1st Edition

Patriotic History and the (Re)Nationalization of Memory

Edited By Kornelia Kończal, A. Dirk Moses Copyright 2023

    This book charts and traces state-mandated or state-encouraged “patriotic” histories that have recently emerged in many places around the globe.  

    Such “patriotic” histories can revolve around both affirmative interpretations of the past and celebration of national achievements. They can also entail explicitly denialist stances against acknowledging responsibility for past atrocities, even to the extent of celebrating perpetrators. Whereas in some cases “patriotic” history takes the shape of a coherent doctrine, in others they remain limited to loosely connected narratives. By combining nationalist and narcissist narratives, and by disregarding or distorting historical evidence, “patriotic” history promotes mythified, monumental, and moralistic interpretations of the past that posit partisan and authoritarian essentialisms and exceptionalisms. Whereas the global debates in interdisciplinary memory studies revolve around concepts like cosmopolitan, global, multidirectional, relational, transcultural, and transnational memory, to mention but a few, the actual socio-political uses of history remain strikingly nation-centred and one-dimensional. This volume collects fifteen caste studies of such “nationalizations of history” ranging from China to the Baltic states. They highlight three features of this phenomenon: the ruthlessness of methods applied by many state authorities to impose certain interpretations of the past, the increasing discrepancy between professional and political approaches to collective memory, and the new “post-truth” context.

    This book will be of interest to students and researchers of international politics, the radical right and global history. It was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Genocide Research.


    Kornelia Kończal and A. Dirk Moses

    Introduction - Patriotic Histories in Global Perspective

    Kornelia Kończal and A. Dirk Moses

    1. Smothering Diversity: Patriotism in China’s School Curriculum under Xi Jinping

    Edward Vickers

    2. History as Patriotism: Lessons from India

    Tanika Sarkar

    3. New Turkey: Regional Aspiration and National Anxiety

    Seda Altuğ

    4. Israeli Memory: From a Moment of Retrospection to Regulating the Past

    Yifat Gutman

    5. "The Only Possible Ideology": Nationalizing History in Putin’s Russia

    Nikolay Koposov

    6. Holodomor and the Holocaust in Ukraine as Cultural Memory: Comparison, Competition, Interaction

    Georgiy Kasianov

    7. Renationalizing Memory in the Post-Yugoslav Region

    Tamara P. Trošt and Lea David

    8. The Illiberal Memory Politics in Hungary

    Andrea Pető

    9. Politics of Innocence: Holocaust Memory in Poland

    Kornelia Kończal

    10. The Baltic Model of Civic-Patriotic History

    Violeta Davoliūtė

    11. Patriotic History in Postcolonial Germany, Thirty Years After "Reunification"

    Sabine Volk

    12. National History in France: From Debate to Cultural Battle

    Sébastien Ledoux

    13. Italy: Beyond the Clichés that Obscure Unacceptable Histories

    Mia Fuller

    14. Britain’s Culture War: Disguising Imperial Politics as Historical Debate about Empire

    Priya Satia

    15. After 1776: Native Nations, Settler Colonialism, and the Meaning of America

    Jeffrey Ostler and Karl Jacoby


    Kornelia Kończal is Assistant Professor of Public History at Bielefeld University, Germany. She is the author and editor of many publications on European history and memory. Currently, she is preparing a book on the reconstruction of the post-German territories in East Central Europe after 1945.

    A. Dirk Moses is the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of International Relations at the City College of New York, and senior editor of the Journal of Genocide Research. His most recent book is The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression (2021).