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Past for the Eyes

 | 
Oksana Sarkisova
, 
Péter Apor

Introduction

The Futures of the Past

Péter Apor et Oksana Sarkisova

Texte intégral

1Since the late 1980s, when the changes in Eastern and Central Europe seemed overwhelming and access to previously restricted information grew exponentially, this region could safely claim an unpredictable past. Today, almost two decades after the fall of communist regimes, scholars working on the recent past are paradoxically challenged by the abundance of memory and the variety of witnesses’ accounts, which confront the professional historical narrative with the simple claim “I was there and it was completely different.” Walking down the street, having a family dinner, or flipping through postcards and photo albums, we all make daily inroads into history. What happens to the sites of memory which remain fiercely contested in the present? What role can historians play in the “foreign country” of the past—that of natives, tourguides, or a select priestly caste? What new meanings are inscribed on the images retrieved from the past?

  • 1 Jacques Le Goff, History and Memory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992; Jan Assmann, Das k (...)

2The individual contributions in this volume share a common methodological concern: how can visual material participate in the (re)constructions of the past? The invention of photography, the subsequent spread of documentary filming and the relatively recent boom of a global television culture do not merely provide the historian with an abundance of new visual sources, but also inspire the scholar to develop innovative research tools to cope with this challenging historical material. Whereas visual material has been long used for historical reconstruction, its relationship to written sources was always controversial. During the institutionalization of the profession in the nineteenth century, information obtained from different kind of sources were ordered hierarchically. In the heyday of historicism, the conclusive information for the historian generally meant various forms of written text. While visual sources were also studied extensively, this task was usually delegated to “auxiliary sciences” like archeology, numismatics or heraldry or confined to the independent discipline of art history. Due to the relative paucity of written documents in these periods, mostly students of ancient or medieval history achieved considerable expertise in working with visual material.1 Historians of more recent periods learned to value the increase in the amount of written sources and focused their investigations on well-documented aspects of diplomacy, high politics and military operations. With the appearance of modern social and cultural history and the growing amount of visual documentary, increasingly from the mid-twentieth century, this hierarchy of sources started to be questioned and challenged and more sophisticated methodologies of simultaneous utilization of visual and written material have been elaborated. Continuing this tradition, questions about the relationship of written archival documents and other types of evidence—photographs and artifacts, sculptures and monuments, documentary and fiction films—will be raised throughout this volume.

  • 2 Reinhart Koselleck, “Modernity and the Planes of Historicity” in Futures Past: On the Semantics of (...)
  • 3 Natalie Zemon Davis, Slaves on Screen: Film and Historical Vision (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Universi (...)

3Historiography, the history of historical knowledge, generally means almost exclusively the study of the changes and modifications in the modes and genres of historical writing; the historicity of visual perception and its contribution to the shaping of modern historical comprehension have only recently come to the attention of scholars.2 The essays in this volume analyze the way visual practices produce historical representations. In the cinema, historical narratives can be created both with and without involving professional historians, while the impact of the work only indirectly depends on the quality of professional expertise. Nonetheless, directors of both documentary and feature films evoking the past rely on historical methods of inquiry, collecting (visual) traces, and creatively (re)imagining past occurrences, as Natalie Zemon Davis has shown in her analysis of historical re-constructions of slavery through motion picture.3 The volume, therefore, cannot avoid addressing the controversial relationship of the historian and the artist. In films evoking different historical contexts, the double role of the artist and the historian is fairly obvious. This is true, however, also of museums, where a historical exhibition, albeit acknowledged as a professional scholarly activity parallel to the formation of historical research, is usually the result of the collaboration of the expert in historical matters and the creative artist designer. To what extent can the activities of the artist and the historian reinforce, contradict, or remain in dialogue with each other? What are the similarities and the dissimilarities between the artist using historical allegories and analogies to produce general moral claims and the historian explaining particular situations? Where are the limits of moral judgments by artists and historians? Is there an inherent responsibility of historical interpretation embedded in the tradition of visual representation?

