What does it mean to tell a life story?
How is one’s memory of communism shaped by family, profession, generation and religion?
Do post-communist Baltic states embrace similar memories?
The Baltic states represent not only a geographical but also a mnemonic region. The mental maps of people who live on this territory are shaped by memories of Soviet socialism. Baltic Socialism Remembered captures the workings of the memory of diverse groups of people who inhabit the region: teachers, officials, young people, women, believers. It comes as no surprise that their memories do not overlap, but often contradict to other groups and to official narratives. Baltic Socialism Remembered is a rare attempt to engage with the mnemonic worlds of social groups and individuals rather than with memory politics and monumental history. The contributors try to chart unpredictable ways in which public and national memory affect individual memory, and vice versa. Understanding complexity and diversity of memory workings in such compact region as the Baltic states will enable a more nuanced policy-making.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Journal of Baltic Studies.
Table of Contents
1.Life story as cultural memory: making and mediating Baltic socialism since 1989 In memoriam: Aili Aarelaid-Tart 2. Re-educating teachers: ways and consequences of Sovietization in Estonia and Latvia (1940–1960) from the biographical perspective 3. Points of memory in the narrative of a ‘Mnemonic Warrior’: gender, displacement, and the anti-Soviet war of resistance in Lithuania 4. Memory of socialism and the Russian Orthodox believers in Estonia 5. The construction of continuous self in the life stories of former Soviet officials in Lithuania 6. Between improvisation and inevitability: former Latvian officials’ memoirs of the Soviet era 7. We were the children of a romantic era: nostalgia and the nonideological everyday through the perspective of a ‘Silent Generation’
Ene Kõresaar is an Associate Professor of Ethnology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Her main research fields are memory of World War II and socialism, oral history and life writing; she has also published on commemorative journalism and museums. She has edited and co-authored several books on cultural memory and life stories with a particular focus on post-communist developments.