-State – regarding the third front as a left-leaning error consistent with the Cultural Revolution, in fact implicitly reframed the narrative of the Third Front and constructed it as the antithesis of the Cultural Revolution and established a connection with the mnemonic discourse of economic reform in the post-Mao era in order to legitimise it and to serve the interests of the local groups and to shape identities.

Screening Memories: Unravelling the Impact of Negative 1990s Representations in Russian TV Documentaries on National Identity Construction
Anastasia Kriachko Roeren and Roberto Rabbia

The paper focuses on how the 1990s in Russia are represented and remembered in TV documentaries broadcast by Russian TV channels over the 2010s and in the early 2020s. Through the analysis of narratives and footage, the paper shows that TV documentary films, despite often including a wider range of interpretations, perpetuate the almost exclusively negative image of the decade found in the official discourse and other media products. The paper explores what is the possible outcome of the negative remembering of the 1990s in terms of collective (national) identity building. In particular, the reproduction of the negative trope ‘dashing 1990s’ (likhie 90-e) allows memory-makers to establish – implicitly or explicitly – a strong contrast between the Yeltsin and the Putin eras, that is, between Yeltsin’s and Putin’s Russia(s). Against this background, we investigate concepts of negative identity, othering and victimisation, all features that, we believe, are strongly linked with the bleak interpretation of the 1990s and have a significant impact on how the self-understanding of Russia and Russians is shaped in the country. In addition, we also investigate whether more positive narratives voiced in a few documentary films can affect and to some extent curb the overall negative representation of the Yeltsin era.

Images of liberation in recent Danish occupation films
Gunhild Mottesen Agger

Since 1945, Denmark has witnessed a steady production of occupation films and TV dramas. For the period 1945-2023, I have registered 33 feature films and 11 TV drama productions. The Bereaved (Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis 2022) focuses on Danish resistance-women in German jail; Before It Ends (Anders Walter 2023) discusses morals vis-a-vis fugitives – in 1945 and now. These examples illustrate two prevalent attitudes to the occupation period in the Danish occupation film tradition.
My theoretical framework is inspired by European researchers pointing out that occupation films have significantly influenced the processes of understanding, interpreting, and coming to terms with crucial and traumatic events before, during and after the German occupation (Sorlin 1991, Villadsen 2000, Hewitt 2008, Iversen 2018 & 2012, Burke 2017). From Norway and Denmark, France, the Netherlands and beyond, these films form an essential part of memory culture and debates of national identity. According to Erll (2012), visual media play a crucial role in collective remembrance. I shall focus on The Bereaved and Before It Ends as two recent examples to highlight why the occupation genre keeps asking important questions, appealing to a broad national audience.
Methodologically, I map the development of the occupation genre based on my registration and a context of film history during the post-occupation period. My textual and contextual analyses are based on studies of development in themes, genre, and style, and of critical reception. Currently, I am in the process of writing the history of Danish occupation films, which has not been done before.

Memory Business and Nationalism in Lithuania: National Memory Curation through Publicly Funded Historical Films
Brigita Valantinaviciute

This presentation is based on the analysis of the film collection #FreedomFilms published by the Lithuanian Public Broadcaster LRT and aimed at representing the past and remobilising the national past. The majority of those films received funding from the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture (LMC). Therefore, the presentation will also draw on five interviews with officials from the LMC, focusing on funding and curating films related to the past, visions of the past these films seek to convey and the remobilisation of national memories during the war in Ukraine.

This presentation will argue that, in Lithuania, the connection between institutions of remembrance and nationalism is intertwined into a complex fabric of socio-economic forces. Established methodologies, such as the invented traditions approach (Hobsbawm and Ranger, 1983), along with more recent research on Baltic neoliberalism and memory multiscalarity, can aid in unravelling these intricate dynamics, providing insights into historical film dynamics in Lithuania and the broader region.

For instance, interviews with the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture reveal a tendency towards adherence to market logics and liberal democracy in the realm of memory curation. However, this approach is not without its own fractures, giving rise to tensions regarding the promotion of diversity in representing the past. The majority of films predominantly focus on the late socialism period, portraying society within homogeneous narrative frames. These processes, to some extent, contribute to reinforcing a nuanced yet direct relationship between Lithuanian nationalism and memory. Given the relatively small size of the film industry, the prevalent practice involves appropriating old content during significant periods for the country’s self-identification, as exemplified in this study by the war in Ukraine. Consequently, not only historical content but also nationalism, memory dynamics, and homogenous representations undergo multiple rounds of appropriation.

D2 – The nation on social media

Historical Education as Political Resistance: a study on social media communication practices amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Nataliia Vdovychenko and Ad Backus

The communication patterns of Ukrainian citizens on social media changed during the 2022 invasion. Posting on digital platforms switched from routine life updates to reporting on the invasion. Active posting of war-related content became an indicator of political participation, nationalism, assertions of belonging, practicing social media activism, and ‘writing history’. The communicational resistance enacted during this period was critical for the population as increasing critical thinking and national appreciation became an accessible and fast way to politically engage fellow citizens and potentially alleviate threats to survival.

This study documents the emergence of new communication genres in Ukraine throughout the first months of the war. Using a self-compiled database of social media posts, we use discourse analysis to outline the main categories of online content. One set of posts includes narratives that deal with historical memories, nation-building, community solidarity, and mutual support for fellow Ukrainians, functioning largely as instruments of social cohesion and resistance. The study investigates the rise of posts that emphasize historical traditions, facts, and cultural symbols, emphasizing Ukrainian independence and countering Russian dominance. As the war continued, this became a prevalent genre. Social media authors used their digital literacy, showing knowledge of platform affordances, censorship, and how to address specific audiences, to ensure information distribution. The case study captures efforts Ukrainians’ efforts to raise awareness of historical events, national cultural identity, and Russia’s reasons for unleashing war and terror, through content distribution aimed at countering disinformation and facilitating cooperation among Ukrainians, all while under attack.

Stepan Bandera in War-Torn Ukraine: Between Myth and Meme
Yevhen Yashchuk

Hardly any figure can compete with the legacy and questionability Stepan Bandera, a leader of Ukrainian nationalists between late 1930s and 1950s, has in contemporary Ukraine’s public space. Scholars have considered his omnipresence in the official memory politics and importance for various nationalist activists since the 1990s and especially after 2013 when the war in the Eastern part of Ukraine started. However, the popular perception of Bandera was often left blurred in the hot debates about his questionable legacy. Acknowledging the diversity of present scholarship, my aim is to present how the image was appropriated besides the nationalist – revisionist contestations. Looking at the Ukrainian social media channels, with a particular focus on VKontakte, Telegram, and Tik Tok, I will highlight the carnivalesque reinterpretation of Bandera’s image in the early stage of war in 2014-2015 and its further adaptation by memory activists and ordinary users. While the question of Bandera’s heroism was still debated, the “memefication” of his image took place. The full-scale Russian invasion only intensified the process, increasing Bandera’s presence in public space, mostly online. Although his legacy was not questioned, the myth about his deeds was also put aside, leaving space to new popular meanings. His canonic photo was adopted to various contexts on social media, while image of Bandera was successfully commodified, manifesting the “vernacular nationalism.” Finally, highlighting that the image of Bandera became an incarnation of heroism more than Bandera himself, I will reflect on the role social media may play in shaping memory politics.

Between nostalgia and nationalism? Facebook, the Greek crisis, and the ‘happy-go-lucky’ drachma era
Panagiotis Zestanakis

During the 2010s, Greece witnessed an economic crisis that included the reduction of the country’s gross domestic product by 25%, rampant unemployment, brain-drain, and political polarization. Τhis crisis coincided with the popularization of social media. In this pessimistic period, nostalgic discourses on the recent, ‘more prosperous’, and ‘safer’ past flourished (Zestanakis, 2016). Nostalgic groups that discussed the recent past from a nostalgic vantage blossomed on Facebook. Their members often described life before the Euro as happy and easygoing. Posts with photos with drachma coins and notes, menus, advertisements, receipts and other souvenirs from the drachma era, which triggered nostalgic discussions idealizing the drachma era, became commonplace. This digital ethnographic paper employs invisible observation in such nostalgic groups on Facebook and historicizes the findings to examine nostalgic discourses on the drachma era from the early 2010s to nowadays. This paper presents reflections on the relations between nostalgia and nationalism questioning: a) if –and to which degree– such nostalgic discourses can be perceived as nationalistic; b) how they engage with the economic nationalism and the ethnocentric consumption which marked Greece during the crisis (Lekakis, 2015); c) how we can explain the popularity of such discourses in the post-bailout era.

D3 – Reproduction of national memory through cultural activities

New Forms of Memorialization of WWII in Chinese Museums of the Xi Jinping Era
Marketa Bajgerova Verly

The development of museums commemorating War of Resistance against Japan in China underwent a rapid transformation from being reduced to the Communist-led campaigns under the rule of Mao (1949-1976) to booming since the reform period’s ideological shift towards the active, victimhood-framed remembering of Chinese WWII experience and its atrocities. The introduction of the victimhood has been often branded as the ‘new remembering’ of the ‘post-Mao’ period (see Mitter, 2003; Gries, 2005; Coble, 2007, etc.). Yet, what was the ‘new remembering’ in 1990s and early 2000s is not the ‘new remembering’ observable in China today. Since Xi Jinping entered power, the memory politics had dramatically shifted again, bringing forth a discourse of China’s global victory and rejuvenation. By referring to two prominent War of Resistance museums – Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders in Nanjing and Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance against Japanese Aggression in Beijing, this study analyses this paradigm shift from a “humiliation” to “rejuvenation” narrative in the official CCP-promoted memory discourse and its materialisation in the museums against the backdrop of Xi’s imaginings of China as a leading global power. Through the study of the architectural and curatorial alternations, the paper focuses on the devictimization of the museal spaces and on curatorial strategies that emphasise the global victory in the exhibitionary inscriptions and aesthetical design. It demonstrates how spatial and discursive designs in those two museums reconfigured the War of Resistance narrative of a victimised national humiliation into a narrative of the triumphant national rejuvenation.

Renegotiating the Nation through Memory Culture: City Jubilees and Memorial Services for the Fallen Soldiers in Post-1945 Finland
Ville Kivimäki and Tanja Vahtikari

In Finland, as in many European countries, the heated versions of pre-war and wartime nationalism had to be abandoned at the end of World War II. The Finnish nation was redefined to adapt to the new political realities and people’s wartime experiences. Nationalism, however, did not disappear but changed its form, and became more embedded in the everyday life. Drawing from two case studies, the commemorative jubilees organized in two Finnish cities, Lappeenranta (1949) and Helsinki (1950), and the memorial services for the fallen Finnish soldiers of World War II, we explore memory culture as one key public arena for renegotiating Finnish nationalism in relation to the new post-war circumstances.

While both these commemorative practices included “hot” signifiers of the nation and were intended to construct continuities between the nation’s past, present and future, they also allowed new ways of representing and practicing the nation. In the case of city jubilees, this meant engaging with the nation through the performance of local history and memory. At the same time, local military cemeteries became crucial sites of memory, where the past sacrifices of 1939–45 were given not only collective but personal meanings. In both cases, emotional and experiential engagement with the nation and its memory remained important but became more subtle and moderated. In our presentation, we will combine the study of everyday nationalism with the histories of experiences, emotions and memory. Our premise is that collective memory culture had a central function in re-imagining the post-war nation.

‘It is easy to deal with the question “who started the war?”.  Nation and memory in Dubrovnik walking tours
Sam Pryke

My presentation/paper will be on my current research, based on semi-structured interviews, with tour guides in Southern Croatia. Whilst there is dated coverage of how official Croat tourist agencies sought to rebrand the destination as a Western European country after the break up of Yugoslavia, 1991-95, there has been no research on how guides cover the nation’s past on tours in Dalmatia, i.e. on how the memory of war is conveyed to the millions who flock to its southern shores and islands each summer. Aided by web booking and wireless headphones, tours, either within pre-packaged holidays or for independent travellers, are now a major aspect of contemporary holidays in Croatia and elsewhere. The level of detail conveyed varies according to the type of trip and the individual guide, but most contain some mention of Yugoslavia and its break-up. Three provisional findings have emerged through the interviews. First, while at least older tourists have some knowledge and interest in the civil war, the format of the trip means that guides generally have to frame their remarks around a ‘who started it’, ‘who was responsible’ approach. Second, guides coverage of life in former Yugoslavia is more balanced (often favourable) than that of the war, 91-95. With exceptions, the information conveyed is broadly in line with the dominant narrative of the war of the homeland. Third, the guides I have spoken to are aware of the presence of veterans groups and other far-right nationalists (memory police), but deny that they have experienced any direct pressure on them to give a particular account of events. Further, they say that there was little direct instruction on how to cover the war in the official training they received for guide accreditation.

D4 – Narrating national memories

Mythmaking, Memory, and National Identity: Lineage and the Sailors of the First World War
David Williams

Royal navy sailors during the first world war engaged to collective and national memory and symbolic associations of national identity through poetry in order to understand their lived experiences and produce a continuation of the national maritime mythos. This research examines the connections between sailor poetry and art during, and just after, the war to explore how sailors engaged in myth making, symbol making and were engaged in their collective memories of a national maritime past of seafarers and RN sailors. The symbolism and memory expressed within their cultural production is then contextualized through broader readings of the maritime elements of national identity and in particular, that of the RN and national myths. In so doing this, my research illuminates that not only were RN sailors engaging national and collective memory but also mythmaking and symbol processes of a continued maritime heritage. They saw a contesting of the maritime heritage and a turn away from their maritime connection of the nation being left behind. RN sailors were astutely aware of their embodiment of the nation as Jack Tars and the national myths of the RN in relation to identity. Furthermore, they integrated these with collective memories as continuation of these traditions and of the shared linage both institutional, as part of the RN, and also national as ‘British.’

National Narration and Organisational Crisis:  A Discourse-Mythological Analysis of the Imperial War Museum During the Second World War
Philip Deans and Darren Kelsey

This paper critiques a national narrative-driven organisational crisis at the Imperial War Museum (IWM), London, during the Second World War (1939-1945). The IWM first opened in 1920. Until the Second World War, it conducted itself as a mnemonic institution commemorating heroism and sacrifice in the First World War (1914-1918). When the United Kingdom declared war against Germany on 3 September 1939, this framing lost relevance; major developments in British wartime mythology were occurring, meaning change to national narration was required. As the IWM anticipated the prospect of cultural irrelevance, an organisational crisis ensued (Deans 2022). This historical study is developed from a Discourse-Mythological Approach (Kelsey 2015; 2017; 2022) analysis of archival documentation synergised with Milstein’s (2015) ‘pragmatic’ framework for understanding crisis. Through presenting our findings, we critique two factors from the case. First, the cultural memory which the IWM knew it was embedded within and needed to represent to remain relevant after the Second World War. Second, the ensuing legal contradictions it unnecessarily perceived and feared for itself – both internally and through dialogue with government. The IWM’s mythological entanglement with wider cultural and political factors rendered its sense of crisis simultaneously justified and unjustified. Our analysis shows how this paradoxical phenomenon played out and what lessons can be learnt from it. This research brings the analysis of crisis to the Discourse-Mythological Approach – a novel addition to this toolkit. In synthesising Milstein’s crisis theory with Discourse-Mythological Approach, our research proposes a Milstein-mythological framework for analysing narrative-driven crises in appropriate future research.

Red Team, Blue Team: The imagined Soviet enemy of NATO training exercises in the Cold War in German and American memory
Jack Matlack

Observing an advancing column of British armor, one German army officer remarked in September 1960 during the training exercise HOLD FAST that “it should be said that the attacker [red] appeared to behave more in accordance with British combat principles than with Eastern ones”, based on his memory of the Second World War. Beginning in the 1950s, NATO armies participated in field training exercises, often exceeding 70,000 soldiers. Always the same format: ‘blue’ (NATO) vs ‘red’ (Warsaw Pact).