  • 4 Nicholas Mirzoeff (ed.), The Visual Culture Reader (London: Routledge, 1998).

4Cinema and museums are fruitful grounds for exploring these questions. Using the mimetic “authenticity effect,” the moving images construct the stories which work towards gradually reshaping the image(s) of the past. A comparison of the national case studies of cinematic output in Eastern and Central Europe demonstrates the transformations experienced by the cinema as an institution and provides additional insights into the cultural context of the present. The possibility of bringing together historical transformations and visual material facilitates the use of the latter in teaching while calling for the development of analytical tools following the further erosion of academic boundaries after the “visual turn.”4 The mechanisms—from narrative devices to experiments with montage—used for creating coherent images about the past, can work towards demonizing some historical periods or coloring others with a shade of nostalgia. The mechanisms of meaning attribution are explored in numerous examples; the fusion of “authentic” footage and “invented” fiction creates opportunities for legitimizing the most contradictory statements. Despite an imposed geographical classifier, the Eastern European cinematographies of the past decades demonstrated very diverse developments, bearing witness to a plurality in representing the past, the strength of national traditions, and a variety of artistic responses to the political, economic, and cultural changes. Along with the narrative structures, the objects of the past are able to generate immediate recognition and emotional resonance. In this context, films act as “virtual museums,” putting on displays and contextualizing the artefacts in a manner similar to museum exhibitions. Bringing together the cinema and museums makes it possible to design landscapes of individual memories via a collective enterprise.

  • 5 An eloquent example is in Svetlana Boym, Common Places: Mythologies of Everyday Life in Russia (Ca (...)
  • 6 Volkhard Knigge, Ulrich Mählert (eds.), Der Kommunismus im Museum: Formen der Auseinandersetzung i (...)
  • 7 Gottfried Korff, Martin Roth (eds.), Das historische Museum: Labor, Schaubühne, Identitätsfabrik ( (...)
  • 8 The goal of commemorative ceremonies is to make the past present and to eliminate the distance in (...)

5If one recollects the strange but characteristic obsession with obscure relics of the recent past, such as communist medals or images of the “great leaders,”5 as well as the frenzy of demolishing old statues and erecting new monuments or the mushrooming of peculiar museums dedicated to the terror of a dictatorship,6 the conclusion that physical objects play a significant role in the relationship of the present to the recent past becomes obvious. The museums of classical historicism—where the value of the exhibited objects derived from the fact that they were able to authentically represent and preserve the meaning of the past—tangibly demonstrated the origins of nations in the past and their unbroken historical continuity since.7 It is precisely this “touch of the real” that makes historical exhibitions so attractive for many variants of the politics of history and memory. The relationship of the present to its recent past—or pasts—is generated through a peculiar practical activity concerned with the construction and destruction of things. Many of the museums representing Communism are either the actual result of, or closely connected to, resolutely articulated politics of commemoration. Museums, which are able to re-present the past, that is to say to make the past once again present, are perfect devices to fulfill the function of commemorations, to serve as “connective structures” towards history.8

***

  • 9 David Lowenthal, The Past is a Foreign Country (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985); Pier (...)
  • 10 See, for example, the special issue of Slavic Review 58 (Winter 1999) edited by Philip G. Roeder a (...)
  • 11 Sibelan Forrester, Magdalena J. Zaborowska, Elena Gapova (eds.), Over the Wall/After the Fall: Pos (...)

6The research presented in this volume draws on and continues the work already started in different fields and academic cultures by a large number of scholars. The role of memory in connection with public memorialization and changing institutional norms of history production were thematized, among others, in the works of David Lowenthal, Pierre Nora, Jacques Le Goff, Dominick LaCapra, and Patrick H. Hutton.9 Within a decade after the regime change in the region, first conclusions were drawn, concentrating mainly on the political and economic transformations.10 In the last decade the teleological “transition” was replaced by a less linear “transformation” and the research expanded from political and social history to cultural dimensions of the changes.11

  • 12 Maria Bucur, Nancy M. Wingfield (eds.), Staging the Past: the Politics of Commemoration in Habsbur (...)
  • 13 Rubie S. Watson (ed.)., Memory, History, and Opposition Under State Socialism (Santa Fe: Universit (...)
  • 14 Katherine Verdery, What Was Socialism, and What Comes Next? (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University P (...)

