A European Memory?: Contested Histories and Politics of Remembrance
As the most comprehensive scholarly venture to use the memory concept for a broad assessment of the dark legacies of Nazism, Communism, and World War ... Show synopsis As the most comprehensive scholarly venture to use the memory concept for a broad assessment of the dark legacies of Nazism, Communism, and World War II for a common European identity, the volume has no equal. It overwhelms the reader with a plethora of both new and well established information and reflection...The overall direction coincides with the current trend towards internationalization of national histories. It can be considered a strong contribution to this important and worthwhile trend. Frank Trommler, University of Pennsylvania An examination of the role of history and memory is vital in order to better understand why the grand design of a United Europe-with a common foreign policy and market yet enough diversity to allow for cultural and social differences-was overwhelmingly turned down by its citizens. The authors argue that this rejection of the European constitution was to a certain extent a challenge to the current historical grounding used for further integration and further demonstrates the lack of understanding by European bureaucrats of the historical complexity and divisiveness of Europe's past. A critical European history is therefore urgently needed to confront and re-imagine Europe, not as a harmonious continent but as the outcome of violent and bloody conflicts, both within Europe as well as with its Others. As the authors show, these dark shadows of Europe's past must be integrated, and the fact that memories of Europe are contested must be accepted if any new attempts at a United Europe are to be successful. Malgorzata Pakier is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Sociology, Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, and is also active in planning the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. She received her PhD from the European University Institute in Florence, Department of History and Civilization. Her research interests include the media of memory, especially film, museum, and city spaces, and Holocaust memory and representation. Bo Strath was Professor of Contemporary History at the European University Institute in Florence (1997-2007) and is currently Academy of Finland Distinguished Professor of Nordic, European and World History at Helsinki University. His research concentrates on questions of modernity and the use of history in a European and global perspective.