But how should the ‘red’ Soviet forces behave? What constitutes ‘eastern’ style warfare? This paper advances that American and German soldiers of the 1950s and 1960s trained not so much against any real Soviet army, but against the imaged enemy informed by competing memories of the past. Supporting this thesis, I utilize Reinhardt Koselleck’s interpretative framework of spaces of experience in conjunction with horizons of expectations to analyze historical memory.

For Germans, the Soviet soldier depicted was informed by the war of civilizational annihilation waged on the Eastern Front. For Americans, Soviet soldiers were depicted as “coldly materialistic” and “brutally savage”; depictions that were intellectually informed by their West German colleagues. German officers lamented that “they have no experience of the East.” I contend that the national divisions were similarly not monolith, but unfolded intergenerationally. ‘They’ must be understood as veterans reflecting on youths, demonstrating the role of memory in reifying German and American perceptions of nationalized ‘ways of war’. . All of this, accomplished in absence of any real Soviet.

D5 – Nationalism and Religion 1

The Memory of the Protestant Reformation and the Quest for German National Unity
Doron Avraham

My paper will demonstrate how the memory of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation forged an alternative narrative to German national unification since the early Restoration (1815) and until the foundation of the German nation-state (1871).
While historical objectivity is essential for nationalism’s claim of legitimacy, memory is the subjective configuration of the national identity (Vali, Schwartz). Historical narratives of Germany’s unification show that historians emphasized the Protestant cultural nature of the German nation while drawing on Luther’s Reformation as a reference for German particularism. This is also the historiographical thread that explains the dominance of (Protestant) Prussia in the formation of the German nation-state (Landry).
Inquiring into the theological and legal discourse conducted by conservatives neo-Pietists in the years under discussion, my research suggests that these ardent Christians introduced the memory of the Reformation as a constructive turn. Through linguistic and qualitative analysis of texts written by historical protagonists like Ferdinand Guericke, Leonhard Heubner, Julius Stahl, and other neo-Pietists, I argue that rather than divisive, these scholars depicted the memory of the Reformation as a shift toward a new and purified Christianity that is of the Germans only. The impact of a religiously disturbing historical event (i.e. Reformation) turned in the years of quest for national identity and unity (1815-1871) into a memory of a rebirth of German confession. Subjective memory, thus, provided a framework for national identity in a reality of confessional divide between German Protestants and Catholics. It also reveals undercurrents that contest historiographical strands about Germany’s national unification.

Reanimated communities: The Biblical Lifeworlds of Israeli Politics
Uriel Abulof

We are all mental time travelers, spending much of our lives remembering or anticipating. The same goes for societies whose distant past, real or mythical, may loom heavy in collective memory. How does mythical memory shape nationalism, and specifically Zionism? I argue that Biblical tales resonate powerfully with Israeli Jews who live with, in and through their religious past, occasionally re-experiencing it, even as they resist it. Studying this biblical resonance can reveal people’s political sentiments: the emotional and moral drivers of their public beliefs, behaviors, and identities.
In his famous treatise on nations as “imagined communities,” Benedict Anderson suggests that premodern narratives were told in messianic time and thus avoided co-occurrence. Conversely, modern narratives separate past from present, imagining the latter as experienced simultaneously by compatriots, thereby creating a nation.
Jewish and Zionist narratives upend Anderson’s thesis. The Hebrew Bible does narrate co-occurrences. The story of David and Goliath and the parallel epic tales of the divided Kingdom are two cases in point. Equally intriguing, the Zionist/Israeli case demonstrates that the modern, national, present can be steeped in a mythical, biblical past. This phenomenon extends beyond Israel. Modern nations with deep mythological roots are not merely imagined, and re-imagined, but are re-animated communities immersed in religious meta-narratives, re-experiencing their past in their present.
My study employs discourse analysis and phenomenological sociology – understanding a people’s experiential “lifeworld,” including their political world – and focuses on the socio-political reverberations of five politically potent biblical stories.

“In the Caucasus, Muslims were like our brothers, but we were in our place, and they were in theirs”: Remembering Jewish-Muslim Relations in Acre
Uri Rosenberg and Chen Bram

This paper examines how immigrants remember Jewish–Muslim relations in Azerbaijan, and how they grasp current intercommunal ties in Acre, a ‘mixed’ Jewish- Arab town in northern Israel.

Acre was one the most violent arena of tensions between Jews and Palestinians during the intercommunal violence of May 2021, but also earlier – in 2008, when an Arab resident drove into a Jewish neighborhood in the sacred holiday of Yom Kippur. This event sparked Jewish-Arab riots in the town. Many of the Jews who were actively involved in these clashes were immigrants from Azerbaijan and Daghestan (who belong to the wider ‘Kavkazi’ Mountain Jews community) who form a sizeable ethno-cultural group in Acre.

In Daghestan, and moreover – Azerbaijan, past and present good relations between Muslim and Jews are praised. Our historical research generally supports this image: Jews and Muslims conducted close and friendly relations during the Soviet era. The events in Acre, hence, offer a puzzle: why Jews from Azerbaijan became the forefront of anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim sentiment in Acre?
This case study exemplifies how collective memory is reshaped and modified in the context of relocation in Israel’s periphery. While presenting and re-evaluating their experiences, immigrants correspond with current understanding of Jewish-Muslim relations propagated by right-wing ethno-national Jewish ideologies. Narratives of living together of different ‘Kavkazi’ sub-groups are pushed aside, sometimes even ostracized. On the other hand, the specific memory of one town, Quba, where Jews and Muslims lived relatively separately, became the hegemonic story among the immigrants of Acre.

D6 – Violence

Mnemonic Frames in “Unsettled” Times: Mobilizing the Past After Political Violence
Vaclav Masek

After periods of political violence, a national memory culture of denial can be expressed in civic life in various ways, including the censorship and suppression of narratives that challenge the dominant official version of history. The nation-state can refuse to acknowledge the harm caused by past actions and avoid apologies or reparations. Figures who played a role in the denied events may become glorified, and the victims’ experiences become downplayed. These expressions of institutionalized denialism can limit the ability of society to learn from the past, acknowledge historical injustices, and pursue reconciliation and healing. How do victim groups and civil society disarticulate a national culture of denial?

My research reveals that emancipatory Indigenous social movements organizing against multinational extractivism in Guatemala use the collective memory of triumph over adversity to motivate collective action, structuring counter-hegemonic struggles in societies reeling from political violence. Participant observation, interviews, and testimonies of genocide survivors provide empirical data showing how mnemonic frames connecting past injustices to present grievances encourage contentious political action in fragile civil societies. In these fraught transitions from authoritarianism to democracy, social movements draw on the most painful past as a source of inspiration to persist in organizing, even in the face of systematic exclusion. My theoretical contribution to the study of collective action and collective memory seeks to introduce a framework for understanding the cultural mechanisms that reconfigure national identity and contribute to transitional justice “”from below”” in post-conflict societies.

Movements and memory in post-violence Basque country: a generational perspective
Stefano Filippini

This paper investigates collective memory within social movements in post-conflict Basque Country. The project analyses how progressive and nationalist movements remember the ethno-nationalist armed group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) and how the mnemonic process differs between the new post-conflict generation of activists and the older ones. The former remembers indirectly the armed group, whereas the latter had directly experienced ETA during the former decades. Moreover, by growing up in different times, movement generations experienced diverse political socialisations and practices and different perspectives on the relationship between violence and stateless nationalism.
This research lies at the intersection of social movements, political violence and memory studies. Rather than focusing on the construction of explicit memory, the aim is to research the implicit ‘memory in movements’ and the construction of different mnemonic communities by applying an inter-generational (post-conflict VS in-conflict) and intra-generational (radical VS moderate) analysis.
Furthermore, the final goal is to assess how this memory process influences the creation of a specific collective identity within the movement’s generations. Collective identity is an important indicator of change and continuity in movements, and it lies at the base of their existence.
By taking a narrative approach, I intend to analyse collective memory by looking at the movement generations’ shared cognitions (how problems and solutions are collectively framed), social boundaries (how the movement distinguishes itself from other actors) and emotional proximities (collectively shared emotions towards specific events and actors).

Narratives of Struggle:  Collective Trauma and Everyday Resistance as a Catalyst for Palestinian Identity
Patrycja Krol

In my presentation, I want to focus on the interplay between collective trauma and the persistent practices of everyday resistance, showcasing how the memory of historical injustices forms the bedrock of Palestinian identity and serves as a driving force behind their everyday resistance against the Israeli occupation and ongoing struggle for justice and self-determination.

The Palestinian narrative, deeply rooted in the collective trauma stemming from the displacement and dispossession of Palestinians since 1948, stands as a pivotal force in shaping their collective identity. My focus will center on the West Bank and East Jerusalem, investigating how the memories of historical injustices, notably the Nakba, act as catalysts for routine acts of resistance, effectively bridging historical grievances with contemporary struggles.

My presentation will be based on my field research conducted within the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Central to this exploration is the examination of perceptions surrounding daily resistance practices among inhabitants of the West Bank. By shedding light on interpretive frameworks and the symbolic significance attributed to these actions, my aim is to uncover the inherent meanings woven into the tapestry of Palestinian identity. Rooted in an analysis of empirical data, I endeavor to outline the contours of a collective Palestinian vision—a cohesive and shared mosaic of identity that transcends societal fragmentation.

Spaces of the Past in Kurdish Documentary Films from Turkey
Nilgün Yelpaze

During conflict and post-conflict contexts creating different platforms where (past) atrocities can be voiced, documented and archived seems to be politically and socially important for many people affected by the violence, and may provide crucial means for achieving a sense of truth and justice. Among other artistic forms, documentary cinema provides a platform for representation, documentation, and archiving, as well as the mobilization of discourses for justice and peace. Films provide for the depiction of events that governments and other powerful actors would wish to forget.
Kurdish documentary cinema activism has emerged as a significant arena for memory-making in Kurdistan and the diaspora. The great urge for self-expression and resistance in Turkey against the backdrop of persecution and repression from the start of the Republic onward gave rise to Kurdish documentaries that uncover certain truths about Kurdish histories. Whereas the Turkish state’s official national discourse based itself on the denial of the presence of Kurds and Kurdish language(s) within Turkish territory, Kurds discovered many means to express themselves through art and media.
An in-depth examination of documentary films produced in the last two decades in this context refers to specific spaces important for the Kurdish past(s) in Turkish Republic history. This article examines the representations of spatial practices through the juxtaposition of selected scenes from these films. These documentary films use unique techniques and editing styles to depict competing spatial practices that are historically significant to the conflict.

E1 – Digitally mediated identity construction

Media, Nationalism and Bicommunal State in Cyprus
Bahar Taseli

In our media-saturated world, it is hard to deny the mass media’s political, social and cultural importance. In the discursive construction of nations and national identities too, the mass media are significant contributors. The media continuously draw and redraw boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Since the beginning newspapers played a very important role in the spreading of nationalism to masses and they contributed hugely to the formation of an emotive where people felt and imagined that they were part of a great ‘unity’ named a ‘nation’.

As many scholarly works demonstrated, nationalism is not a phenomenon specific to times of wars and conflicts. In the context of Cyprus conflict the year of 1960 was the so-called time of peace as the two antagonistic communities of the island reached an agreement and established the Republic of Cyprus (16th August 1960). Focusing on the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus this paper explores the nationalist representations of Turkish Cypriot newspapers that circulated during this time and questions the role of the media in prolonging intercommunal conflict and antagonism that culminated in the events of 1963. The paper also explores contestations of ethno-nationalism through tracing counter-discourses circulating during this period in the Turkish Cypriot media.

The study is qualitative in nature and the methodological tools employed are textual analysis of newspaper articles as well as in-depth interviews conducted with Turkish Cypriot journalists who projected their memories regarding the time of the establishment of bicommunal independent state in Cyprus.

Pluralistic Unity and National Memory: Sanxingdui’s Role in Contemporary Chinese Ethnonationalism
Sijia Yao

This research critically examines the entanglement of nationalism, collective memory, and digital media in contemporary China, centring on the Sanxingdui archaeological site as a case study. The primary objective is to dissect the construction and consumption of collective memories and national identity in the digital era. Notably, the authorities have accentuated Sanxingdui as the epitome of “”pluralistic unity”” (duoyuan yiti) of the Chinese civilisation, a popular term with profound implications for its relationship with Chinese ethnonationalism.
The study unfolds a multifaceted analysis. It explores the process of integrating Sanxingdui into the broader “”grand narrative”” of Chinese history. Employing discourse analysis, it unearths the discursive strategies underpinning the framing and contestation of both official and online narratives surrounding Sanxingdui, with particular attention to how the concept of “”pluralistic unity”” is incorporated into these narratives and their effects on national identity. Additionally, the research probes the discursive digestion of the “”otherness”” of Sanxingdui artefacts by authorities and netizens, shedding light on the complex processes of interpreting Sanxingdui’s cultural significance in an era of globalization.
Methodologically, this study combines discourse analysis with netnography, providing an exhaustive examination of online discourse, social media interactions, and official communications relating to Sanxingdui. By delving into the digital landscape, this research enhances the understanding of the evolving constructs of national identity and memory in modern China. Ethnosymbolism serves as the guiding theoretical framework, illuminating the role of symbols and narratives in shaping national identity and collective memory.

Africa as a non-Western Other to China: The Representation of Africa in Chinese state media
Tongzhou Ran

Billig (1995, p.78) argues that nationalism is an ideology of Otherness, as “there can be no ‘us’ without ‘them’”. Current scholarship focuses on a singular, negative “Other” in nationalist discourse, oversimplifying the complex nature of “the Other” by limiting the discussion to the dichotomy between positive Self-representation and negative Other-representation (Petersoo, 2007). This narrow focus on “one significant Other” (Petersoo, 2007, p.121) is reflected in the studies of Chinese nationalism, which are around the China-West dichotomy and overlook other non-Western countries/entities. It risks reproducing a Western-centric view, portraying China’s national Self merely as a mirroring image of the “Western Other”.

However, it is necessary to recognize the role of “non-Western Others” in shaping China’s perceived identity. Although being underexplored, China’s perception of non-Western nations holds significance for understanding China’s global position and, thereby, its national identity. In response, this paper aims to investigate how Africa is represented as the “Other” in China’s state media by critical discourse analysis. In the post-Cold War era, the ruling party embraced nationalism to replace bankrupt Marxism-Leninism, using state press to propagate such ideology (Zhao, 1998). In particular, the Xi Jinping era witnessed a surge of nationalist sentiment, illustrating a nuanced mechanism of nationalistic legitimation of authoritarianism (Zhao, 2021; Han, 2021). Analyzing the coverage of Africa from 2014 (the start of Xi Jinping’s leadership) to 2022 in People’s Daily, the prominent state newspaper, this paper will enrich the discussions by exploring the implications of the “non-Western Other” to China, another non-Western nation-state.

E2 – Constructing communities through media

Comics and national identities in 21st century Spain (2007-2023)
Marc Macià Farré and Katerina Valentova

The Catalan comics and those of the Spanish state as a whole have shown a divergent concern to represent the national identities inherent in 21st century Spain in the graphic novel of the last fifteen years. From complete oblivion to the gaze of the national minority, these forms of representation have provided a new perspective on the past in a context marked by state and autonomous memory laws.
This article aims to reflect on the forms of representation of national identities through the contemporary Spanish graphic novel, analyse their discourses and offer an interpretive framework for the understanding of this type of cultural productions and their narrative. By means of a historiographical and philological approach, the presence or absence of the national discourse is addressed in an area of consumption oriented towards the specialized public, often adults, to whom it offers plural narratives about the national reality in the Spanish state, through new readings of the past. The article quantifies and evaluates graphic production between 2007 and 2023, with the aim of obtaining a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the phenomenon and placing it in its cultural and political context. Finally, greater attention is proposed to narratives that address national realities through graphic cultural productions that recreate the past and generate their own historical discourse.