7The considerable corpus of earlier scholarship related to East-Central Europe usually registered the disorder that characterized the evocations of the recent past and tried to explain this fact by arguing that historical interpretations in this region are politically driven and usually supported and maintained by various political groups.12 History, thus, has become suspicious, and analysts of the East-Central European version of Vergangenheitsbewältigung tend to look for more authentic and allegedly undistorted methods. Historians, as well as other students of contemporary East-Central European public re-collections, try to understand the subject of their investigations as the result of collective mental practices and processes. This is usually described as collective memory, social memory or historical consciousness and believed to be possessed and dominated by the state or civil society; attempts to define it draw on insights from psychology, sociology or anthropology.13 A number of works have introduced the issues of subjectivity and alternative memories which escaped both the totalitarian paradigms and a revisionism extolling grass-root resistance.14

  • 15 Alf Lüdtke, “Coming to Terms with the Past: Illusions of Remembering, Ways of Forgetting Nazism in (...)
  • 16 Geoffrey H. Hartman, The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust (Bloomington: Indiana U (...)
  • 17 A theoretical reflection on this process is offered by Peter Burke, “History as Social Memory” in (...)
  • 18 Jay Winter, Emmanuel Sivan (eds.), War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge—New Yor (...)

8The concept of collective memory as an appropriate way of studying public forms of evoking the past was derived from the Western European experience of coming to terms with Nazism and World War II.15 The German and Western European process of critically rethinking the traumatic past has been catalyzed by considerable social pressure on the part of various collectivities that managed to open up channels for public communication and gain political support. Holocaust survivors, local communities, victims of rape, and ex-servicemen all claimed a voice for themselves in the on-going debate on the historical representation of the past. This current culminated in the most recent wave of resurrected interest in re-thinking the memory of the European wars and the Shoah, and the attempt to capture and record their fading remembrance before the generation of witnesses finally died out.16 One of the major transformations that occurred in the public assessment of the past in the Western hemisphere is the departure of professional history from its previous role of providing confirmation for the imagined glories of collective national histories. Instead of establishing and marking items worth remembering, it has begun to warn political communities not to forget and to remind them of those frequently uncomfortable memories they would like to cover up.17 Simultaneously, a shared consciousness of Europeannes has begun to be based upon the re-assessment of the legacy of the continent’s war-torn past in the twentieth century. British, French, German, Italian, and Spanish scholars have made tremendous efforts to re-allocate the memory of the two World Wars, the genocide and mass death, as well as public mourning, grief, and celebrations of heroes and victory as the common experience of Europeans.18

  • 19 A separate volume with contributions on historical revisionism is published within the framework o (...)

9Our volume presents selected chapters on visual studies and museum studies as contributions to the debate which is slowly emerging mainly, but not exclusively in the former communist part of the world, concerning critical, and in most cases tragic, issues of recent history.19 The contributions are based on research by young scholars from the region, many of whom studied at the Central European University (Budapest) and are working on projects on recent history in an interdisciplinary perspective. As the largest international higher education institution in the region, and an example of the transformations in the region par excellence, the CEU has become the meeting point of different academic cultures, stimulating diverse generations of scholars to contribute to the on-going debate on regional transformations.

  • 20 For more information on the activities of the project, see www.osa.ceu.hu/2004/projects/ culture20 (...)
  • 21 For a full program and presentation abstracts, see www.osa.ceu.hu/2006/2006-06-08 shtml (accessed (...)

