Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity / Edition 1

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Overview

Memory is as central to modern politics as politics is central to modern memory. We are so accustomed to living in a forest of monuments, to having the past represented to us through museums, historic sites, and public sculpture, that we easily lose sight of the recent origins and diverse meanings of these uniquely modern phenomena. In this volume, leading historians, anthropologists, and ethnographers explore the relationship between collective memory and national identity in diverse cultures throughout history. Placing commemorations in their historical settings, the contributors disclose the contested nature of these monuments by showing how groups and individuals struggle to shape the past to their own ends.

The volume is introduced by John Gillis's broad overview of the development of public memory in relation to the history of the nation-state. Other contributions address the usefulness of identity as a cross-cultural concept (Richard Handler), the connection between identity, heritage, and history (David Lowenthal), national memory in early modern England (David Cressy), commemoration in Cleveland (John Bodnar), the museum and the politics of social control in modern Iraq (Eric Davis), invented tradition and collective memory in Israel (Yael Zerubavel), black emancipation and the civil war monument (Kirk Savage), memory and naming in the Great War (Thomas Laqueur), American commemoration of World War I (Kurt Piehler), art, commerce, and the production of memory in France after World War I (Daniel Sherman), historic preservation in twentieth-century Germany (Rudy Koshar), the struggle over French identity in the early twentieth century (Herman Lebovics), and the commemoration of concentration camps in the new Germany (Claudia Koonz).

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American Culture
This fascinating book, . . . points out how peoples and nations can use national identity to erase the past, to recreate it, to cause it to flourish, to meld it in with the present and the future.
— Peter Rollins
Contemporary Sociology
Scholars of collective memory, and the sociology of culture more generally, will find much that is provocative and poignant in this collection.
— Robin Wagner-Pacifici
History Today
This is a vital book which deserves our utmost attention.
— Martin Evans
The Journal of American History
Brilliantly conceived and meticulously edited; the contributions are uniformly excellent. . . . No better introduction to the burgeoning field of historical memory is likely to be found.
— Merrill D. Peterson
The Voice Literary Supplement
Demonstrates that 'memory work' reveals as much about the present as about the past. And that can make extraordinary history.
— Christine Schwartz
Journal of American Culture - Peter Rollins
This fascinating book, . . . points out how peoples and nations can use national identity to erase the past, to recreate it, to cause it to flourish, to meld it in with the present and the future.
The Journal of American History - Merrill D. Peterson
Brilliantly conceived and meticulously edited; the contributions are uniformly excellent. . . . No better introduction to the burgeoning field of historical memory is likely to be found.
Contemporary Sociology - Robin Wagner-Pacifici
Scholars of collective memory, and the sociology of culture more generally, will find much that is provocative and poignant in this collection.
History Today - Martin Evans
This is a vital book which deserves our utmost attention.
The Voice Literary Supplement - Christine Schwartz
Demonstrates that 'memory work' reveals as much about the present as about the past. And that can make extraordinary history.
From the Publisher

"This fascinating book, . . . points out how peoples and nations can use national identity to erase the past, to recreate it, to cause it to flourish, to meld it in with the present and the future."--Peter Rollins, Journal of American Culture

"Brilliantly conceived and meticulously edited; the contributions are uniformly excellent. . . . No better introduction to the burgeoning field of historical memory is likely to be found."--Merrill D. Peterson, The Journal of American History

"Scholars of collective memory, and the sociology of culture more generally, will find much that is provocative and poignant in this collection."--Robin Wagner-Pacifici, Contemporary Sociology

"This is a vital book which deserves our utmost attention."--Martin Evans, History Today

"Demonstrates that 'memory work' reveals as much about the present as about the past. And that can make extraordinary history."--Christine Schwartz, The Voice Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691029252
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/16/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,258,309
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Notes on Contributors
Introduction: Memory and Identity: The History of a Relationship 3
Ch. I Is "Identity" a Useful Cross-Cultural Concept? 27
Ch. II Identity, Heritage, and History 41
Ch. III National Memory in Early Modern England 61
Ch. IV Public Memory in an American City: Commemoration in Cleveland 74
Ch. V The Museum and the Politics of Social Control in Modern Iraq 90
Ch. VI The Historic, the Legendary, and the Incredible: Invented Tradition and Collective Memory in Israel 105
Ch. VII The Politics of Memory: Black Emancipation and the Civil War Monument 127
Ch. VIII Memory and Naming in the Great War 150
Ch. IX The War Dead and the Gold Star: American Commemoration of the First World War 168
Ch. X Art, Commerce, and the Production of Memory in France after World War I 186
Ch. XI Building Pasts: Historic Preservation and Identity in Twentieth-Century Germany 215
Ch. XII Creating the Authentic France: Struggles over French Identity in the First Half of the Twentieth Century 239
Ch. XIII Between Memory and Oblivion: Concentration Camps in German Memory 258
Index 281
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