New Book Announcement: Official History in Eastern Europe

Korine Amacher / Andrii Portnov / Viktoriia Serhiienko (eds.)

« Official history » is generally understood as the state-sponsored and ideologically-inclined construction of the past which serves the particular political aims of mostly non-democratic regimes. The optimistic belief that it would end up with the collapse of the Soviet Union has proved rather naive. As Pierre Nora argued, over the last thirty years we have experienced a “general politicization of history” – the process of transforming what historians produce into an ideology. How are the intellectual choices made by historians today influenced by the long twentieth-century experiences of Eastern Europe? What could “official history” mean for a stateless nation or a self-proclaimed “republic”? How did Ukrainian historiography become or how was it forced to become Soviet? What spaces for individual research initiatives or even for modest disagreement with obligatory planned research existed in the official history institutions of Soviet Ukraine and socialist Poland? How were Russian textbooks on history re-written during the post-Soviet years? What role do literature, film, monuments, holidays or rituals play in the politics of history? How have memories of the Second World War been instrumentalised in the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict and how have images of the ongoing war in the Donbas influenced memory debates in neighbouring post-Soviet states?

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