10The OSA Archivum at CEU, whose mission is to obtain, preserve and make available research resources for the study of Communism and the Cold War particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, has been involved in exploring the issues of the historical memory of Communism since it was established in 1995. In 2004, it received support from the European Union Culture 2000 program for a three year cooperation project, entitled “History After the Fall—The Interdeterminacy of the Short Twentieth Century.” It cooperated with five historical research institutions on this project: the Romanian Institute for Recent History (Bucharest), the KARTA Center (Warsaw), the Institute for Contemporary History (Prague), the Hannah Arendt Institut für Totalitarismusforschung (Dresden), and the Civic Academy Foundation (Bucharest).20 The complex project was envisioned and completed under the guidance of István Rév (OSA Archivum) and included a series of seminars, workshops and exhibitions which concentrated on the intricate issues of historical revisionism. Among them was a workshop held at OSA Archivum in June 2006 and entitled “Visions after the Fall: Museums, Archives and Cinema in Reshaping Popular Perceptions of the Socialist Past,”21 from which a number of the articles in the present volume were developed. The participants explored the way different themes and aspects of the history of the twentieth century came to be rewritten, reinterpreted and re-presented in a variety of media.

11The authors, many of whom are at the beginning of their academic careers, experimented with inter-disciplinary approaches, interpreting visual material that brings together economic anthropology, legal studies, phenomenological close reading and a longitudinal study of visual material.

  • 22 Peter J. Katzenstein (ed.), Mitteleuropa: between Europe and Germany (Providence, RI: Berghahn Boo (...)

12The volume concentrates on the historical problems of Eastern and Central Europe. However, the geographical delimitation does not seek to reify the region or to detach it from the debates on memorialization and Vergangenheitsbewältigung in other parts of the world. Taking up the concepts traditionally used in area studies and shaped either within the ideological framework of the Cold War (Eastern Europe) or (re)discovered as an alternative to it (Central Europe),22 the contributions point to the divergence of both historical and contemporary experiences, placing writing about the recent past in the region in a comparative perspective.

  • 23 Andrew Roberts, “The State of Socialism: A Note on Terminology,” Slavic Review 63 (2004): 349-66; (...)
  • 24 Roberts, “The State of Socialism,” 362.

13Prior to introducing the structure of the volume and the individual articles, a note on terminology is needed. There remains a plurality of the terms in use in the region—“Communism,” “Socialism,” “State Socialism,” and “really existing Socialism” among others—which have provoked both reflection and criticism.23 However, the proposed solutions, such as, for example, Andrew Roberts’s suggestion to apply universally the term “communism” to all the societies of Eastern Europe, since “[i]t is hard to take the democratic left seriously when it is put in the same camp as the former dictators of eastern Europe,” has strong drawbacks.24 While a refusal to accept the divergent regimes’ self-definitions and the application of a uniform notion in their place would put a seeming end to the terminological confusion, our decision was to preserve the diversity of terminology used by the authors and the subjects of their analysis. This decision was rooted in the intention to further exemplify the heterogeneity of the region, which is all too often viewed with (post-)Cold War logic as a homogeneous set.

***

14The role of visual representations of history in re-shaping the social imagery of the socialist past is examined from three angles in this volume. The contributions were selected so as to reflect upon the concepts of “document,” “nostalgia,” and “objects,” which are crucial, but underexplored aspects of the complicated relationships between professional historical work and other social practices of evoking the past. The volume aspires to a geographical balance and refers to experiences in various countries and societies in East-Central Europe from the Baltics and Russia through Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to ex-Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania.

15The articles in the volume are presented in three sections. The first section revisits the concept of a “document” by analyzing material and visual traces of the past, from secret police reports to film and television recordings, and disentangling the notions of “authenticity” and “fakery.” The authors do not merely “discover” previously concealed or unaddressed sources, but raise complex questions as to the extent to which the material traces of the past can serve as “documents,” and what happens in the process of their on-going reediting and reframing. Both István Rév and Renáta Uitz start by addressing the issues related to one of the most contentious legacies of the communist past, namely the workings of the secret police. Both concentrate on the powerful visual images which captured the public imagination and provoked extended debates. While Rév’s story of a mysterious “man in the white raincoat” leads the reader from the story of filmmaker István Szabó towards the German cultural context and ends by raising questions of historical methodology as well as the historian’s personal involvement and responsibility in passing a moral judgment, Uitz inserts visual material within a legal context of discussions on lustration and proper access to the preserved files of the secret police. She portrays the long afterlife of a “Duna-gate” scandal in Hungary and at the same time demonstrates the role of the media in reframing the visual material.

