Memory and Nation Building: From Ancient Times to the Islamic State

Memory and Nation Building: From Ancient Times to the Islamic State

by Michael L. Galaty


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Memory and Nation Building addresses the complex topic of collective memory, first described by sociologist Maurice Halbwachs in the first half of the 20th century. Author Michael Galaty argues that the first states appropriated traditional collective memory systems in order to form. With this in mind, he compares three Mediterranean societies – Egypt, Greece, and Albania – each of which experienced very different trajectories of state formation. Galaty attributes these differences to varying responses to collective memory in all three places through time, with climaxes in the Ottoman period, during which all three were under Ottoman control. Egypt was characterized by deeply meaningful memory tropes concerning national unity, which spanned all of Egyptian history, while Greece experienced memory fragmentation, a condition exacerbated by periods of imperial conquest. Albania adapted and assimilated when faced with foreign domination, such that an indigenous Albanian state did not form until 1912.

Galaty builds a diachronic model of state formation and its relationship to memory and political control. Memory and Nation Building culminates in an analysis of modern collective memory systems and resistance to those systems, which are often framed as conflicts over “heritage”. The formation and eventual fall of the short-lived Islamic State serves as an example of extreme memory work, with lessons for other modern nations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780759122604
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 08/16/2018
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.29(w) x 9.31(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Michael L. Galaty is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and directs the University of Michigan’s Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He directs collaborative field research projects in Albania and Greece, and, beginning in 2018, in Kosovo. From 1998-2003 he co-directed the Mallakastra Regional Archaeological Project (MRAP) in central Albania, a program of survey and excavation in the hinterland of the Greek colonial city of Apollonia. From 2004-2008, he co-directed the Shala Valley Project (SVP), an interdisciplinary regional research project focused on the Shala Valley of northern highland Albania. The SVP final report, titled Light and Shadow: Isolation and Interaction in the Shala Valley of Northern Albania, won the Society for American Archaeology’s 2013 Scholarly Book Award. From 2010-2014, he co-directed the Projekti Arkeologjik i Shkodres (PASH), focused on the northern Albanian region of Shkodra, and The Diros Project, focused on Alepotrypa Cave in the Mani, Greece.
Galaty has primary interests in the archaeology of complex societies and the formation of social inequalities. His work is strongly interdisciplinary and focused on regional landscapes. A trained archaeometrist, he often employs scientific methods, including petrography, mass spectroscopy, and portable x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to study interactions between archaeological populations. He has published numerous edited volumes, including Rethinking Mycenaean Palaces, Archaeology Under Dictatorship, and Archaic State Interaction. The latter was the result of an Advanced Seminar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has published nearly 100 articles on topics ranging from Albanian bunkers to Greek-Egyptian trade.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

List of Figures and Tables xi

Prologue: Bosnia xiii

Preface: Memory: An Effort After Meaning xix

1 Introduction: Collective Memory Defined 1

2 Egypt: Unification 33

3 Greece: Diversification 65

4 Albania: Adaptation 99

5 Conclusion: All These Memories Have Cone 133

Epilogue: Alabama 159

Bibliography 165

Index 197

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