Imaging patriotism through the wills of the war dead
Shingo Sato

In this presentation, I will examine how the wills of the war dead provokes people’s imagination of the nation. Since the defeat in the Pacific War, Japanese people have not experienced a major war and are living in a “”Long Post-War”” period. This “”Long Post-War”” consciousness fosters a sense that the sacrifices of the Pacific War are the basis for the “”present peace,”” and this logic is deeply connected to national identity.

This presentation will focus on the role of the media of wills through which many see kamikaze pilots as patriotic sacrifices. To begin with, the kamikaze pilots, who were bound to die when they went out, left many wills and letters to their families and loved ones. A special focus of this discussion is on the Chiran Peace Museum which exhibits a large number of these wills and is said to be a “”sacred place for Kamikaze”.

Visitors to the museum are moved to tears by the love of family and patriotism (love of nation) of the Kamikaze pilots as they read their wills “”as they are””. This patriotic memory of ‘peace through sacrifice’ is also reinforced by storytellers and is constructed throughout this museum.

Based on the results of my fieldwork and interviews, I will examine how this logic is conveyed to people and how it is reflected in media texts to become a national memory.

Escape and Return: Nationalism in Short Video Narratives through Cultural Heritage Personification
Chunyi Wu and Qianyu Wang

Given the participatory nature of social media, the spread of nationalism is no longer framed in top-down discourse but can be reverse-engineered through participants’ self-representation. Recently, a short video series titled “”Escape from the British Museum”” went viral on Douyin, the Chinese TikTok. The series personifies a jade pot from China, currently housed in the British Museum, sharing its journey to return home. The series garnered 370 million views and sparked a trend of influencers donning costumes or makeup to personify cultural relics to express their yearning for the return of Chinese heritage in the British Museum. Chinese official outlets endorsed this series, viewing the videos and comments as a powerful reflection of people’s desire to reclaim their heritage and amplifying the call for the British Museum to repatriate artefacts.

In this context, we scrutinise online content creation as a bottom-up practice for the spread of online nationalism and how the stories of personified cultural heritage can shape collective sentiments. We pose the question, “”How can nationalism be strengthened by content creators employing narratives to personify cultural heritage under the ‘Escape’ hashtag?””. We analyse the top 20 videos under the tag of ‘Escape’ with narrative analysis, focusing on characters, plot, and setting. Through contextualising these, we primarily reveal how the personification of heritage serves as an expression for transmitting national emotions and attitudes, thereby consolidating a collective national identity. Overall, we argue that the spontaneous content creation by users on short video platforms has contributed to consensus-building, thereby strengthening nationalism.

E3 – Nationalization of nature and place

Contested Memory put to Purpose – Narratives in Conflict/Political Tourism: A Comparative Analysis of Northern Ireland and Palestine
Samuel Scanlon

In the case of societies that are currently enduring conflict, settler-colonialism, and apartheid, and societies that have begun to transition towards a post-conflict society; conflict/political tourism has become a very popular niche within the industry. Conflict/political tourism in the context of this paper is understood as conflict related tourism practices within a society experiencing conflict or one that has experienced conflict in living memory. This niche has been created to appeal to the consumer desires for “authenticity” and the “real” stories of conflict. Once formed within a society, contested narratives vie for dominance in this space and are put to purpose by actors and stakeholders in pursuit of their own political ends.
This paper seeks to understand the purpose and mobilisation of these contested narratives by comparing the transitional society of Northern Ireland with Palestine as it experiences ongoing violence. In the context of Northern Ireland we see the prevalence of two competing nationalist narratives following the lines of their recent conflict, each with varying methods and successes. In the context of Palestine we see the tourism industry being mobilised by the Zionist Israeli nationalism project while Palestinian organisations and individuals use this type of tourism as advocacy for human rights and Palestinian liberation. This paper will focus on the similarities and differences present in these contexts through the structure, purpose, and presentation of these narratives.
This paper will utilise ethnographic participant observation and semi-structured interviews from both case contexts conducted in 2017, 2022, and 2023.

Commemorating national sites and traditions abroad:  Cultural diplomacy and national history
Ruth Hemstad

Nationalism and pan-nationalism are closely intertwined with emigration and globalization. This paper addresses the place of national commemoration among co-nationals abroad as a practice stimulated by cultural diplomacy organizations in Scandinavia. ‘World federations’ reaching out to compatriots worldwide were founded in the Scandinavian countries at the beginning of the 20th century, echoing similar organisations such as Alliance Française (1883) and Societá Dante Alghieri (1889). The Norse Federation (1907) and The National Association for the Preservation of Swedishness Abroad (1908) were responses to mass migration from the Scandinavian countries. These organisations sought to cultivate national identities and feelings of national belonging among the emigrated population and expatriates. Main means employed in this endeavour were to stimulate commemorations of Scandinavian history abroad, and the commemoration of emigration to the USA in Scandinavia.
This paper examines the public use of history in a transnational and transatlantic public sphere through the creation of national sites and commemorations of anniversaries beyond the nation-state territory and among national diasporas. Of particular interest is the efforts by the cultural diplomacy organisations in preserving and supporting older and new national monuments and the celebration of national days and anniversaries. While the Swedish organisation focused on Europe, the Norwegian counterpart mainly concentrated their efforts on the United States. Pertinent cases in point are the role of the Gustavus Adolphus chapel in Lützen for the Swedish organisation and the celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day 17 of May and the 100year anniversary of the Constitution in 1914 for the Norwegians.

Revisiting the Mississippi River as a National Icon
Dorothy Zeisler-Vralsted

Long celebrated as one of America’s national treasures, the Mississippi River is integral to a history including mythologies of unruly raftsmen, steamboat captains, and the Lost Cause. Poets, artists, and musicians commemorate the river and its role in the creation of an “empire.” Boosters of the robust nationalism that swept the U.S. in the mid-nineteenth century recognized the river’s claim on the U.S. narrative; a claim that persists today, supported by recent memorials to various Mississippi River actors. For example, along a rehabilitated Cincinnati waterfront plaques memorialize nineteenth century riverboat captains and their expertise in navigating the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The Mississippi is also the site for nostalgic riverboat cruises romanticizing an earlier riverine society comprised of roustabouts, planters, traders, and navigators.
Missing, however, are the accounts of African Americans who also experienced the river through enslavement, free labor and a means to escape. Their stories, while equally compelling in the historical narrative, are not cause for celebration and instead reveal an American past rife with inequalities and injustices. In sustaining a nationalist discourse, how do we incorporate African Americans’ experience in the greater Mississippi River narrative? My proposal will explore how these missing histories form a more complete Mississippi River history and the river’s role in cementing an American nationalism that remains embedded in U.S. culture.
Sources include historical accounts, literary works, art, musical compositions, and recent efforts at memorializing sites along the river.

Catalanizing the Costa Brava: Local Interests, Global Tourism, and the Nationalist Power of Authenticity in the late Twentieth Century
Max Ferrer

In recent decades, Catalonia has become one of Europe’s most popular international tourism destinations. During this period, the manner in which Catalonia was presented to the world changed dramatically. While local actors encouraged a transition from a model of traditional mass package tourism to one focused on heritage attractions, across the world, tourism was increasingly understood as a way to respectfully and responsibly learn about local history and culture. These intersecting developments transformed tourism on the Costa Brava into a vehicle of cultural representation and commemoration that could be promoted on a large scale. This development benefitted the region’s nationalist movement by sustaining the production and promotion of national myth, but also by popularizing nationalist understanding of culture, itself.

In this paper, I argue that claims to authenticity, which emerged as shrewd marketing language in the increasingly competitive tourism market of the 1980s and 1990s, relied on and sustained an ontology of marketable and consumable national difference. The resulting Catalanization of the region’s attraction conditioned the international projection and reception of the region as historically, linguistically, culturally, and politically different from Spain and, indeed, the rest of the world. This research shows how ideas of consumable authenticity functioned as an important mediator between nationalism and globalization, popularized nationalist thinking without the influence of committed nationalist actors, created and popularized national myth, and helps us understand the evolving place of the national cultures from the 1970s to today.

E4 – The relationship of nationalism and sexuality through memory

Diseased bodies and embodied Nation: Collective memory of health and sexuality in Gandhi’s Nation
Atish Das and Manhar Charan

Why was health and sexuality so crucial to Indian nationalist imagination? How these discursive strategies etched a body-society homology in Nation’s collective consciousness? Thematically, the urge to recuperate individual bodies as well as the social body from the diseases of ‘hypersexuality’, ‘fecundity’ and ‘moral decrepitude’ permeated throughout imperialist and nationalist politics. Likewise, health and sexuality emerged as potent sites of national memory under Gandhian politics (especially in the 1920s and 30s) that sought to formulate a purified national imagination centered on the organic perfectibility of native bodies. With the exigency of imperial body politics, from regulating prostitution, Katherine Mayo’s vitriol in ‘Mother India’ (1927) to the Hutton census (1931) condemning Indian bodies as ‘overly fecund’, health and sexual perfectibility were taken up as the signifiers of racial and moral superiority. With the imperial de-historicization and condemnation of Indian sexuality, the social body preceded the individual bodies and perpetuated a mythic archetype of ‘diseased’ nation. Gandhian nationalist politics countered this imperial rhetoric by rekindling mythicized ideals of social health and sexuality (such as ‘Bramhacharya’ or ascetic masculinity and conjugal femininity) and emphasized on their continual presence in a quasi-historical manner. Here, we will be critically examining Gandhian reflections on the Mother India debate, Prostitution prohibition laws, Hutton census controversy, debates on contraceptive methods and indigenous/celibate sexology. Thus, the paper explores how the imbrication of health and sexuality with the collective memory birthed the notions of putative national identity and embodied everyday discourses and national imagination.

Heterosexuality as political rationale: postcolonial nationalism & the work of vulnerability
Pavan Mano

Aligned with the critical branch of nationalism scholarship, I locate the affects of vulnerability in the circulation of nationalism in Singapore and the sexual, racial, and gendered logics that issue from it. Reading a variety of texts comprising political biographies of government leaders, state rhetoric, as well as laws and public policies, the article begins with a historicization of Singapore’s independence as the consequence of separation from Malaysia. I argue that because independence derives from separation instead of conquest, Singapore’s brand of postcolonial nationalism is distinct from other more triumphant iterations, and aided by a state beset by an acute paranoia around national survival, protection and regeneration. In this paper, I am interested in the work that this memory of vulnerability is made to do in sustaining the nation, as well as how it legitimizes particular expressions of sexual and racial life. I suggest that three major sites work together to remediate the state’s paranoia – public housing, the family, and the military – which work to bind heteronormativity with the nation. For example, the affects of vulnerability rationalize a policy of conscription which requires that adult men serve for two years in the military. At the same time, the state’s preoccupation with the reproduction of the nation produces the gendered expectation where women are expected to contribute to the nation’s reproduction through heterosexual coupling and bearing children. Taken together, I want to suggest that the affects of vulnerability that are central to postcolonial nationalism in Singapore power a specific form of heterosexuality that rationalizes heterosexual coupling, domesticity, reproduction, and a gendered division of duties as fundamental to the nation.

LGBTQ+ Asylum Claimants as Intimate Citizens and the Rise of Homonationalism: Transnational Intersections of Memory, Place and Media
Christoper Pullen

LGBTQ+ asylum claimants appear stateless, as the homeland nation state often appears as a site of historical trauma, persecution, and vulnerability, while the desired new homeland too can be experienced as an alien landscape, even if it appears to offer rescue, harbour and potentially salvation. However, when identifying with new homelands LGBTQ+ asylum claimants, often exhibit a sense of ‘intimate/sexual citizenship’ (see Evans 1993; Plummer 2003), framing emotional senses of belonging, that appear as transnational, hybridising culture (see Bhabha 1994). Despite this, the rise of ‘homonationalism’ (Puar 2013) a biopolitical shift that encodes LGBTQ+ rights in many western constitutions (and may be co-opted by the right wing), problematizes notions of citizenship equality for non-western queer citizens.

Drawing evidence from interviews with LGBTQ+ asylum claimants who engaged with regional NGOs in the UK (Pullen and Franklin 2023), and framing documentary media representations within Flee (Jonas Poher-Rasmussen 2021) and Jihad for Love (Parvez Sharma 2008), this paper frames the narrative construction of memory for the LGBTQ+ asylum claimant, in defining their citizenship identity.

While the data from the interviews and the representational world of the documentary media texts, appear to frame a transnational ideology, in creating a holistic vision of the LGBTQ+ asylum claimant, we are presented not so much with a transformative hybrid vision of citizenship, but more of a fluid reality. A sense of being and becoming (Deleuze 1994) is present, counterpointing a nostalgia for the homeland in contrast to their new lived reality, while critiquing the spectre of homonationalism.

E5 – Nationalism, Language, and Religion

Herder and Humboldt: Linguistic Worldview and National Identity
Zuzanna Sima

The link between the linguistic worldview and the concept of nationhood has persisted since its inception, intricately connected to the question of whether language shapes cognition and behavior within the framework of thought community (often identified with the concept of nation).
This presentation explores the historical evolution of the linguistic worldview, analyzing the philosophical insights of Johann Herder and Wilhelm von Humboldt. Employing meticulous text analysis and comparative examination, the study unveils the complex relationship between language, cognition, and the category of nation.
The methodology entails a thorough analysis of key writings by Herder and Humboldt, using text analysis techniques to discern patterns, themes, and underlying philosophical frameworks. The comparative approach illuminates similarities and divergences, shedding light on the development of the linguistic worldview and its profound connection to the notion of nation. The analysis extends to the 20th-century reception of these ideas, particularly within linguistic determinism (and relativism) and cognitive linguistics.
Integral to this exploration is the recognition of the controversy surrounding the two closely related yet distinct concepts: Weltanschauung and Weltansicht. Often used interchangeably and mistranslated, these terms can lead to misinterpretations.
This research aims to deepen our understanding of the interplay between language and national identity, emphasizing the importance of accurate terminology. By integrating text analysis and comparison, the study advances comprehension of the dynamic relationship between linguistic structures, cognitive processes, and the construction of collective ideologies within the context of nationalism.

‘DIY Language for Orangemen’: Ulster-Scots, an invented tradition?
Andrew Ferguson

I propose to discuss the re-emergence of Ulster-Scots ethnicity as an important force in Northern Ireland. When Ulster-Scots re-emerged on the public stage during negotiations for the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement many people decried Ulster-Scots as a ‘DIY language for Orangemen’, something made up by Unionist politicians to attack Sinn Fein and undermine proposals for the promotion of Irish. This paper will address the continuing significance of Ulster-Scots identity in terms of the cultural wars which afflict Northern Irish society. After critically evaluating the leading interpretations of this phenomenon I will argue that Ulster-Scots is not a mere invention created by Unionist politicians for political purposes, but a genuine social movement with the potential to have a positive impact on the peace process.
The paper will explore issues such as nationalism and (invented) traditions, mythmaking and memory; utilising the theories of Anthony Smith and Miroslav Hroch to explain the re-emergence of Ulster-Scots. The work of Wilson and Stapleton on Ulster-Scots identity, and Guy Beiner on social memory, will also be drawn upon to argue that Ulster-Scots is not a recent invention by political elites but a genuine tradition. Too much attention has been paid to the actions of politicians and the full significance of Ulster-Scots can only be appreciated from a bottom-up perspective. The work of Smith, Hroch, Beiner et al will be used to analyse data gathered from in-depth interviews with subjects who identify as Ulster-Scots to better understand the significance of the movement from the perspective of its practitioners.