16A different type of material traces is presented by Balázs Varga in his analysis of the montage film Kádár’s Kiss by Péter Forgács, whose use of home footage in combination with “official” newsreels creates a contrapuntal structure, emphasizing the intertwining of the public and the private and pointing to the multi-layered and contradictory nature of memories. Forgács’s methods of working with home cinema broaden the traditional ways of using visual material. The first section concludes with a short essay by a practicing documentary filmmaker and director of photography, Alexandru Solomon. His very personal account of his struggle to uncover one of the secrets of the communist past in Romania—the bank robbery that was turned into a show-trial of prominent Communists of Jewish descent in the 1950s—vividly demonstrates the misleading nature of visual traces as well as the fragility of personal memories. The ultimate impossibility of putting together a linear story prompts the filmmaker and the audience to look for more complex ways of coming to terms with the ever-evasive past.

  • 25 Among important exceptions see Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia (New York: Basic Books, 2001 (...)
  • 26 Lowenthal, The Past is a Foreign Country, 8.

17The second section of the volume analyzes the context and visual formulas of the widespread nostalgia for socialism and/or its marked absence and considers the dynamics of the change in different national contexts in Central and Eastern Europe. While nostalgia is far from being an exclusively regional phenomenon, its application to the socialist past has received insufficient attention.25 The workings of nostalgia, taken here not as an individual longing but as a media-generated construct functioning as “memory with the pain removed,”26 not only shed light on the mechanisms of ascribing new meaning to the visual material, but give great insights into the political and economic developments of the day. In an overview of how the past is (re)constructed on the screens in Poland, the Czech Republic, Serbia, and Russia, the authors address the on-going commercialization of the past in the cinema as an industry. At the same time, these articles emphasize the existing thematic and stylistic continuities, which challenge the originally welcomed radical break with the past. With a closer look at the thematic motifs and visual components of the film fabric, the past appears to be less of a “foreign country” to the audiences. Nevena Daković’s case studies not only demonstrate how the dissolution of Yugoslavia is reflected in a variety of films and many different ways—from evoking deeply private memories to constructing metahistorical discourses—but they provide theoretical foundations for the concept of nostalgia in cinema, pointing out that its “constitutive elements” were already experimented with in the 1970-80s in Yugoslavia. Another strong continuity, this time with the tradition of the Czech New Wave, is introduced by Petra Dominková. Analyzing the films that portray the communist past and attitudes towards it in contemporary Czech cinema, she discovers the domination of light genres, where the past is reconstructed as farce rather than tragedy. Kacper Pobłocki and Oksana Sarkisova focus on the dynamics of the emerging nostalgia in a Polish and a Russian context respectively. They stress the importance of analyzing the late-socialist works for an understanding of the dynamics of change as well as the visual motifs and challenges faced by contemporary directors. The growing salience of “everyday Socialism” as opposed to the political crime stories, which are characteristic of the first years after the change of regimes, exemplify a sensitive reaction on the part of the film industry to the changing tastes of the audience.

  • 27 Knigge, Mählert (eds.), Der Kommunismus im Museum, in contrast, provides either general theoretica (...)

