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Memory Laws, Memory Wars
The Politics of the Past in Europe and Russia

$89.99 (P)

Part of New Studies in European History

  • Publication planned for: November 2017
  • availability: Not yet published - available from November 2017
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108419727

$ 89.99 (P)
Hardback

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About the Authors
  • Laws against Holocaust denial are perhaps the best-known manifestation of the present-day politics of historical memory. In Memory Laws, Memory Wars, Nikolay Koposov examines the phenomenon of memory laws in Western and Eastern Europe, Ukraine, and Russia and exposes their very different purposes in the East and West. In Western Europe, he shows how memory laws were designed to create a common European memory centred on the memory of the Holocaust as a means of integrating Europe, combating racism, and averting national and ethnic conflicts. In Russia and Eastern Europe, by contrast, legislation on the issues of the past is often used to give the force of law to narratives which serve the narrower interests of nation states and protect the memory of perpetrators rather than victims. This will be essential reading for all those interested in ongoing conflicts over the legacy of the Second World War, Nazism, and communism.

    • The first survey of memory laws and so essential reading for students of historical memory and historiography
    • Integrates discussion of Western Europe with the less known cases of Eastern Europe
    • Offers a unique perspective as a vocal critic of Putin's history politics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Advance praise: ‘Nikolay Koposov is, by his personal experience and his international culture and mostly by his talent as both a philosopher and an historian, the most well equipped man to dominate such a large and topical subject.' Pierre Nora, Académie Française

    Advance praise: ‘In Memory Laws, Memory Wars, Nikolay Koposov offers the first comprehensive history of the creation of laws regulating memory and memorial practices in both Western and Eastern Europe, beginning in the period after World War II with acts forbidding Holocaust denial, but then extended to topics relating to national traditions, racism and ethnicity more generally. Koposov's book is essential reading for anyone interested in the varied components that constitute modern historical understandings of the past.' Gabrielle Spiegel, The Johns Hopkins University

    Advance praise: ‘One way to describe Nikolay Koposov's book on memory laws is masterful; others would be ground-breaking, thorough, illuminating, and compelling. I literally could not stop reading it. As historian rather than lawyer, Koposov explores a terrain upturned by the democratization and denationalization of history writing that elevated the concept of victimhood and therefore the protection of those who suffered or might suffer from false or hateful revisions of history. Criminalization of the past, however, conflicted with freedom of expression. In this extraordinary work, Koposov illuminates the tensions between acceptable and unacceptable pasts and the problem of what to do about them. Be careful what you wish for.' Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan

    Advance praise: 'Specialists might be aware of particular memory laws, but few of us have realized how general the phenomenon has become. In this first comprehensive study of the legislation of the past, Nikolay Koposov brings to bear thorough empirical study, a broad comparative sensibility, and the semantic care one would expect from a major philosopher and student of literature. The result is an indispensable handbook of an important European phenomenon.' Timothy Snyder, Yale University, Connecticut

    Advance praise: 'Memory Laws, Memory Wars is a timely and illuminating assessment of the legal measures prohibiting Holocaust denial from their beginnings in Western Europe to the emergence of quite different memory laws in Eastern Europe and today’s Russia. Sober, nuanced, and international in scope, Koposov judiciously confronts the hard questions posed by the expansion of memory laws: Do public uses of memory promise a more democratic and humane relationship to the past, or do they represent novel ways of whitewashing past crimes?' Anson Rabinbach, Princeton University

    Advance praise: 'This is an excellent comparative study of the role of memory laws in contemporary European societies and politics, with special attention for the right wing movement in Eastern Europe and the Ukrainian crisis. It paints a wide canvas of the struggle between free speech versus hate speech and denial, and illuminates the dilemma presented by memory laws in both liberal societies and authoritarian states. It is an important book for understanding the relation of collective memory and nationalism. Kosopov’s combines detailed description with incisive analytical perspectives. This is a rewarding text for the historian as well as for the general reader.' Elazar Barkan, Columbia University, New York

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: November 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108419727
    • length: 336 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • availability: Not yet published - available from November 2017
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. The rise of memory and the origins of memory laws
    2. Memory laws in Western Europe
    3. Memory laws in Eastern Europe
    4. Memory laws in Ukraine
    5. Memory laws in Yeltsin's Russia
    6. Memory laws in Putin's Russia
    Conclusion.

  • Author

    Nikolay Koposov, Emory University, Atlanta
    Nikolay Koposov is a Russian historian currently teaching at Emory University, Atlanta, having previously worked at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and The Johns Hopkins University. He was Founding Dean of Russia's first and only (to date) liberal arts college – Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a joint venture of Saint-Petersburg State University and Bard College, New York. His research deals with various aspects of modern historiography and historical memory, from Early Modern France to post-Soviet Russia. His book How Historians Think (2001) was translated into French by Editions de l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales as De l'imagination historique (2009).

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