Covenanting heritage and nationalism in Scotland
Kalyan Bhandari

Scholars have argued that tourism resources in Scotland are largely the product of history. However, despite being one of the prominent historical resources in the southwest of Scotland, Covenanting memorials do not appear in the tourism imagery of Scotland (Bhandari, 2011, 2014). This is interesting as there has been an increased interest in the sites of deaths, atrocities and disasters as tourism attractions in the last two decades. Informed by the theoretical approaches that explain the engagement between tourism and nationalism, this study attempts to examine the dialogues that explain the invisibility of Covenanting memorials of the southwest region in Scottish tourism. The study applies qualitative methodology and reports on data collected through open-ended questions, interviews, field observations, a workshop with tourism stakeholders and regional policy makers (N=75). The findings suggests that the Covenanting heritage is inextricably linked to Scotland, yet it does not form any part of contemporary Scotland’s national imagination. The study advises that the absence of Covenanting heritage in Scottish tourism is because it does not conform to Scotland’s dominant image and is not embedded strongly with Scotland’s national identity. The study will help enrich the conceptual understanding of the relation between death, atrocities, religion, to explain the association between tourism and nationalism and explore the possibility of developing Covenanting memorials in the heritage tourism landscape of Scotland.

E6 – (Post)colonial Memory

Catalan and Scottish nationalism and colonial memory in comparative perspective
Gerard Llorens DeCesaris

This paper examines how 21st-century nationalist movements in Scotland and Catalonia navigate their colonial pasts within the context of increasingly multicultural societies. Over the past fifteen years, pro-independence movements in Scotland and Catalonia have notably intensified. This is exemplified by Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum and Catalonia’s 2017 referendum. Both territories were involved in British and Spanish imperial endeavors, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, including participation in slavery and colonial expansion. This study investigates the ways both movements have tended to downplay their regions’ roles in these imperial histories, striving to craft national narratives that distinguish themselves from the overarching imperial narratives of Britain and Spain. The paper will explore the ways in which colonial memories have shaped, and continue to shape, the formation of national identities in Scotland and Catalonia. By examining the historical and contemporary dynamics of these identities, this research not only illuminates the specific challenges faced by Scotland and Catalonia but also contributes to a broader conversation on identity, power, and memory, and provides insights into the processes through which nations grapple with their past in multicultural, post-imperial contexts.

Making Everywhere Britain: Scots in London and Understandings of the Aura of Empire
Christopher Cannell

‘… we went… and made everywhere Britain…’ (Interviewee ‘Ross’ 2022)

The relationship of Scots in London to the British Empire is complex. It is tied to historical memories concerning the formation of Union that created the United Kingdom, and Britishness as an identity; and to understandings of contemporary British society.

This paper will unpack these themes utilising new data collected from Scots living in London. The Empire features in three main ways: its role in creating modern London and its economic opportunities; the imperial generation of the lived experience of supreme multiculturalism in London; and the role of empire in creating Britishness and where Scottishness fits into imperial histories.

The data suggests three aspects to these themes. First, the Empire is forwarded as an explanation for these contemporary issues, memorialising, and in certain cases enhancing, its role. Second, the role of Britishness in the formation of contemporary Scots identifications involves historical reference to imperial pasts, including military, economic, institutional and monumental aspects. Third, the role of Empire can often be selectively forgotten or elided when necessary, and that memory of Scotland’s role in Empire can be parlayed into something positive.

These themes are explored with reference to interview data, and to auto-ethnographic reflections on the experience of living in the shadows of London’s imperial edifices, employing Anderson’s (1998) understanding of the “aura” arising from the international “seriality” of imperial Britishness, and the consequences of the “binding” of that seriality for the historical memory of contemporary Scots in the metropolitan capital.

Imagined Nationalism in Collective Memory Outthermost Small Island Communities (Study on Luang Island, Maluku Province, Indonesia)
Efilina Kissiya and Gabor Biczo

The concept of Indonesia as a unitary state and archipelagic state was legally formed on 17 August 1945 with eight provinces. Furthermore, to date, there are 34 provinces with more than 17 thousand islands and 111 outermost islands bordering 10 countries. Luang Island is one of the outermost islands in Indonesia, administratively located in Maluku Province, Southwest Maluku Regency. This island is close to Timor Leste in the west and the Australian continent in the south. This research is narrative research that aims to reveal the image of nationalism in the collective memory of the people on Luang Island. The method used is an ethnographic method with a historical approach. Data was obtained through in-depth interviews and archival studies. Data was analyzed using interactive analysis from Miles and Huberman, which consisted of data collection, data reduction, data presentation and conclusions or verification. This research was carried out in July-August 2022 and August-October 2023. The research results show that the image of nationalism in the collective memory of the people of Luang Island is not only a reaction to colonialism but also the spirit of having this nation and state with all its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, every community of Indonesian society has nationalism according to their respective life contexts, culture, and geographical location. The forms of nationalism become increasingly diverse as a community develops within a country. The results of this research add to the reference for defence and security studies in border areas in Indonesia.

F1 – Digital commemoration

Commemorating democracy: Media, nation, and memory in interwar Sweden
Magnus Rodell

In the spring of 1935, an extensive national commemoration was taking place in Sweden: Five centuries had passed since the first gathering of the Swedish Riksdag (diet) – the heart of the Swedish democratic governance – took place in the town of Arboga. For almost a week, several significant public manifestations took place – exhibitions were opened, statues were inaugurated, and large banquets and dinners were arranged. Prominent actors of Swedish society and politics made public appearances and gave speeches to large audiences. Contemporary press and media devoted considerable attention to these events.

Using this 500th anniversary celebration as my primary empirical case, the purpose of my presentation is to discuss certain issues of a principle or theoretical nature concerning the dynamic relationship between media, memory, and nationalism. Using the analytical concept of “media event”, I will examine how the anniversary was used by contemporary media, and especially the daily press, as a platform to formulate, diagnose, and represent contemporary domestic political conditions. A narrative was produced of the nation’s past that painted a picture of a clear national continuity in terms of the democratic status of the nation, its political institutions and political government.

Thus, in the spring of 1935, Sweden’s democratic state was celebrated at a time when democracy was seriously threatened and abolished in several European countries. The Swedish example stood out and displays how democracy and nationality was celebrated in the turbulent political context of the interwar period.

Collective Memory in the Digital Age: Holocaust Remembrance
Darien DiNaro

The purpose of this study is to investigate and compare in-person attendance at Holocaust memorials and museums and online viewership of related websites within the context of a collective memory framework. Focusing on Holocaust memorials and digital platforms dedicated to the Holocaust, the research seeks to understand the dynamics of collective memory in both physical and digital spaces, as well as the implications of these dynamics on the formation of collective memory and its applications.

The study will employ temporal trend analysis to compare peoples access to sites of collective memory surrounding dates of commemoration or other dates that may initiate memory recall. This data analysis will answer questions including, when and why do people access digital versus physical sites of collective memory, what is the reach of digital versus physical sites, and who is in control of digital versus in person sites of collective memory.

The findings of this research will both contribute to current understanding of collective memory as well as provide practical insights for museum curators, educators, and digital content creators seeking to enhance the impact of Holocaust-related narratives in both physical and online environments. Understanding the line between physical and digital may allow us to adapt digital spaces to better embrace the principles of moral remembrance that are often encoded into physical spaces of remembrance.

Framing of the Bleiburg Commemoration in Croatian Online Media
Davor Pauković and Marko Roško

Ever since the demise of communist rule in the early 1990s, the legacy of socialist Yugoslavia has caused heated debates in Croatian society, creating different contested narratives. The central commemoration and the symbol of remembering communist crimes in Croatia is the annual commemorative gathering in the small Austrian town of Bleiburg. In the last twenty years, we can follow antagonistic frames reproduced in speeches, media reports, and comments pertaining to the Bleiburg commemoration. These frames can be divided into two main groups, either affirmative or critical. Our research investigates how Croatian online media outlets frame the Bleiburg commemoration. The selected outlets for analysis are,, Več,, and The rationale for this selection is as follows: is acknowledged as the most widely read Croatian online media outlet, as reported by Reuters’ Digital News Report in 2023. and Več are esteemed as the leading daily newspapers in the country. Additionally, and represent newer examples of media outlets with opposing views. This study employs text codification to analyze online media content, categorizing narratives as pro, contra, or neutral concerning the Bleiburg from 2015 until 2023. Notably, all five selected media outlets consistently rank among the top 15 most-read sources on a weekly basis, according to Reuters’ Digital News Report data spanning the past seven years. This research will contribute to the quantitative analysis of the narrative surrounding Bleiburg, which is completely unexplored in current literature.

F2 – Collective identities

Identity and family memory practices among Istrian Italians
Lorenzo Canepari

In the aftermath of WWII, the Italian speaking communities of Istria – a region on the north-eastern Adriatic Sea – migrated in mass from the newly formed Republic of Yugoslavia to Italy. Their families’ stories have often been passed on to the new generations and some of their descendants still maintain forms of Istrian social cohesion, for example in the shape of shared associative activities. The memories of those events are a contested theme in the Italian public sphere and are entwined with distinctive understandings of Italian nationalism. My work focuses on the impact that everyday memory practices occurring in Istrian families have on how their members imagine the past, mobilise in organised groups, and identify as Istrians and as Italians. It is based on a series of semi-structured interviews gathered in 2022 within Italian families of Istrian origins, and from representatives of associations that aim to preserve the legacy of the Italians from Istria. The semi-structured interviews are backed by ethnographic data collected between 2019 and 2022 in Trieste, Rome, and Verona, three cities where the communities of the Istrian descendants are active in different forms and scales. The data show how the practice of family traditions and the storytelling about the family past usually manifest in casual forms and originate from everyday situations like meals, housework, and other domestic activities. These stories and traditions are framed into broader historical narratives with nationalist connotations. Intimate, everyday memory practices are key components for the formation of the individual’s national identity and mobilisation.

The Green Pioneer Myth: Environmental Nationalism Through Constructed Narratives and Collective Memory in China, Taiwan, and Singapore
Virginie Arantes

This paper examines the phenomenon of myth-making in the context of environmental nationalism, specifically focusing on how China, Taiwan, and Singapore strategically construct narratives to position themselves as pioneers in environmental conservation. Drawing on the concept of invented traditions, as articulated by Eric Hobsbawm, our research delves into the deliberate creation and dissemination of the “”Green Pioneer Myth”” through official statements and social media platforms.

In each country, we explore historical events, policies, and figures that have been mythologized to emphasize environmental leadership, contributing to the shaping of collective memory. The narrative highlights visionary leaders, successful conservation initiatives, and the establishment of environmental milestones. This myth is perpetuated through various channels, including state-sponsored communications and social media campaigns.

By adopting a qualitative Discourse Analysis, this paper seeks to identify recurring mythic themes and assess their impact on shaping national identities intertwined with ecological consciousness and collective memory. The deliberate construction of the Green Pioneer Myth aligns with Hobsbawm’s concept of invented traditions, showcasing how nations strategically utilize narratives to reinforce values, foster pride, and contribute to a distinctive environmental national identity embedded in the collective memory.

Through this analysis, we aim to contribute valuable insights into the performative nature of environmental discourse in the digital age and its role in shaping national identity and collective memory. Our research sheds light on the deliberate use of myth-making as a tool for environmental nationalism, emphasizing its implications for public perceptions and policy directions.

Football as an agent in the struggle for recognition of national memory: the case of Sporting Club de Bastia
Sébastien Quenot

Sporting Club de Bastia appears to be a powerful vector of Corsican national identity in the struggle for recognition that has been going on since the 1970s between Corsican independence fighters and the French state. How has the stadium become a place of memory for the island, of socialisation for young people, of informal education and of updating the political conflict? The football match gives rise to discourses, rituals and stagings that exacerbate difference and attest through significant others to the otherness and singularity of Corsican culture.
The club, the socios and the ultras supporters mobilise motifs of Corsican national memory to defend the club’s supremacy over the territory and its singular identity in the French championship for sporting, commercial and sometimes political ends. The club’s return to the top flight has given rise to media coverage of conflicts between Bastians (supporters, players and managers) and opponents or officials of the Ligue de Football Professionnel, resulting in transactions between resentment, romantic reification and political recognition. Should this be seen as a sportification of political conflict (Elias and Dunning 1986)? Are we witnessing the cultural hegemony of Corsican nationalism, or, on the contrary, its overtaking by the consumption of emotional commodities that perpetually and peacefully stage an unresolved political conflict ?
After a descriptive introduction presenting the political situation on the island, we will analyse the discourses and mobilisations of supporters over the period 2010-2017, the mobilisations of the Collective for recognition of the disaster of 5 May 1992 and the discourses of official bodies with regard to the club and the ‘Corsican context’.

F3 – Reproducing remembrance

Redrawing the Political Cleavage: Political Discourse, State Violence, and Insurgent Mobilization in Mid-Twentieth Century Colombia
Laura Acosta

Contrary to the classical scholarly notion that social conflict reinforces pre-existing political divisions; this article argues that civil wars can redraw political cleavages. It examines the evolution of civil wars in Mid-Twentieth Century Colombia, which is a period initially marked by a Liberal-Conservative conflict that transformed into a civil war between the state and communist guerrillas, to understand why and how civil wars can redraw political cleavages. The author draws upon historical books, archival records, and newspapers to construct a dataset spanning seventeen years of political claims and violent events. Using a combination of social network analysis, spatiotemporal analysis, and qualitative text analysis, this article demonstrates how the creation of an imagined enemy in political discourse can initiate a process of political cleavage transformation. The combination of three mechanisms contribute crucially to the materialization of the imagined enemy: boundary demarcation, identity shift, and actor legitimation. In isolation, these mechanisms are insufficient. This article shows that the redrawing of political cleavages in civil war can only be understood by examining the interconnected influence of political discourse and violence on the mobilization process.

The Date Debate: How the CCP Rewrote China’s World War II
Emily Matson

In 2023, it is abundantly clear that the end of the Cold War failed to produce either the “end of history” or the end of World War II’s long shadow. Recent scholarship on World War II has engaged in exciting new ways with “meta-memory” and public debates about the war’s frameworks, timeline, and overall legacy. However, few studies have examined how and why the PRC (People’s Republic of China) chose to officially shift the War of Resistance against Japan in 2017 from 8 to 14 years. My research argues that Northeastern Chinese scholars had a sizeable impact in shifting the war timeline through the “date debate,” a vigorous scholarly discussion from the 1980s through 2017 regarding when the war should truly start. Significantly, this shows that rather than an authoritarian monolith where decisions are always made top-down, the PRC also relies on regional influences when crafting national-level policy. The shift of the war timeline was beneficial both for Northeasterners and for the national government, which has been able to capitalize on this for both increased domestic and international legitimacy. It is undeniable that 21st century Chinese nationalism continues to be deeply shaped by these evolving interpretations of the war’s timeline, which I am introducing into Anglophone academia for the first time.

Public (re)construction of war memory and national identity: Examining audience reception of the documentary film Shusenjo
Junki Nakahara

The documentary film Shusenjo (The Main Battleground), produced by Japanese-American producer/director Miki Dezaki, deals with the historical controversy regarding the so-called “comfort women” [ianfu]—a euphemistic term describing Asian women who were forced into providing sexual services to Japanese soldiers before and during WWII. The film portrays the sociopolitical tension surrounding Japan’s war/colonial responsibility, encapsulating both the traditional and revisionist-nationalist views of Japanese war memory. This study employs the concept of collective memory, emphasizing its integral role in national identity construction and maintenance process, as well as Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding model, to understand how audiences decode the documentary and navigate the complex landscape of political opinions regarding the nation’s past. It discusses the key question: What prospective views of Japanese national identity shape the retrospective war memory about the “comfort women”? By analyzing audience review ratings and comments using critical discourse analysis, this study provides nuanced insights into the ongoing public discourse surrounding this controversy. The audience reception, reflected in online comments, becomes a crucial indicator of varying interpretations and political attitudes. Despite (or due to) the producer’s intention to avoid conclusive answers, supporters of the traditional historical view value the film as a platform to contest dominant social and political actors who contribute to and capitalize on the spread of revisionist discourse, while those favoring the revisionist idea devalue the film, highlighting an explicit ideological divide. The documentary, through its audience reception, creates a space for the (re)construction of perspectives on collective war memory and complicates its process.