18The third section takes the “objects of memory” as its subject. The contributions to this last sub-theme investigate the various practices of collecting, interpreting and exhibiting the physical remnants of the socialist past, that is, the various attempts at establishing museums of Communism. The section concentrates on these museums as actual exercises in displaying history, as they approach their subjects as an empirical and not simply a theoretical issue, thus providing close readings from inside the walls. Nonetheless, the authors, who are independent researchers, offer critical analysis from a proper distance.27 Zsolt K. Horváth examines the emergence of four different post-socialist attitudes towards the socialist past in relation to four actual sites of memory. Drawing on Pierre Nora’s observation on the role of social recollections in shaping the image of the past in modern Europe, his chapter points at the extraordinarily intricate relationship between the professional interpretation of recent history and the various social and political initiatives for commemoration. Horváth analyzes the role of Kádár’s grave, the monumentalization of 1956 in Budapest, the Statue Park with its communist memorial statues, and the House of Terror museum in contemporary Hungarian historical culture. Gabriela Cristea and Simina Radu-Bucurenci reflect in their joint article upon current Romanian trends of exhibiting the communist past. Their contribution registers the recent momentum of an anti-communist imagery in Romania which connects the President’s official politics of history with similar earlier attempts of the Orthodox Church and civil organizations. The authors argue—using the Museum of the Romanian Peasant in Bucharest and the Memorial and Museum of the Victims of Communism in Sighet as examples—that this anti-communist representation extensively builds on Christian symbols and articulates a quasi-religious interpretation of the martyrdom of the nation.

19In contrast to these spectacular attempts to visualize Communism, Nikolai Vukov interprets the lack of similar initiatives in Bulgaria. Analyzing the sole attempt at “exhibiting Communism” in Pravets, in the museum of Todor Zhivkov, Vukov introduces a third way of evoking the past apart from remembering and forgetting. He claims that in contemporary Bulgaria the socialist period remains “unmemorable” and “unforgettable” at the same time. James Mark’s article on the museums in the Baltic countries points out the connection inherent in the representation of Communism and Fascism. However, as Mark argues, this relationship is very problematic in the region. The exhibition of Fascism seems to provide the means to highlight the crimes of Communism, whereas the way Communism is displayed tends to render the horrors of Fascism less relevant. Izabella Main surveys the various—actual and virtual, realized and planned—museums of Communism in Poland. Her contribution argues for the diversity of recollections and interpretations, while differentiating between two main tendencies, one of which evokes Communism in order to forget, whereas the other calls for more remembrance.

20Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe arguably provides an eloquent example of the relevance of public representations of the recent past. The articles in this volume offer a selective mapping of cultural landscapes in Eastern and Central Europe and seek to encourage further investigation into the ever-changing pasts of the region. Despite the concrete geographical focus, the general theoretical implications go beyond the Central and Eastern European debates about the representations of contemporary history. The particular East European experiences of Fascism and Communism, and especially the peculiar ways of conceiving them, have entered the sphere of public discourse in Europe. The essays in this volume, while eschewing clear disciplinary boundaries, address this general European problem and contribute simultaneously to the areas of recent history, visual studies, film studies, museum studies, and nationalism studies.

Notes

1 Jacques Le Goff, History and Memory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992; Jan Assmann, Das kulturelle Gedächtnis: Schrift, Erinnerung und politische Identität in frühen Hochkulturen (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1992).

2 Reinhart Koselleck, “Modernity and the Planes of Historicity” in Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time (Cambridge MA-London: MIT Press, 1985), 3-20; Carlo Ginzburg, “Distance and Perspective: Two Metaphors” in his Wooden Eyes: Nine Reflections on Distance (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), 139-56; Chris Jenks (ed.), Visual culture (London: Routledge, 1995).

3 Natalie Zemon Davis, Slaves on Screen: Film and Historical Vision (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000).

4 Nicholas Mirzoeff (ed.), The Visual Culture Reader (London: Routledge, 1998).

5 An eloquent example is in Svetlana Boym, Common Places: Mythologies of Everyday Life in Russia (Cambridge—London: Harvard University Press, 1994), 225-38.

6 Volkhard Knigge, Ulrich Mählert (eds.), Der Kommunismus im Museum: Formen der Auseinandersetzung in Deutschland und Ostmitteleuropa (Cologne: Böhlau, 2005).

7 Gottfried Korff, Martin Roth (eds.), Das historische Museum: Labor, Schaubühne, Identitätsfabrik (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 1990).

