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Memories of 1968

International Perspectives


Edited By Ingo Cornils and Sarah Waters

The 1968 events were profoundly international in character, transcending any one national context and interacting with other movements across the world. Yet the way these events are remembered is often delimited by the national cultural or political experience and is cut off from its broader international dimension. The purpose of this volume is to examine the ‘memory’ of 1968 across different national settings, looking at the cases of France, Germany, Italy, the United States, Mexico and China. How has 1968 been (re)produced and/or contested within different national cultures and how do these processes reflect national preoccupations with order, political violence, individual freedom, youth culture and self-expression? How has the memory of 1968 been narrated, framed and interpreted in different places and in different disciplines? Is there a collective memory of 1968 and does this memory cross national boundaries? By juxtaposing representations of 1968 from across a range of national cultures and by examining the processes by which 1968 is remembered, this book aims to open up the memory of 1968 to a more diverse international perspective, one that more closely reflects the dynamics of the events themselves. The papers collected in this volume are selected from the proceedings of a conference entitled ‘Memories of 1968: International Perspectives’ that was held at the University of Leeds in 2008.


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Acknowledgements ix


Acknowledgements The idea for this volume came out of a research group on ‘1968’ in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Leeds. The editors would like to thank Frank Finlay and Margaret Atack for their support and encouragement. We would like to thank all those who took part in the ‘Memories of 1968’ conference at Leeds in April 2008, on which this volume is based, and particularly our co-organiser Alan O’Leary, and the conference admin- istrators Mercedes de Birch and Ed Kirby. The conference was generously supported by the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, the Brazilian Embassy and the French Embassy in London, the Goethe Institute in Manchester, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Leeds Humanities Research Institute and the Universities’ China Committee in London. Our gratitude is extended to all the contributors to the present volume for their professionalism and dedication in bringing the book to its conclu- sion. We are very grateful to the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Leeds and to the French Embassy in London, which both supported the publication of this volume. Shortly before this volume went to press, we received the sad news that Daniel Bensaїd had passed away. We respectfully dedicate this book to his memory. Ingo Cornils and Sarah Waters Leeds February 2010

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