F4 – Nationalism and Education

From the national curriculum to school inspections? Rethinking the decolonisation of history learning in England
Pier-Luc Dupont

In recent years, political struggles to dislodge the Eurocentrism of national history learning have mainly been fought under the banner of ‘decolonisation’ (Bhambra, Gebrial and Nisancioglu, 2018), notwithstanding notable continuities with longer-standing ideas of ‘multiculturalism’ (May, 1998). A key question for anti-racist activists and theorists alike is what sort of policy change would be necessary to expose all children and young people to ethnic minority/global majority perspectives on the formation and evolution of nations. While a common starting point for such an inquiry is the state-mandated curriculum (Moncrieffe, 2020; Joseph-Salisbury, 2020), this paper explores the comparative merits of a currently underdeveloped approach relying on lighter-touch and more flexible inspections of curricular inclusiveness in primary and secondary schools. An analysis of contemporary curriculum policy and its impact in England reveals that the national curriculum undoubtedly sets influential standards for history learning, both directly by determining contents in many schools and indirectly by informing GCSE and A-level specifications. Yet even if we leave aside the increasing number of ‘academies’ that do not have to follow the national curriculum, schools and teachers’ considerable leeway in selecting textbooks and other learning materials means that counter-hegemonic perspectives can easily be overlooked, especially in the less diverse establishments where they are most needed. A universal inspection system drawing on anonymous complaint mechanisms and sustained input from minority representatives as well as the Equality and Human Rights Commission could mitigate these problems.

Dongbei memories: local history and patriotic education of northeast China in the 20th Century
Can Tao

This paper explores the historical context of patriotic education in Northeast China, within the larger project examining Chinese nationalism in education. The term ‘Dongbei’ refers to the north-eastern region of China, encompassing Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces. Local historical records of Snow City (real name anonymised) were collected from the library, including Snow City’s chronicles, official historical records, newspapers, and ‘Wenshi Ziliao’ (Literary and Historical Materials, similar to a collective ethnography), the majority of which are not digitized. Public school education in Snow City traces its roots back to the early 1900s, as does the practice of ‘ideological and political education’. Over the course of more than a century, the content and methods of patriotic education have been constructed differently by various governing regimes, from the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China to the Japanese colonial era and various leaderships within the People’s Republic of China. As a borderland, Dongbei has a unique history of ethnic integration and experiences with Russian and Japanese colonialism. This contrasts with the central region of China, which was deeply influenced by Confucianism for thousands of years. This paper aims to illustrate how the implementation of patriotic education policies always builds on both the legacy of past nation-building efforts and the peculiarity of the context, offering a nuanced reflection on Dongbei’s local memories and China’s “standardised” nationalism.

Integration Through Tradition: The Retention of Family Traditions Among Migrant Youth in Slovenian Schools
Lucija Dežan

This qualitative study focuses on the lived experiences of migrant youth in Slovenian primary and secondary schools, aiming to uncover the complex layers of integration as perceived by the children’s retention of family traditions. Grounded in a child-centred theoretical perspective, the research analyses the subjective experiences of migrant children within the primary and secondary school settings, focusing on their strategies for integration and the role of cultural traditions in their lives. Conducted from October 2020 to April 2021, the research engaged with migrant children aged 10-14 and 15-19 across seven schools: three primary and four secondary, capturing a diverse range of migrant experiences. A total of 99 interviews and 11 focus groups were conducted, with the majority being face-to-face, while some adapted to online methods due to COVID-19 restrictions. Embracing a child-centred approach, the study considers children as experts of their own narratives and the research amplifies their voices as skilled communicators and meaning-makers. The methodology is centred on capturing the subjective understandings of these children, focusing on how they perceive and navigate the integration process while maintaining family traditions. The findings aim to illuminate the dynamic interplay between the preservation of cultural identity and the strategies deployed by migrant youth to integrate into a new society. The contribution of this research is twofold: it demonstrates the resilience of family traditions in the integration process, and it offers valuable insights into how educational environments can support the integration process while respecting the importance of cultural traditions.

F5 – Soviet Pasts

Revision of the past in the Soviet Georgia and transformation of the national identity
Lev Kapitan

Official historiography in the Soviet Union legitimised the existence of the state. However, as glasnost politics took place in the second half of the 1980s, alternative narratives cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Soviet state and Soviet Georgia’s membership in the Union. As Cultural Trauma developed after the tragic events of April 9, 1989, in Tbilisi, the revision of the past took a new direction – the Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918-1921) was presented in a positive light. And the Sovietization of Georgia was interpreted as a negative event in the life of the Georgian nation. Based on the new historical narrative, the Georgian nation did not fulfil the main task of nationalism – possession of a nation-state, on the contrary, it was in a subordinate position. Consequently, the struggle for secession from the Soviet Union took on a legitimate form.
The process of revision of the past in Soviet Georgia in 1987-1991 can be analysed with the use of qualitative research methods, primarily content analysis of school textbooks, official documents and newspaper articles written by the historians. The theory of Cultural Trauma by Jeffrey Alexander can provide an explanatory framework for understanding the transformation of the national identity in Georgia.

The Janus-faced retrotopia of Estonia
Pille Petersoo

In 2023 Estonia celebrated the 105th anniversary of independence and also marked the 32nd anniversary of breaking free from the Soviet Union. Looking at the country, we’re a successful small nation-state. We have a functioning democracy and economy, we’ve joined the EU and NATO, and have managed to integrate the Russian-speaking population despite predictions to the contrary.

The break with the suffocating Soviet past has been total, and for most people any hardships encountered now are worth the independence. Yet, even after more than 30 years, we still encounter narratives longing for the Soviet era. The paper focuses on those narratives, both from the right-wing and left-wing (populist) parties of Estonia. Tom Nairn described nationalism as being Janus-faced, looking both to the past and to the future. In Estonia’s case, the past of the left and right are very different indeed.

Using the concept of retrotopia, defined by Ruth Wodak as “a nostalgia for a past where everything was much better”, I look at the narratives of parties both on the right and left. A special focus will be paid to the aspects of the Soviet past that can – or cannot – be remembered and celebrated in Estonia, focusing mainly on the relocation of the Bronze Soldier statue in the capital back in 2007 and the removal of a Soviet tank-monument in the border town of Narva in 2023. The discourses from the left and right were markedly different, both evoking different memories from the past.

Legacy of December 12, 1946: Unraveling Memory Politics and Ethnic Identity in Iranian Azerbaijan
Ismayil Zeynalli and Gulamhuseyn Mammadov

Against the backdrop of the post-World War II era, our research delves into the pivotal historical event that transpired in Iranian Azerbaijan on December 12, 1946. This region, previously under Soviet occupation, briefly enjoyed relief from the cultural and linguistic restrictions imposed by the Pahlavi regime.

We investigate the lasting impact of this event on memory politics, ethnic identity, and nation-building in contemporary Iran. The Iranian government, backed by Western powers during the Cold War, violently suppressed the autonomy movement declared in December 1945, leaving a profound imprint on the collective memory of Iranian Azerbaijanis.

Our study employs a methodological approach combining historical archive analysis and life story interviews with individuals who experienced the events of December 12, 1946, and their family members.

We posit that Iran’s nation-building strategies confront challenges emanating from the personal and collective memories of ethnic minorities within the country. This research sheds light on how historical memory, such as that associated with the December 12 events, significantly influences ethnic identity and actions, providing insights into the complexities of nation-building in multi-ethnic states. Moreover, it underscores the enduring influence of historical memory on contemporary geopolitics, offering valuable perspectives on the intricate dynamics of ethnic relations and conflicts in diverse societies.

F6 – Everyday Nationalism(s)

Which Memories and Why? A Darwinian Social Evolutionary Approach
William Kerr

Memories are important to the collective myth-making that informs national identity and the national stories that undergird nation-states. However, memories are also contested: different groups within nations may have different memories, and institutional memories may change over time, or be interpreted differently (Hutchinson, 2005). An important question is, therefore, why certain memories are selected to become part of the mythmaking, with others left aside; and what factors lead to changes or for discarded memories to be revived. In this paper, I argue that a Darwinian Social Evolutionary (Kerr, 2021; Hearn, 2023) account can help address this. By taking this approach, we can focus on the environmental pressures in institutions, power and culture, that are acting upon nation-states at particular moments that lead to certain interpretations ‘triumphing’ (Runciman, 1995) over others. This theoretical approach can also focus understanding on how ‘forgotten’ memories may be revived or altered according to contemporary pressures. As an example, I will look at Scottish nationalism, arguing that the revival of memories of English oppression, and the Wars for Independence, can be best understood in the changing environment brought on by the collapse of the British Empire.

Radical Left Parties and National Identity in Spain, Italy and Portugal – Rejecting or Reclaiming the Nation
Jacopo Custodi

This book investigates how the radical Left navigates the terrain of nationalism. Traversing Spain, Italy and Portugal, this in-depth study examines how radical left parties either embrace, rebuff or reshape nationalistic sentiments. From Spain’s Podemos grappling with Franco’s legacy, Italy’s evolution from anti-fascist patriotism to cosmopolitanism, to Portugal’s revolutionary echoes in left-leaning banal nationalism, the book offers comprehensive insight into the often-overlooked relationship between radical left politics and national identity. Through discourse analysis, interviews and participant observation, it delves into the reasons behind certain political positions and how they manifest discursively. A must-read for those eager to decipher the crossroads of national identity and left-wing politics in contemporary Europe.

[The book will be out in 2024 in the Palgrave book series “”Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology””]

New War of Independence: July 15 as the Beginning of National Enlightenment in Erdogan´s Political Discourse
Karolina Lahučká

The last coup attempt on July 15, 2016 can be considered a key milestone for contemporary Turkish history. It influenced Turkish politics, society and foreign relations. Moreover, it gave space for creating a new national myth and interpretation of Turkish history. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the events of July 15 to redefine who is Turk based on national sentiment, relation to history and Islam. The main goal of this paper is to show how Erdogan interprets July 15 in his political discourse as a new War for Independence and an opportunity to “purify” the definition of the Turkish nation. The main argument is that Erdogan uses the collective memory of the War of Independence to make a national myth of July 15 and through that to create a new understanding of who is Turk and who is the Other. In Erdogan´s rhetoric, the right Turk is only the one who accepts the official interpretation of July 15 as a new War of Independence, and the Others are Erdogan´s critics, supporters of terrorists and foes of Turkey. Being part of the Turkish nation started to be a political choice – to support or oppose President Erdogan and his policy. This presentation summarizes the main arguments that Erdogan uses in his political discourse to create a new Turk in the context of the July 15 events. The research is based on the political discourse analysis of Erdogan´s speeches for domestic audience.

Myths and memories of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum
Maike Dinger

In popular memory, the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence has become synonymous with cultural grassroots activism and popular participation. Public and media debate repeatedly traced the dynamism of the pro-independence mobilisation to Scottish cultural activism. The related argument of intersecting literary and political vanguardism drew, this paper suggests, on longstanding myths of Scottish identity. While the former seemingly builds on the myth of “cultural devolution” which was coined in the aftermath of the devolution referendum in 1979 (Thomson, 2007; Hames, 2020), the latter evokes sentiments associated with the Scottish Enlightenment and a “myth of egalitarianism” (Hearn, 2000; McCrone, 1992). The pro-independence side, I propose, articulated these myths through a rhetoric of political progressiveness and change in the public and political discourse on the referendum in 2014.

On this basis, this paper analyses continuities and ruptures between longstanding national myths on Scottish identity and their routine performance (Billig, 1997) in the referendum debate in 2014. Accordingly, this paper argues that Scottish nationalist mobilisation for self-governance has strikingly manifested at the intersection of the literary and political. As such, it contributed to the mythologisation of the 2014 referendum into a “festival of democracy” (Macwhirter, 2014) and participation. This myth was arguably written in critical debate and media discourses and continues to shape collective memory of the referendum. To demonstrate how discursive practice has shaped shared experiences and memory of the referendum, this paper (historically) contextualises media representations of popular participation and compares these to first-hand accounts by participants in the referendum debate.

G1 – Memory in the city

Cities as Memory Actors: Multilevel Politics of Memory in South Korean Cities towards Japan
Natalia Matiaszczyk

The politics of memory plays a significant role in the relations between states that have experienced tragic events. Even after several decades, the aggressor and the victim maintain distinct identities, leading to potential disagreements and disputes between them in history, memory and identity. Due to Japan’s annexation and occupation of Korea in 1910-1945, the current relations between the two nations are among the most complicated in the East Asian region. Numerous unresolved historical issues persist, perpetuating strain and detrimentally impacting South Korean-Japanese relations.
The paper presents the novel concept of the multilevel politics of memory, focusing on the role of South Korean cities, in shaping collective memory regarding Japan’s colonial past and wartime atrocities. While previous research has primarily examined the national dimension, this paper highlights the significance of subnational entities. South Korean cities assume three roles in the politics of memory: as actors, they actively commemorate historical events and promote specific narratives; as places, they host official commemoration events, museums, and memorials; and as issues, they hold significant importance within the politics of memory. Based on the multilevel governance theory and concept of the multilevel politics of memory, by examining the case of South Korean cities, this paper emphasizes the importance of considering the local context, historical experiences, and collective memories of cities, providing a comprehensive understanding beyond the national level. It contributes to a deeper understanding of the dynamics between South Korea and Japan and their cooperation or conflict regarding historical matters.

Heritage and Remembrance in Palestinian and Israeli Online Mapping
Luisa Gandolfo

This study considers how online mapping tools, such as Palestine Online Mapping, and Jerusalem, We Are Here, present cartographical mnemonics that reinscribe erased place names and narratives of heritage, memory, and loss. A large body of literature explores the significance of maps as an archive of political and geographical change, yet fewer studies consider how online maps present spaces of memory contestation and renegotiation. The power of maps can be attributed partly to the trust we place in them: our dependence on the sheets of landscape, combined with a faith in the science of mapping, often enables the question of whose map we are viewing, to escape. The cost of this is steep and the unquestioning glance overlooks how maps have been (and continue to be) intrinsic to colonisation, dispossession, and erasure. Drawing on ideas around memoricide [1], urbicide [2], and mnemonic bridging [3], the study puts forward that the combination of the topographic, cadastral, and archival enables the past to nudge the present, re-inserting place names or filling villages that have become ‘voids’ on mainstream maps. By examining how Palestine Online Mapping, and Jerusalem, We Are Here layers the past over the present, the study concludes that their maps constitute cartographical memory work: by reading the names of the depopulated sites, learning the dates and the scale of displacement from the villages and towns, users subtly counter the erasure of the sites that occurs in maps, such as GoogleMaps.

National Reorganization: National Memory and the Gentrification of Saint-Henri in Montréal
Christophe Davis

The Quiet Revolution (1960-1980) led to a drastic redefinition of Québécois nationalism. The cultural, social, and political shifts that modernized the Québécois nation were accompanied by a desire to create new myths and memories, solidifying the renewed national identity. One prominent myth was that of the ‘white Francophone industrial worker,’ who quickly became a national symbol of revolt against Anglophone employers and factory owners. Due to the abundance of factories and industrial artefacts, the neighbourhood of Saint-Henri became the principal spatial setting for this myth and it acquired the status of a ‘quartier populaire’ (people’s neighbourhood). This paper questions the nationalist processes of myth-making and delves into the commodification of such processes for the purpose of capital accumulation. It explores how the fascination with Québec’s renewed industrial memory led to rapid gentrification of the neighbourhood, as people were drawn to its ‘authentic’ industrial landscape. It also assesses the erasure of marginalized and Indigenous memories whose contributions, falling outside of the Québécois of the white Francophone industrial worker myth, were left out of the neighbourhood’s memory landscape. Based on fieldwork in Montréal, involving the collection of photographs from residents and the archives, along with interviews conducted with long-term residents and gentrifiers, this presentation examines how this myth has been integrated into the discourses of residents, facilitating both the erasure of marginalized narratives and the acceleration of gentrification.