8 The goal of commemorative ceremonies is to make the past present and to eliminate the distance in time in order to create a consciousness of continuity. Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 41-71. Assmann, Das kulturelle Gedächtnis.

9 David Lowenthal, The Past is a Foreign Country (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985); Pierre Nora (ed.), Les Lieux de mémoire, vol. 1-3 (Paris: Gallimard, 1984-1992); LeGoff, History and Memory; Dominick LaCapra, History and Memory after Auschwitz (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998); Patrick H. Hutton, History as an Art of Memory (Hanover—London: University Press of New England, 1993).

10 See, for example, the special issue of Slavic Review 58 (Winter 1999) edited by Philip G. Roeder and titled “Ten Years after 1989: What Have We Learned?” Daphne Berdahl, Matti Bunzl, and Martha Lampland (eds.), Altering States: Ethnographies of Transition in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000); Sorin Antohi and Vladimir Tismaneanu (eds.), Between Past and Future: the Revolutions of 1989 and their Aftermath (Budapest: CEU Press, 2000); Hall Gardner, Elinore Schaffer, Oleg Kobtzeff (eds.), Central and Southeastern Europe in Transition: Perspectives on Success and Failure since 1989 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2000); Peter J. Anderson, Georg Wiessala, Christopher Williams (eds.), New Europe in Transition (London: Continuum, 2000).

11 Sibelan Forrester, Magdalena J. Zaborowska, Elena Gapova (eds.), Over the Wall/After the Fall: Postcommunist Cultures through an East-West Gaze (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004); Knigge, Mählert (eds.), Der Kommunismus im Museum, Dina Iordanova, Cinema of the Other Europe: the Industry and Artistry of East Central European Film (London: Wallflower, 2003); István Rév, Retroactive Justice: Prehistory of Post-Communism (Stanford University Press, 2005); Anikó Imre (ed.), Eastern European Cinema. See also Kinokultura e-journal, and especially the special issues devoted to Czech and Polish Cinema. Available at http://www.kinokultura.com/specials/4/czech.shtml and www.kinokultura.com/specials/2/polish.shtml (accessed 30 March, 2007).

12 Maria Bucur, Nancy M. Wingfield (eds.), Staging the Past: the Politics of Commemoration in Habsburg Central Europe, 1848 to the Present (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2001); Stefan Troebst, Postkommunistische Erinnerungskulturen im östlichen Europa: Bestandsaufnahme, Kategorisierung, Periodisierung (Wroclaw: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wroclawskiego, 2005); Arnold Bartetzky, Marina Dmitrieva, Stefan Troebst (eds.), Neue Staaten—neue Bilder? Visuelle Kultur im Dienst staatlicher Selbstdarstellung in Zentral-und Osteuropa seit 1918 (Cologne: Böhlau, 2005); Gabriela Kiliánová, “Lieux de mémoire and Collective Identities in Central Europe (The Case of Devín/Theben/Dévény Castle),” Human Affairs. A Postdisciplinary Journal for Humanities & Social Sciences 12 (2002): 153-65; Ulf Brunnbauer, Robert Pichler, “Mountains as ’Lieux de mémoire’: Highland Values and Nation Building in the Balkans,” Balkanologie 6 (December 2002): 77-100; Maria Todorova, “The Mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov as lieu de mémoire,” The Journal of Modern History 78 (2006): 377-411.

13 Rubie S. Watson (ed.)., Memory, History, and Opposition Under State Socialism (Santa Fe: University of Washington Press, 1994); Vieda Skultans, The Testimony of Lives: Narrative and Memory in Post-Soviet Latvia (London: Routledge, 1998); Jacob J. Climo, Maria G. Cattell (eds.), Social Memory and History: Anthropological Perspectives (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2002); David Middleton, Derek Edwards (eds.), Collective Remembering (London: Sage Publications, 1990).

14 Katherine Verdery, What Was Socialism, and What Comes Next? (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996); Alexei Yurchak, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005).

