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Dark legacies: Politics of the Past and International Relations
Course Description

Europe is often praised as a model case of how to overcome nationalism and war through inter-state cooperation and cultural tolerance. Yet, at the same time, the struggle to come to terms with the legacies of a ‘dark continent’ (Mark Mazower) has continued to this very day. This course engages with one of the core questions of this struggle: collective memory. The first part of the course introduces a range of key issues in the study of collective memory such as the relationship between individual and collective memory, as well as the debates about memories’ persistence and change, and the salience of memory politics. In the subsequent parts of the course, we turn to the empirical patterns of how Europe’s ‘dark legacies’ have left their traces in collective memories across the continent, paying attention to fascism and World War II, communism, as well as colonialism. The analysis combines comparisons between countries and European sub-regions with a more detailed focus on specific vectors of memory such as history writing, museums and film. A specific section is dedicated to the importance of Europe’s dark legacies for international relations, from foreign policy and the analysis of inter-state relations, to the institutionalization of transnational collective memory in the European Union. 


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