Memory as infrastructure – building contemporary Slovenian urban queer spaces using Yugoslav pasts
Tilen Kolar

Contemporary Slovenia is placed in-between perceived progressive European identity-making and the Balkan Yugoslav past, often perceived more conservative. The emerging alternative queer scene in Slovenia that exists in digitally hybrid spaces is transgressing this binary – by utilising socialist Yugoslav pasts and memories in, for example, drag performances, the community is increasingly using the perceived conservative memorabilia for progressive contemporary place-making practices. This paper explores how contemporary queer urban spaces in Slovenia are produced through infrastructures of national memory transmissions. These memory infrastructures are looked at through geographical literature on queer infrastructure which emphasises ‘glitches’ in flows – elements that ‘stop’ human bodies and re-orient them towards alternative futurities. Specifically, the paper asks i) how are memories from the Yugoslav past infrastructured into intimate home-making practices of queer individuals ii) how are cultural elements from the Yugoslav past used for contemporary queer artistic production in public spaces in Ljubljana iii) how mixing contemporary European/Western Slovenian identity-making and former Yugoslav pasts challenge assumptions about Balkan pasts being queer conservative. Answering these questions relies on multi-methods ethnographic fieldwork (one year) in Slovenia, where a PhD student collaborates and lives with an emerging group of drag performers that moved to Ljubljana (Slovenian capital city) from smaller towns. Ethnography entails event and media observations, semi-structured interviews, and the researcher’s self-reflections. Preliminary findings suggest that the Yugoslav collective past often acts as infrastructure for building regional cosmopolitan Slovenian queer identities and urban space, whereas Slovenian national identity-making acts as heteronormative infrastructure that produces ruralities.

G2 – Feminism and National Identity

City stories – Collective nostalgia among women, memory-making and the rise of nationalism in India
Supriya Baily

December 1992. Bangalore, India. A group of young women, just 18 years of age, heard the news of the destruction of the Babri Masjid Mosque, in a distant northern city, where a fringe political party was taking a stand on a platform of religious nationalism. Today, that party is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has taken control of India. Its brand of “muscular” nationalism has permeated the lives of Indians all over the country, including India’s most progressive city, Bangalore. This paper uses nostalgia, memory and pooled trust to elicit narratives from 35 women who were the beneficiaries of the model of secular and progressive education, but have also buffeted by three decades of rising religious and nationalistic ideologies. Using collective nostalgia the paper explores the ways the past is linked to the present, connecting the dots between the changes in one city and the global movement towards nationalism and nativism across others. This paper draws attention to memories of events, in the public and private realm shaping our understandings of larger contexts. This can be particularly helpful when speaking to women and girls who use conversations about memories to decipher larger meanings from those memories as when “girls begin to converse actively about the personal past…they may extract several overarching beliefs from these exchanges.” It is this combination of nostalgia and reminiscing that opens the door to understanding how the Ayodhya riots connects to the divisions being fostered by the Hindutva movement in India for these women today.

Effigy: Femicide, Nationalism and Mourning in Ireland
Ellen O’Sullivan

This presentation is based on my ongoing PhD research, which is a qualitative analysis of femicide in Ireland and the role that the killing of women plays in the construction and maintenance of Ireland as a nation state. I examine this relationship through analysis of news media. Femicide in Ireland is an area of academic enquiry that is a burgeoning field, and examinations of the interplay between femicide and nationalism are essentially non-existent. As there is such limited research on this topic, my project is unique and innovative in its scope.
Using the killing of Jean McConville in 1972 by the IRA as my primary case study, I use Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis to analyse the news coverage of femicide, concentrating on four data sets consisting of articles published the year she was Disappeared (1973); the first attempt to find her remains (1999); the actual discovery of her remains (2003); and the trail of Ivor Bell (2014). I explore the connection between femicide and nationhood through the theorising of performance, memory, and violence, and draw heavily upon the work of Diana Taylor and her own utilization of Anderson’s ‘Imagined Communities’ within the context of the Disappeared as a political phenomenon. My analysis highlights the lack of visibility of victims in the narratives of their deaths, but perhaps most poignantly, it shows the way that news media shapes the presentation of mourning in the public sphere, and how that mourning is informed by gendered dynamics in the liminal space of contested borders.

Transforming Collective Memory Among Feminist Activists in Kosovo and Serbia: A feminist perspective
Adelina Hassani

The chapter explores the meanings of peace, security and collective memory from the feminist standpoints and feminist practices in Kosovo and Serbia that have mobilized against the nationalist narratives regarding the 1990s wars in former Yugoslavia. By focusing on the new generation of feminist activists in Kosovo and Serbia—since the cross-border cooperation of these activists remains under-researched—this chapter endeavors to comprehensively explore the dominant discourses, ideologies, the solidarity they exhibit, and their unwavering commitment to resisting unjust state orders. While the collective memory in both Kosovo and Serbia remains gendered and the contribution of feminist activists for peacebuilding has vanished from the public space and discourse, it has also hampered attempts to open a sincere dialogue among the new generation of feminist activists about peace and security that embeds a feminist approach. Seeking to understand the contemporary feminist activism and cooperation between Kosovo and Serbia, the chapter will trace the continuation of feminist articulation of peace, security and collective memory through the intergenerational lens. The chapter is grounded on qualitative methodology, namely semi-structured interviews with feminist scholars, academics, and activists in Kosovo and Serbia on how they conceptualize, deploy, and enact peace and security concepts in their feminist activism and remembrance of the women’s cooperation in the former Yugoslavia. In addition, the chapter will use secondary data, such as academic and activist writings on feminism and collective memory in Kosovo and Serbia, to shed light on the feminist voice on peace and security and their engagement in peacebuilding.

Decoding “Veerangana” Culture: Commemoration and Representations in the making of heroic Indian Women as Actors, in National Memory, India
Shreya Malik

The popular term “Veerangana”, a 20th century, North Indian creation attributes the able heroic/ brave fighter women who emerged as the counterparts to much masculinized undertones of Veer: The fighter male warrior. Indian history, which is full of examples of these Masculine – Veer characters who have dominated the pages of history since inception. Women, and their deeds in Indian history, often spaced in memory, orality, mythical lore’s and fables were restrictive to the peripheries and the margins. This compartmentalised creation which now exists at the intersections of caste, class and gender has played a major role in re-shaping the nation’s identities and nationalism in the 21st century. Women like Rani Laxmi Bai, Jhalkari Bai, Uda Devi, Asha Devi Gurjari, Ram Pyari Gurjar, Mahabiri Devi, Rani Avanti Bai, Rani Hazrat Mahal, Sikh Mata Gujari Ji, and many more Indian women have been clouded in this category by community histories, with an aim to re- write the history from belong. This paper explores the motivations and the actions of recently emerged “Veerangana” Culture while tracing its historical trajectories using the lens of commemoration and nationalised representations. The following study uses ethnography, done in these recent emerged visual digital forms of community archives using new media to project them. Also this study uses public records, field Interviews from Northern region of India – politicians, activist leaders, DurgaVahini, and Sangh Parivar – Mahilla Pracharakas using participant observation, to showcase the emerging trope of Veerangana Culture based on alternative memory shaping the imagery of brave heroic women as an allegory of Ideal Indian Brave women of the 21st century “New Bharat”.

G3 – Reminiscences of the World Wars

Nationalisation of First World War Memory in Contemporary Ukraine: From Oblivion to Remembrance
Hanna Bazhenova

The Ukrainian nation was divided between the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires at the outset of the First World War. Galicia, Volhynia, Bukovina, Zakarpattia, and, to a lesser extent, central Ukraine, constituted one of the main military theatres in Eastern Europe, and Ukrainians were forced to fight in a fratricidal confrontation on different sides of the barricades, serving in opposing armies. These territories became both the front and the rear in the Great War, witnessing some of the most bloody events.
With the approaching 110th anniversary of the start of the First World War, this paper’s primary focus is to examine the ‘nationalisation’ of war memory in contemporary Ukraine. The nationalisation of memory refers to the re-narration of the Great War and the reinterpretation of its key events in the process of constructing a new national identity and establishing new commemorative traditions. The paper also attempts to define the role of both state and non-state actors in the revival of First World War memory, often referred to as the ‘forgotten war’. It explores the renovation of military graveyards, burial sites, and forts, the restoration of memorials to the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen and soldiers of the Ukrainian Galician Army, and the inauguration of new monuments and memorial places. The author argues that the memory of the war is highly politicised and connected to Ukraine’s attempt to gain independence from 1917 to 1921. The outbreak of full-scale Russian aggression significantly exacerbated the perception of the events that took place during the Great War.

Conflicting National Memories in the Debates on French Canadian Participation During World War 1
Charles-Philippe Courtois

The historiography regarding Canada’s involvement in WW1 has placed more focus on the national myths and memory developed after WW1. This paper aims to explore the insight that the competing narratives put forward in Canada during WW1, and the mobilization of rival historical, “national”, memories in the debates on enrollment and conscription in Canada, can provide on the theoretical debates on nationalism – more specifically, regarding the competing theories of nationalism as summarized by Anthony D. Smith.
The apparent necessity to appeal to diverging myths, memories and symbols for French-speaking or English-speaking publics in Canada, as displayed in the advertisement in favour of enrollment early in the war, was then reinforced with often different myths, memories and symbols mobilized for and against conscription addressing both publics yet opposing them to the other in 1917, which can be analyzed through the lens of theories of boundary (Barth, 1969, Armstrong, 1982). The main sources explored are the newspaper articles and editorials, political speeches and propaganda posters – for elections or enrollment.
Through comparisons with historical myths and memories invoked in anterior debates pitting one such group against the other, for instance in the period preceding the 1837 Rebellions in Lower Canada, as well as similar debates around conscription elsewhere in the Empire, such as Ireland and Australia, we will attempt to determine if these debates in French Canada and Canada as a whole converge with the ethno-symbolist paradigms to understand the phenomenon of nationalism as developed by A.D. Smith, or otherwise.

“Joyful times of peace”  – Twisting memory narratives at Hungary’s centenary WWI exhibition
Andrea Kocsis

This paper analyses the Hungarian Centenary WWI exhibition, A New World Was Born, as a political medium that redefined the historical narrative of WWI by using its memory as a mnemonic device for the current nationalist agenda. The exhibition relies on four main pillars that twist historical objectivity by providing grounding soil for myths beneficial for contemporary political and national discourses. The first theme evokes the image of a pre-WWI Carpathian Basin without territorial claims or ethnic conflicts, where peace was broken only by the outbreak of the War. The second theme elaborates on how the Allied powers triggered WWI and considers the Central Powers as victims of the Western aggressors. The third theme relativises WWI by reducing it to a fraternal war, and the final theme blames the tragedy of the conflict on left-wing governances. This paper discusses how these themes are expressed by museological practices through installations and storytelling. It also examines how the exhibited themes nurture the mnemonic conflict between the strengthening Hungarian nationalism and the representation of the European Union in a populist political climate. Overall, the paper provides a case study which gives a thorough insight into how contemporary museological practices promote the stakeholders’ interpretations of the past in a populist setting by rewriting the traditional reference points of world history and bringing new memory constellations to life. By combining memory and nationalism studies, it is possible to understand better the consequences of undermining mnemonic pluralism by displaying history in illiberal surroundings.

Memory of an exile. A methodological approach to the case of a Basque nationalist exile during the Franco regime
Leyre Arrieta

Going into exile because of a socio-political and military defeat implies the fracture of a life that could have been but was not; it decontextualizes the exiled person from his natural environment. Distanced from his familiar, home environment or country of origin and forced to integrate into another, he gradually shapes his own memory of the exiled existence. This memory is mostly captured in the emotions and feelings expressed in his personal correspondence. It is through these emotions and feelings that we have tried to analyse the experience of the exile and prominent Basque nationalist politician, Francisco Javier Landaburu.
A good theoretical framework and appropriate methodology are both required to lend scientific rigour to an analysis of the emotions. And both can be found at the intersection of two different subfields of history, by interweaving two analytical perspectives that have undergone remarkable development in recent decades: the history of exile and the history of emotions. The methodological challenge posed by the fact that emotions are only partly expressed in words can be somewhat mitigated by the conceptual apparatus provided by the history of emotions, because this approach allows us to analyse, with scientific rigour, the sources available to historians of exile whose object of study – exiled politicians – are no longer alive.

G4 – Nationalism and Activism

Resilience in Repression: Memory, Activism and Indian Sedition Laws
Jyotismita Khataniar and Himangshu Kalita

This research delves into the intricate patterns of coping mechanisms adopted by individuals and grassroots activist communities in response to political repression and growing nationalism, with a specific focus on the impact of sedition laws in India. By examining the interplay between state-imposed restrictions and the collective memory of political repression, the study aims to unravel the nuanced strategies employed by activists to navigate an increasingly constrained civic space.

Drawing on a combination of qualitative interviews, and critical analysis, the research aims to identify a spectrum of coping mechanisms that range from subtle forms of resistance to overt acts of defiance. It investigates how individuals and communities negotiate memory, employing various adaptive strategies to counter the stifling effects of sedition laws on grassroots activism. The analysis discerns the role of narrative construction and counter-narratives in shaping collective memory as a tool for resilience.

Furthermore, the study sheds light on the transgenerational transmission of memories and coping strategies, exploring how communities pass down their experiences of political repression to fortify the resilience of future activists. This research contributes to the broader discourse on political repression by offering insights into the dynamic relationship between state control and grassroots activism, providing a nuanced understanding of the ways in which memory and coping strategies intersect in the face of sedition laws in India. The findings have implications for both scholars and practitioners engaged in the study and promotion of civil liberties and human rights in the context of evolving political landscapes.

#StandwithUkraine: Diaspora Memory Activism in Troubled Times
Daphne Winland

On September 25, 2023, a special Canadian parliamentary session hosting the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, caused a scandal when it was revealed that an honouree at the event, Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian-Canadian, had volunteered for the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi SS. He was one of many Ukrainians and others who emigrated to Canada following WWII, some with little or no scrutiny. Even Vladimir Putin seized upon the opportunity to weaponize the discovery of a diaspora Ukrainian “Nazi” in his campaign to legitimize the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The response from Ukrainians in Canada was swift. Memory narratives focused on victimhood and persecution under communism were quickly deployed through press releases and social media absolving Ukrainians of complicity in war crimes and to view these veterans as patriots.
Nationalist imaginaries grounded in collective memory are often nurtured, contested or disrupted in transnational spaces. This paper addresses Ukrainian diaspora memory activism, as evidenced in lobbying efforts, protests and support for, sometimes controversial, commemorations (e.g. Victims of Communism memorial, unveiled in 2023). Using ethnographic methods, I demonstrate how Ukrainian memory activists’ demands for recognition and validation of a traumatic past, are central to their locally, nationally and transnationally focused efforts on behalf of Ukraine at war. In the current context of intensifying geopolitical conflicts, where nationalist visions rooted in contentious pasts are on the rise, diaspora memory activism provides valuable insights into the mobilization of memories of what are often, contested pasts.

The Assam Movement: Memory Mapping a popular uprising in Northeast India
Dhriti Sonowal

Collective memories play a significant role in shaping the political histories of communities and regions. Mass movements depend on collective memories to rally support and validate the political agendas of their leaders. In the northeast Indian state of Assam, a popular political mobilization that took place in 1979-1985 shaped the region’s political narrative. The Assam movement is constantly invoked to drive the political optics in the region. In the collective consciousness of the people of Assam, the movement is remembered as an agitation to protect the Assamese identity from a common enemy- the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The movement was led by student leaders who were university students, who participated in formal elections and established a government in 1985. For the former student leaders, the Assam movement and the 1980s are a reminder of how they were hunted, beaten, jailed and marked as ‘agitators’. This paper documents the Assam movement through the narrative memories of the former agitators who are now active political leaders in Assam. This paper identifies how historical events are remembered individually and collectively and how that changes the way regional histories are formulated. Based on qualitative, in-depth interviews with political leaders of Assam, this paper looks at how historical events are remembered and constructed distinctly in individual and in collective memories. Within this framework, my paper locates the social processes through which personal memories crystallize to form a collective consciousness and identity for a community and region. This paper will expand the scholarship on the importance of memories in movements.