15 Alf Lüdtke, “Coming to Terms with the Past: Illusions of Remembering, Ways of Forgetting Nazism in West Germany,” Journal of Modern History 65 (Summer 1993): 542-72; Bernhard Giesen, “National Identity as Trauma: The German Case” in Bo Strath (ed.), Myth and Memory in the Construction of Community (Brussels: Peter Lang, 2000), 240-7; Tony Judt, “The Past is Another Country: Myth and Memory in Postwar Europe,” Daedalus (Autumn 1992): 83-118; Charles S. Maier, The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust and German National Identity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988).

16 Geoffrey H. Hartman, The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996); Lawrence L. Langer, Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991); Harald Welzer, Grandpa Wasn’t a Nazi: Nazism and the Holocaust in German Family Remembrance (Berlin: AJC, 2005).

17 A theoretical reflection on this process is offered by Peter Burke, “History as Social Memory” in Varieties of Cultural History (Cambridge: Polity, 1997), 43-59.

18 Jay Winter, Emmanuel Sivan (eds.), War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge—New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000); T. G. Ashplant, Graham Dawson, Michael Roper (eds.), The Politics of War Memory and Commemoration (London: Routledge, 2000); Martin Evans, Ken Lunn (eds.), War and Memory in the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Berg, 1997); Helmut Peitsch, Charles Burdett, Claire Gorrara (eds.), European Memories of the Second World War (New York: Berghahn Books, 1999); Luisa Passerini (ed.), Memory and Totalitarianism (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2005).

19 A separate volume with contributions on historical revisionism is published within the framework of the project. See Michal Kopeček (ed), Past in the Making. Recent History Revisions and Historical Revisionism in Central Europe after 1989 (Budapest: CEU Press, 2007).

20 For more information on the activities of the project, see www.osa.ceu.hu/2004/projects/ culture2000/g.html (accessed 10 February, 2007).

21 For a full program and presentation abstracts, see www.osa.ceu.hu/2006/2006-06-08 shtml (accessed 10 February, 2007).

22 Peter J. Katzenstein (ed.), Mitteleuropa: between Europe and Germany (Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1997); Peter Stirk (ed.), Mitteleuropa: History and Prospects (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994).

23 Andrew Roberts, “The State of Socialism: A Note on Terminology,” Slavic Review 63 (2004): 349-66; Jan Kubik, The Power of Symbols against the Symbols of Power: the Rise of Solidarity and the Fall of State Socialism in Poland (University Park, PA.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994).

24 Roberts, “The State of Socialism,” 362.

25 Among important exceptions see Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia (New York: Basic Books, 2001); Maya Nadkarni, Olga Shevchenko, “The Politics of Nostalgia: A Case for Comparative Analysis of Post-socialist Practices,” Ab Imperio 2 (2004): 487-519; Zala Volčič, “Yugo-Nostalgia: Cultural Memory and Media in the Former Yugoslavia,” Critical Studies in Media Communication 24/1 (2007): 21-38; Nicole Lindstrom, “Yugonostalgia: Restorative and Reflective Nostalgia in Former Yugoslavia,” East Central Europe 32/1-2 (2005): 227-38.

26 Lowenthal, The Past is a Foreign Country, 8.

27 Knigge, Mählert (eds.), Der Kommunismus im Museum, in contrast, provides either general theoretical contributions or descriptions by the actual museum staff.

Auteurs

Péter Apor (b. 1971) is a research fellow at Pasts Inc., Center for Historical Studies at the Central European University. His dissertation on communist representations of history in Hungary was defended at the European University Institute in Florence in 2002. His main research themes include the politics of history and memory, popular culture, and the history of historiography.

Oksana Sarkisova (b. 1974) is a research archivist at OSA Archivum and program director of the International Documentary Film Festival Verzio in Budapest. She holds a doctoral degree in History from the Central European University, Budapest. Her publications and research interests pertain to visual anthropology, ethnographic cinema, Russian and Eastern European cinema, and visual culture.

© Central European University Press, 2008

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