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The Politics of History in Comparative Perspective
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The Politics of History in Comparative Perspective

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May 2009 | 236 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Published in Association with American Academy of Political and Social Science

As collective history becomes more tightly bound with personal narratives, the lines between history, memory, and commemoration have blurred. When history is inconvenient to a specific group, it is often compromised – watered down for public consumption. The articles in this special collection of The ANNALS examine what happens when scholars concentrate on an unsavory part of a collective history.

Across the globe, the past gets politicized – used and misused. The articles in this volume focus on the political dynamics of confronting the publication of disagreeable findings about collective pasts. Most contributions cover a specific country or regional study where historical records are at odds with the collective story that has been embraced. The details of these highlighted conflicts vary, yet readers will notice striking similarities in the ways that contentious facts are handled by the collective society:

Substantial delays in confronting an unpalatable aspect of the past

Challenges to the motives, integrity, or loyalty of the messengers

Attempts to quarantine information that is damaging to the established histories

Taken together, this collection of articles explicate and analyze the myriad of ways that history has been politicized. Focusing on the tensions between differing conceptions of related histories and what happens when the self-concepts of two groups collide in the same narrative space, this provocative volume of The ANNALS raises many important questions.

Researchers, students, and policy makers will find these articles, which challenge many accepted historical scripts, offer important insight into the way that politics have shaped history and will encourage new research and inspire further revision and ongoing reframing.

Jay Winter
Foreword: Historical Remembrance in the Twenty-First Century
Martin O. Heisler
The Political Currency of the Past: History, Memory, and Identity
Richard Ned Lebow
The Future of Memory
Michael Kammen
The American Past Politicized: Uses and Misuses of History
James V. Wertsch
Blank Spots in Collective Memory: A Case Study of Russia
Jenny Wüstenberg, David Art
Using the Past in the Nazi Successor States from 1945 to the Present
Fatma Müge Göçek
Through a Glass Darkly: Consequences of a Politicized Past in Contemporary Turkey
Claudia Schneider
The Japanese History Textbook Controversy in East Asian Perspective
Hirofumi Hayashi
Disputes in Japan over the Japanese Military "Comfort Women" System and Its Perception in History
Carolyn P. Boyd
The Politics of History and Memory in Democratic Spain
Andrew Bonnell, Martin Crotty
Australia's History under Howard, 1996-2007
Vladimir Tismaneanu
Democracy and Memory: Romania Confronts Its Communist Past
Falk Pingel
Can Truth Be Negotiated? History Textbook Revision as a Means to Reconciliation
Martin O. Heisler
Challenged Histories and Collective Self-Concepts: Politics in History, Memory, and Time
 
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