History Politics and War Memories of the North (UPAST)

Summer School “Historical Memory and Narratives of Identity”

September 6 - 11, 2021, online

headed by Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov

The work package entails a revision of an existing course with HSE and adaptation of the curriculum to fit in as an introductory summer school in the project, introducing a group of 10 MA students to basic concepts and methodologies that are required for understanding history as a multiple layered and contested set of representations.

The course is built as an in-depth series of case studies, with the aim of bringing together three distinct areas of analytical questions that are implied by its title’s key terms: “history”, “memory” and “identity”: What are the main approaches to social and cultural memory? Which, and whose, history is being remembered and narrated? How can identity be understood?

The course’s point of departure is Romantic and post-Romantic discourses on communities, uniqueness and exceptionality, including the myths of origin and discourse of cultural exclusivity, narratives of national history and pantheons of national heroes. It then moves on to empire and post-colonialism, (post-)socialism and (neo-)liberalism as equally distinct forms of historical memory organization, with their own repertoires of referential imagery and understandings of boundaries. It explores the issues of memory of war, including civil war and ethnic conflict. Archive, film, body and material objects, including buildings, are approached as culturally specific memory devices and contested sites for historical memory. Genres of historical narratives, including historiography, ethnology and anthropology, and museum are discussed.