G5 – Art and Nationalism

Negotiating Public Space: Dealing with Contested Soviet Heritage through Art (The Case of the Baltic States)
Kristina van Kuck

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the newly established independent countries immediately faced dilemmas concerning the reminders of the former regime. In particular, Soviet monuments and memorials appeared at the center of the heated debates. Public monuments are not merely decorative elements of the built environment but rather highly symbolic signifiers that transform neutral places into ideologically charged sites. Together with commemorative purposes monuments and memorials convey political messages and selective historical narratives (accepted by political elites) that define what is to be remembered. Hence newly independent states often ‘share in common the desire to reconstruct and destroy’ the inherited legacies that defined national heritage during the previous regime. The first wave of demolition of monuments dedicated to Soviet leaders and the change of street names is well known and has been widely discussed. Thus, this paper will discuss disputes surrounding Soviet heritage sites that escaped original iconoclasm. In particular, the paper will focus on artistic practices employed to re-interpret contested heritage sites in the post-Soviet Baltic States. The paper will analyze successful creative approaches to contested heritage sites as well as less accepted attempts. This paper will address how contested monuments could be approached in future negotiations addressing the concerns of different memory groups. The paper will bring examples from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

Remembering the forgotten: understanding the interpretation of the events in the vilayet of Kosova between 1977-1880 through folk music
Abdyl Nëntor Musliu

The mainstream historiography considers the period of the League of Prizren as a turning point in modern Albanian history. Research on this topic has evolved throughout the years, however, not much is known about the perspective of ordinary people concerning the events that happened during this time. They are the majority of the population, but their lived experiences, memories and interpretations of the events are mostly overlooked or ignored. To fill this gap in the literature, the current study examined the interpretation of the developments occurring in the Vilayet of Kosova between 1877-1880 through the lens of folk songs. Folk songs were chosen because they are considered an important aspect of the oral tradition-dominated communities and can be accepted as an alternative or helpful source in understanding the interpretation of events by these people. Through this, the study aimed – speaking in Foucauldian terms- to introduce a counter-history to the mainstream narrative based on the perspective offered through folk songs, regarded as subjugated knowledge. In this regard, the counter-history in the narrative of these folk songs refers to those experiences and memories that have not been heard and integrated in official histories. Two main sources were used for data analysis, including two book collections of folk songs and existing recordings of the most popular and influential singers (rhapsodes) of 20th century. A total of eleven songs were analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings revealed three main themes, namely “the enemies”, “the organizers of the resistance” and “relations with the center”.

Keywords: Folk songs, the League of Prizren, mainstream Albanian historiography, counter-history, counter-memory, thematic analysis

Heritage Decisions and Legitimacy: Investigating the role of the memory of colonization in Ghana’s National Museum
Deborah Saki

Museums play a pivotal role in shaping the memory and identity of nations. They serve as guardians of a nation’s cultural, historical, and artistic heritage, preserving the past for present and future generations. Ghana’s National Museum, which is in Accra, is a cultural treasure trove that showcases the history and cultural diversity of the nation. Despite the museum’s principal role in the historical scene of Ghana, large aspects of the nation’s history are missing in the displays. Major historical and political events, such as certain coups, and important political figures are not represented. Majorly, the entire era of colonization is not reflected in this museum and there is no indication of European contact with the nation represented at the Ghana National Museum. What influenced the decision to not display or not display key historical events? And how does the lack of display determine the salience of these events in the minds of people who visit the museum? I perform a qualitative study by (i) interviewing museum workers to determine influences on display and (ii) interviewing local visitors at the National Museum to determine if certain key political events retain their salience and salience in the minds of visitors despite their lack of mention. I draw conclusions on the influential role of museums in the accuracy of heritage preservation and narrative construction by political actors.

G6 – Literature and Nationalism

“Aren’t We All Brothers?” Pan-National Movements, Historical Fiction and Reconciliatory Memory in the Nineteenth Century
Tim van Gerven

The pan-national movements that rose to prominence around the middle of the nineteenth century aimed at the cultural and possibly political unification of nations belonging to the same language tree. This cooperation required the articulation of a common identity in which historical memory took a key position. As the shared past as a rule contained a track-record of internal discord, mnemonic practices often served the purpose of reconciliation: troublesome memories were shaped in such a way that shared trauma and wrongdoing could be acknowledged and forgiven, opening the way for a multinational future.

Some pan-movements, however, were more successful in reconciling the past than others. This paper will start with showing how historical fiction contributed to the success of Pan-Scandinavianism in creating cultural cohesion between Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Taking inspiration from the conflict-reconciliation narrative typical of Walter Scott’s historical novels, Scandinavian authors often applied three narrative strategies to transform past conflict in such a way that it served pan-national identity formation: the rediscovery of family ties, the introduction of an alternative enemy, and the formulation of social criticism. In comparison, an analysis of selected novels demonstrates that these strategies were significantly less well-developed in Pan-Germanism and Greater Netherlandism. An alternative to reconciliation is offered by Pan-Slavism: the creation of a gallery of pan-national heroes through the writing of novel series.

This paper will contribute to widening our knowledge on the understudied phenomenon of pan-nationalism by showing that pan-national identity formation had a great impact on cultural and literary practices.

Libya’s “Strong-Men”: Counter-Collective Memory in Anglophone Literature
Sam Naseem

This paper will present the construction of collective national masculinities under authoritarian governance, and the impact on boys/ young men as presented in Libyan anglophone autobiographical writings. Following the Arab Spring Uprising, Paul Amar called attention to ‘discourses of men in crises’ across the MENA regions. Nationalist regimes constructed a collective memory of (positive) ‘effendi’ tropes and Pan-Arabism to combat discourses of intrusive colonial oppression for the national imaginary. This was dictated by a “Strong-Man” paternalist leader and projected onto subjects. However, clashes between national and “nuclear” families and identities, caused by a disrupted process of ‘selving’ (Joseph), is presented as detrimental to individuals in personal narratives by Hisham Matar and Mohamed Mesrati, both of whom were forced to flee due to their father’s dissidence. Disillusionment of post-colonial subjects under oppressive neopatriarchal (Sharabi) regimes in Human Security States (Amar), visible in ‘counter-collective’ literature, forms the basis of my study.

My paper will look at the projection of nationalist identity through state actors, who built a sense of collective memory for shared identity formation, as seen in the autobiographical testimonies. I will consider how Matar’s and Mesrati’s memories shape their relationship with Libya as a “homeland” and to Libyan identity in the West. Their work presents a liminal state of belonging due to interrupted ‘selving’ and forced exile. I will also draw on theories of patriarchal connectivity to demonstrate the impact of Paternalist leaders and idealised masculinities, (premised upon memories of Occidental oppressors) on the young men in Qaddafi’s Libya.

“History will prove that we were innocent”: Baodiao Literature and the Nostalgia for a Bygone, Unified “China”
Justin Wu

This paper examines a genre known as “Baodiao Literature.” It concerns creative stories penned by former activists of the Baodiao Movement (“Movement to defend the Diaoyu Islands”) in the early 1970s, which demanded the recognition of “Chinese” sovereignty over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands against Japanese occupation. These authors largely shared the same demographic background: born in mainland China during World War II, raised in Taiwan during the early Cold War years, and educated in the United States. While their political views differed, they shared a sense of nostalgia for a unified “China” across the Taiwan Strait.

This paper argues that Baodiao Literature reflects the Sisyphean struggle for an imagined homeland. It draws on selected novels to show how these activists-turned-writers attempted to articulate an all-embracing Chinese identity based on the historical memory of the May Fourth Movement (1919), the Cold War geopolitics of the 1960s and 1970s, and the ongoing tension between China and Taiwan since the Chinese Civil War (1945-49). This paper historicizes the novels and employs ideas from the field of literary criticism, such as Pai Hsien-yung’s notion of “wandering Chinese” and David Der-wei Wang’s “post-loyalist consciousness,” to explore the despair and agony of the postwar generation of diasporic ethnic Chinese who attempted to articulate a sense of Chinese identity that transcended political boundaries. Beyond nationalism and national identity, this paper contributes to the scholarships of Sinophone Studies and Chinese diaspora, the Cold War in East Asia, and global Maoism.

Living Memory? Nan Shepherd and Nationalism
Marthe-Siobhán Hecke

Nan Shepherd was a successful author during the Scottish Literary Renaissance, a movement with nationalism at its heart. In Shepherd’s novels and “The Living Mountain”, the nation per se, is, at the first glance, not as prominent. After her recent rediscovery, Nan Shepherd is very well known and also used to expand the literary canon as her works did not make ‘the canon’. Why is that? And how is Shepherd used today when we remember Scotland? This paper will argue that Shepherd’s specific take on Scotland during the Scots Literary Renaissance is a valuable expansion to what we consider the canon when looking at Scottish literature: her focus on rural communities, mostly consisting of women, struggling to align past and present, progress and tradition in a very specific landscape is something that modern audiences enjoy. Everything is affected by change and Shepherd challenges the idea of memory being static, her works challenge how we remember literature and its context itself – they let us ‘remember’ a different slice of Scotland. The paper will take a specific look at the Scottish Literary Renaissance, how Shepherd ‘s quiet modernism aligns with the Scots Literary Renaissance in general, and will then look more closely at “The Living Mountain” and how memory and nationalism are challenged in it. The theoretical framework will be based on Memory Studies (Assmanns, Erll) and the talk will be informed by my ongoing PhD project at the University of Bonn about Nan Shepherd’s Literary heritage. Should the organisers wish the focus to be shifted to Shepherd’s poetry or her novels (due to other Shepherd talks for example), I will gladly accommodate this – “Living Mountain” was chosen for its brevity, not because I deem it better than the wonderful novels.

Special Panel on Methods in Research on Nationalism and Memory Studies

 Qualitative Methods in Nationalism and Memory Research
Tamara Trošt

As memory and nationhood include shared/group, as well as individual/personal aspects, and the
research subject is variously official or vernacular memory, methods used to tackle research
questions include quantitative, large-N studies as well as individual case studies, qualitative
methods, and even auto-biographical accounts. Yet, discussion regarding methods in memory
research is limited, keeping it on the margins of social science research (Keightley 2010) and limiting
publication of empirical work to only memory and nationalism studies journals. In this paper, I take
stock of the different approaches to studying nationalism and memory, systematically tackling the
conceptual, theoretical and epistemological considerations in method choice, prior to delving into a
deeper discussion of qualitative methods and in particular textual analysis. I examine the constraints
and possibilities of content analysis of texts for understanding nationhood and memory. I conclude
with a discussion of the methodological and epistemological challenges to studying memory and

 Hunting Down Monuments: The CAF Model
Ana Milošević

The question What is a monument? invites a crisis of common sense in responding. Monuments can
be the products of both the workings of memory and oblivion. Creating a conversation between
disciplines and link various arguments on the nature of monuments and memorials, this
presentation sketches a comprehensive approach that could inform future research on monuments.
Guided by the who, how, and why questions, I introduce the CAF model—a three-step analytical
framework focusing on monuments’ characteristics, actors, and functions assigned (functionality).
The CAF model starts from a very basic claim that the process of thinking about the past is an
attempt at retrieving a memory, understood as both experience of and knowledge about the past.
This suggests that everyone is a memory actor, yet individuals and social groups assign different
meanings, values, and purposes to memory on levels of individual and collective. Such
understanding of the role of memory and the agency of memory actors can produce opposite
results: leading towards remembrance or towards forgetting.

 Arts-Based Methods: Tools for Postcolonial Memory Studies
Emily Keightley

Research on memory in the wake of empire rarely engaged with the postcolonial character of
contemporary memory in explicit terms (Rothberg 2013). This is particularly the case in what has
been termed media memory studies, where the focus is on processes of mnemonic transmission and
the cultural vehicles and technologies through which these processes are performed. As a
consequence, linear western-centric technological histories continue to dominate this field. A more
diverse and expanded understanding of memory technologies and associated practices are needed
in order to allow for an understanding of postcolonial mnemonic transmission as performed through
complex assemblages of technologies as ‘systems of knowledge’ and in doing so properly account for
the mediated transmission of postcolonial memory. For memory studies scholars this question is not
simply theoretical one, it should also be empirical. In this paper I will consider some of the
methodological challenges that postcolonial memory studies faces, and go on to discuss the
potential of arts-based methods for addressing these. The paper draws the ongoing research being
undertaken as part of the Migrant Memory and Postcolonial Imagination project funded by The
Leverhulme Trust (2017-2022).

Studying Memories on the Move: The Case of City Walking Tours
Alena Pfoser

While memory studies research has traditionally relied on indoor and static environments for audio-
visual data collection, the rise of walking methods and the new mobilities paradigm have led to
discussions of the possibilities and challenges of mobile methods. This paper reflects on how to do
research on memories on the move as well as what kinds of questions this approach enables,
drawing on participant observations and recordings of guided walking tours. I conceive tour guiding
as a process of mnemonic intermediation that relies on the co-presence of guide and tourists who
move together through the city space. The city space pre-structures the guided tour but is also
selectively manipulated by guides who use it to co-create place and collective identity with tourists.
Overall I show that mobile approaches sensitive us for the role of the body and material
environment as crucial dimensions of memory-making processes.

H1 – Buildings, maps and communities

RIWAQ: memory, micro-histories and the regeneration of rural Jerusalem
Claudia Vlad

This paper examines RIWAQ’s decolonization efforts through the architectural rehabilitation project “”The Life Jacket”” in rural Jerusalem, navigating the intersections of nationalism at micro and meso levels and globalization at the macro level. RIWAQ challenges official national discourses and the Israeli colonial project by adopting a micro-histories approach, focusing on rural Palestinian villages, vernacular buildings, and the historical role of agrarian communities in the process of history-making in Palestine. This contrasts with dominant discourses centered on Jerusalem’s Old City as a symbol of power and mythical ideas about the past.

The organization strategically selects historical sites, transforming and expanding them to convey a nuanced representation of Palestine. This case study explores how RIWAQ’s institutional capacity reshapes historical sites to address broader audiences, illustrating that historic centres are social arenas that cultural institutions validate.

Through oral history sessions with elderly Palestinians, RIWAQ re-imagines lost interconnections between villages pre-Separation Wall. Adopting a bottom-up approach, the organization collaborates with local communities, crafting an alternative national Palestinian map, the “”Absent Map,”” beyond colonial rule. Micro-histories (the elderly’s memory) recreate Palestine’s national narrative, envisioning reconnection if colonial borders were dismantled.

The study connects cultural heritage and globalization literature, questioning whether globalization weakens nationalistic discourses. Analyzing RIWAQ’s international engagement and participation in art biennials, it demonstrates the coexistence and mutual influence of globalization and nationalism. RIWAQ’s distinctly Palestinian projects, rooted in the socio-political context, express uniqueness through adherence to global standards, showcasing a dynamic blend of local focus within a global framework.

The Critical Position of Soviet Parliament Buildings Today
Ilknur Erdogan and Giuseppe Resta

Nationalist discourses foster societal unity by shaping rituals, historical narratives, and collective memory to realise the myth of a nation. Post-Soviet countries offer a unique context for examining the production of nationalism -going hand in hand with decommunisation-, methods for transitioning from a multinational past to a national identity, and strategies for handling the memory of an undesirable history like the Soviet traces in the built environment. We focus on the architectural memory and architectonic transformations of soviet parliament buildings, reading through their large-scale axonometric drawings realized by the authors to discuss architecture’s role in conveying state narratives.
The critical reactions to the material remains of the Soviet Union projected as symbols of power can be best observed by following the fate of Lenin squares and the parliament buildings constructed in the Soviet Era (1922-1991). These structures were designed to embody Soviet ideals, imposing homogeneity in a multicultural society leading to a federative system. These architectural landmarks have evolved into focal points for confronting its traumatic memory and forging new political identities. This text questions how communities have reacted to the parliament buildings as tangible reminders of their problematic past.
It focuses on the White House in Moscow, Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv, the Government House in Baku, the National Assembly Building of Armenia in Yerevan, and the Government House in Minsk. In English and Russian sources, it examines the historical context of the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Nation States, architectural politics, and socio-political responses to the ‘heritage’ of these landmarks.

