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Collective Traumas

Memories of War and Conflict in 20th-Century Europe


Edited By Conny Mithander, John Sundholm and Maria Holmgren Troy

Collective Traumas is about the traumatic European history of the 20 th century – war, genocide, dictatorship, ethnic cleansing – and how individuals, communities and nations have dealt with their dark past through remembrance, historiography and legal settlements. Memories, and especially collective memories, serve as foundations for national identities and are politically charged. Regardless whether memory is used to support or to challenge established ideologies, it is inevitably subject to political tensions. Consequently, memory, history and amnesia tend to be used and abused for different political and ideological purposes. From the perspectives of historical, literary and visual studies the essays focus on how the experiences of war and profound conflict have been represented and remembered in different national cultures and communities.
This volume is a vital contribution to memory studies and trauma theory.
Collective Traumas is a result of the multidisciplinary research project on Memory Culture that was initiated in 2002 at Karlstad University, Sweden. A previous publication with Peter Lang is Memory Work: The Theory and Practice of Memory (2005).


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Acknowledgements 9


9 Acknowledgements This book is a result of the work of the Memory Culture research group at Karlstad University, Sweden. It was founded in 2002 with funding from the university. Since then the research group has arranged seminars, published extensively in books and journals, and created a network in which Karlstad University, Warsaw University and York University in Toronto have formed the core nexus. Previously published books are Memory Work: The Theory and Practice of Memory (Peter Lang, 2005) and Det brutna svärdet: Minne, monument och unionsup- plösning (Karlstad University Press, 2005). For this collection of essays, the Faculty of Arts and Education at Karlstad University has provided special funding. Dr. Torsten Schröter, Karlstad University, has served as an excellent language editor of a number of the essays. He also translated John Sundholm’s contribution to the book. Dr. Pia Ahlbäck, Åbo Akademi University, promptly took care of translating Conny Mithander’s essay. Finally, special thanks are due to Professor Bo Stråth at the European University Institute, Flor- ence, who both accepted the collection of essays for his series “Multiple Europes” and agreed to write a preface. Karlstad, December 2006

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