 Urban Identities and National Identities: Multivalence and Reciprocity in Bosnia-Hercegovina
Emily Makas

The relationship between nationalism and architectural and urban histories and memories has been the subject of considerable scholarly exploration. Urban identities have received less, but still significant, attention, often through the lens of city branding or city imaging. This paper will explore intersections in the forming and reinforcing of national identities and urban identities through a close examination of Bosnian cities in the 20th and 21st centuries.

This paper will apply well-established theories for studying the formation of national identities to understanding the formation of urban identities. Using Anthony D. Smith’s myth-symbol complexes, Ernest Gellner’s pre-existing cultures, and Eric Hobsbawm’s invented traditions, it will explore how demographics and the built environment shape urban and national identities in a cyclical and reciprocal process.

Bosnia-Hercegovina is an especially productive example on which to focus an examination of the mutual influence between these scales of identity as multiple national and multiple urban identities have existed simultaneously and informed each other’s developments. Perceptions and memories of Bosnian cities as multicultural coexist with newer, particularist urban identities – just as a collective Bosnian identity exists in parallel with Muslim, Croat, and Serb national identities in Bosnia-Hercegovina. All these urban and national identities are in constant interaction and the built environment of Bosnian cities is implicated in them all.

This example offers an opportunity to study the processes by which meaning is assigned and transferred and by which identities are constructed as well as reveals the complex ways symbols influence that which they are meant to represent.

H2 – Nationalism and Memory in Denmark

The end of an entangled History: Constructing national biographies and narratives
Steen Bo Frandsen

The dissolution of the Oldenburg composite state in 1864 marked the emergence of nation states and a nationalisation of the past. Centuries of close relations on all levels in state and society as well as a multilingual reality abruptly came to an end. With these relations historicised and estranged, nationalist historians divided past and present in neatly isolated German and Danish histories. A long history of entanglement was turned into a narrative of separate cultures mostly ending anachronistically at the present border. Even today, there is hardly a narrative about the common past in history, culture, and language in the region – or the monarchy in general.

This entangled past is expounded in an overall analysis of the late multiethnic Oldenburg Monarchy. This paper will refer to a few exemplary biographies from politics and culture in the most prominent zones of contact – the duchy of Schleswig and Copenhagen – to illustrate how biographies of prominent and “”entangled”” characters were arranged according to the national ideologies’ claim of a coherent past. Some persons would hardly have been sure if they were Danes or Germans – or Schleswigians – but retrospectively they were adapted for the respective national canons and encyclopedias. Biographies become illustrative examples of the national construction of a past widely cleaned from traces of a complex, entangled, multilingual reality in a multiethnic composite state.

This abstract is part of the interdisciplinary research project Danish-German Cultures (1773-1864): Conflict and Cohesion, Department of English, German and Romance Studies, University of Copenhagen

Drawing a National Line in Danish Art History
Sine Krogh

In 1896-97, when the art historian Philip Weilbach revised the first comprehensive encyclopaedia Dansk Konstnerlexikon (Encyclopaedia of Danish Artists), on artists who ’had worked in Denmark or in the Danish State’, significant changes reflected the process of nationalisation that was set in motion. Several entries now comprised a negative tone marking the distinction made between the national and the cosmopolitan artists, all of whom were active in Denmark during the political changes of the two Schleswig wars. Around 1900 a younger generation of critics took the task of nationalising Danish art history further by staging the cosmopolitans as unsuccessful Europeans and formulating a narrative of outsiders who had cultivated a German style while the national-minded artists was celebrated for their nation-building images of Danish culture. A distinction was made between a “homegrown” Danish school and a “foreign” school where German influence was believed to endanger the visual arts. This narrative has until recently excluded the Europeans from playing any significant role in Danish art. I will focus on how the cultural entanglement of the Danish composite state, which had created exchanges and border-crossing activities between Danish and German artists, was toned down and later ignored. Drawing on John Hutchinson’s notion on “zones of conflict’ the mechanisms of nationalisation in the historiography of nineteenth century Danish art history will be examined. And through an interdisciplinary analysis of paintings as well as language use in art historical texts I will thematize the policizitations and exclusions of a multicultural and negotiable past.

This abstract is part of the interdisciplinary research project Danish-German Cultures (1773-1864): Conflict and Cohesion, Department of English, German and Romance Studies, University of Copenhagen.
The other researcher are Anna Sandberg (Assistant Professor) and Steen Bo Frandsen (Professor); if we are all accepted we would very much like to form a panel together.

“The imagination and construction of “national literature” in Danish literary history writing of the 19th Century”
Anna Sandberg

The imagination and construction of “national literature” in Danish literary history writing of the 19th Century

Traditionally, the historiographical analysis of literary history identifies a shift in the nineteenth century: From a cosmopolitan and universal orientation with classical Antiquity as an ideal to a national orientation definining literature by ethnic and monolinguistic categories. Prior to the dissolution of the composite Danish state in 1864 the literary and cultural contact zones of German-speaking and Danish-speaking authors were naturally intertwined. The important question is, how and if the major socalled “Danish literary histories” of the nineteenth century presented the reality of this entangled plurilingual Danish-German society and culture of the period before and after the establishing of the Danish nation state in 1864? Firstly, how did literary histories demarcate the “territory” of Danish literature: by birthplace of the authors, by language, or by the city of printing and publication? Were the Germanspeaking duchies, part of the composite state until 1864, seen as part of the national territory? Secondly, did literary histories operate with a notion of “Danishness” in the evaluation of aesthetics and contents of literary works? In this paper I will examine the process of nationalizing literature and show different strategies in literary histories used to construct and communicate the changed perception of a new national cultural and lingual “imagined community”. Finally, I will trace the transmission of the national narrative in literary history writing of the 20th and 21st century in order to highlight the “nationalised memories” that persist in being cultivated in the genre of literary history.
This abstract is part of the interdisciplinary research project Danish-German Cultures (1773-1864): Conflict and Cohesion, Department of English, German and Romance Studies, University of Copenhagen

H3 – The Place of Ethnic Discrimination and Genocide in the Memory 2

Colonialism as a ‘foundation for globalisation’? Constructions of the Herero and Nama genocide in German history textbooks
Christine Chiriac

Following Rusu’s (2013) view of history and memory as dialogic instead of oppositional, this paper explores constructions of the Herero and Nama genocide in recent German history textbooks and in qualitative interviews with the responsible authors. It examines (1) how Namibian memory finds its way into German history textbooks and (2) how German national history is thereby modified and/or stabilised. The paper draws on practice and discourse theory, and combines nationalism and education studies with educational media research.
History textbooks are the result of construction processes in which interpretations and interests compete with one another (Crawford/Foster 2006) and a “selection of meaning” (Höhne 2003: 45) according to present-day requirements takes on a leading role. Here, history is located at the interface between ‘objective’ historiography and ‘subjective’ memory. Against this background and taking recent German history into account, it is not surprising that German history textbooks construct the self-image of a diversified and internationally integrated nation. However, research also shows how the nation’s embedding in global and plural contexts contributes to the strengthening of the national paradigm (Lorentzen 2007; Szakács 2018). Building on these findings, the paper highlights textbook constructions of history and memory which are characterised by persistence, change and negotiation. It nuances the perception of contemporary German national self-images as ‘remarkably prudent’ and ‘relativised’ (Nuhoglu Soysal et al. 2005) by discussing moments of tension and ambivalence.

Challenges of Mnemonic Transnationalism: Political Mobilisation of the Concept of Genocide in Russia and Belarus
Nelly Bekus

In 2020, Russia’s Investigative Committee launched an investigation of the “”genocide of the residents of the Novgorod and Pskov regions”” committed by Nazis in 1942–43; in Belarus, the Law on Genocide of Belarusian people was adopted in 2021 to promote commemoration of the Belarusian victims of World War II.
The timing of these legal undertakings suggests their reactive character and their aim to align memory politics with the dominant trends of victim-centred remembering.
Such mobilisation of the concept of ‘genocide’ to redress the history of Nazi crimes provide examples of the ideological expansion of the paradigm of moral remembrance and its conflation with political agenda.
The paper will discuss the role played by memory in reshaping the international mnemonic order after 1989 and examine the inter-relationality of national and transnational memory frameworks. Memories of political repression in the postcommunist states have morphed into stories of national suffering and become crucial for construction of anti-communist national identities. In this way, the political instrumentalisation of the past has become normalised while downplaying the complexity of the past’s experiences, moral implications, and emotional grievances. This development produced an important effect on the field of memory studies by opening the way for revising the mnemonic hierarchies that had underpinned the international order since the end of World War II. Eastern European states undertook proactive steps to revise the concept of genocide, thus challenging the existing international order’s mnemonic regime and transforming how the ‘remembrance mandate’ operates in the world.

Emotions and Attitudes Towards the Role of the Holocaust in Germany: First Findings of a Qualitative Exploratory Study with Interviewees with and without a Migration Background in Germany
Eunike Piwoni and Marlene Mußotter

This paper explores whether (and if so, how) the personal feelings and attitudes of persons with a so-called migration background and Germans without such background differ on the question of what political significance the Holocaust should have, and how they personally think and feel about its role in Germany. Addressing this question seems highly relevant given the well-documented and widely researched role of the Holocaust in the discourse of German national identity and the official (and long hegemonic, but recently increasingly contested) ideas about its uniqueness, about what results from it in terms of German Staatsräson and how Germans should feel about it (in terms of shame, guilt, responsibility).
In July 2023, we conducted six focus group interviews with 36 participants (15 of whom were Germans without migration background and 21 of whom were first or second generation immigrants, mainly from the former Soviet Union, Poland and Turkey). Analysing the data from an emotional sociological perspective and at the individual, interactional and group levels, we find that interviewees with a migration background and Germans without such a background differ primarily in their emotions towards the topic (and less so in their attitudes) and, related to this, in the subject positions they take (when speaking of “”them, the Germans”” vs. “”us, the Germans”” and occasionally switching between these positions). In particular, discussions about the “”right”” emotions in relation to the Holocaust (shame, guilt, responsibility) seemed to affect immigrants (and their descendants) less emotionally than Germans without a migration background.

H4 – Political narratives

Habermasian Lifeworlds and National Consciousness: A Framework for the Importance of Reproduction of National Culture to the Role of National Heritage in a Socially Cohesive Civil Society
Ryan Whiston

Western liberal democracy became the dominant political constitution at the ‘end of history’ in 1989, however, it has been in decline ever since as evidenced by symptoms of polarization, the breakdown of social cohesion, and questions surrounding political legitimacy. This is evidenced by the reintroduction of populism, from Brexit, the 2016 American election, and a wave of right-radicalist movements across the Europe Union. I view the relationship of democracy and nationalism through an interdisciplinary lens, which centres Jürgen Habermas’ lifeworld-systems distinction. I argue that the lifeworld, understood as “processes of cultural reproduction, social integration and socialization,” enables a theoretical framework to view heritage, tradition, and mythmaking as central to the formulation of opinion- and will-formation that constitute civil society and democratic governance. My interdisciplinary methodology takes the concepts of ‘historical ethnosymbology’ and ‘deliberative democratic theory’ from nationalism studies and deliberative democracy studies respectively. I articulate these methodological practices by combining and delineating the importance of descriptive (historical ethnosymbology) and prescriptive (deliberative democratic theory) elements of national consciousness. This approach demonstrates the importance of lifeworlds to a mutually beneficial conceptual analysis of civil society, reflecting the necessity of cultural reproduction in lifeworlds, thus highlighting the importance of national memory to dialogues of democratic governance. This research contributes to both disciplines through a reconceptualization of the importance of the national culture (heritage, tradition, and mythmaking) to the discourse of civil society, and the theoretical-practical inefficiencies of a purely civic national identity.

Are they unique and exceptional? Exclusionary populist nationalism in the UK and Hungary
Balázs Majtényi

Identity is always shaped by historical references upon which different narratives can be built, offering inclusive or exclusive readings of national history. In my presentation, I will examine how exclusive populist nationalist politicians in the UK and Hungary have sought to redefine national identity for their own purposes, even at the cost of dividing the political community. I will focus on how a sense of exceptionalism, associated with the country’s former greatness and anti-European sentiments defined the paths that led the UK to Brexit and Hungary to the authoritarian turn.
Both the Hungarian authoritarian populist and the pro-Brexit politicians mobilise their supporters in the name of retrotopia. For both political forces, reclaiming the historical greatness and glory of the nation is an important element of identity, albeit in different ways. In both countries, there is a narrative, fed by a sense of exceptionalism and contemporary political discourse, that the country was strong when it stood alone. The UK is not giving in to its former imperialist/colonialist stance (incompatible with the fact that it could be voted down in the EU at any time). Hungary, also because of its sense of former greatness, shows a similar sensitivity, interestingly mixed with a quasi-colonial sensitivity (we will not be a colony of Brussels), also stemming from the past (e.g. being part of the Soviet sphere of interest). I argue that resentment, manifested in concerns about sovereignty, reinforces transnational institutional hostility in both countries and threatens the acceptance and functioning of international and European human rights institutions.

Anchoring Project Fear?  Business in the Strategies of Secession and Counter-Secession
Karlo Basta

This study examines the role of private business in the debates leading up to independence referenda in Scotland (2014) and Catalonia (2017). Our content analysis demonstrates that business is a frequent participant in these debates and that it is typically unsympathetic to independence. In addition, we show that both secessionist and counter-secessionist political actors viewed business participation as being important for their cause. For secessionists, business participation was a threat; for counter-secessionists, an opportunity. Consequently, the former sought to downplay or counter business statements, whereas the latter sought to amplify them.

Our findings suggest that both business and political elites believe that business participation in secession debates can shape voter preferences on independence. We have confirmed these beliefs in interviews with secessionist actors in both Scotland and Catalonia. However, these assumptions have, to our knowledge, not yet been put to the test by scholars. The last part of our study therefore presents the results of survey experiments conducted in Scotland and Catalonia. In these experiments, we sought to establish whether business is more persuasive than politicians when it comes to the economic effects of independence. Scottish respondents found messages on post-independence economic prospects more persuasive when they came from businesspeople. In Catalonia there was no statistically significant difference on this score between politicians and businesspeople. Our study thus offers limited and ambiguous support to politicians’ expectations regarding the legitimacy of business messaging about secession.

​Soft power hidden behind concepts. Where to look for foreign memory politics
Bartosz Dziewanowski-Stefańczyk

The primary aim of the paper is to present the ways in which memory serves as a factor and a tool of diplomacy. The second aim is to pin point some of the theories and concepts which contain the idea of soft power (Nye), especially in the form of foreign memory politics, which is a fairly new concept and deals with the creating an image of a country abroad with the use of its history. Memory is a crucial element of contemporary foreign politics, since it serves as one of the pillars of identity creation and thus influences the nations’ and states’ autobiographies (Berenskoetter). Consequently it is used to create the state’s image (moral capital). Therefore, this type of politics is very often abused by governments which build their policies using disinformation. Moreover, I claim that practitioners have implemented foreign memory politics long before it was academically operationalized. I will first explain the notion of foreign memory politics, then I will speak about how memory and historical experience influence decision making processes in foreign politics as well as how foreign politics uses memory as its tool. I will provide here historical examples. This will lead me to naming some of the concepts, where we can trace the idea of foreign memory politics. I will draw my examples from memory politics and memory studies, the study of arts history, image building, propaganda studies, security studies (Steele, Malksoo, Bachleitner) and various IR theories.

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