Quest for a Suitable Past
Myths and Memory in Central and Eastern Europe
Edited by Claudia-Florentina Dobre and Cristian Emilian Ghita
Claudia-Florentina Dobre is currently the editor-in-chief of the cultural journal Memoria and an associate researcher at Regional Center of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (CeReFREA), University of Bucharest. She has published extensively on the memory of Romanian communism and political persecution; museums, monuments, and memorials; and on everyday life under communism.
Cristian Emilian Ghiţă has a PhD in classics and ancient history from the University of Exeter. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bucharest. His interests include Hellenistic studies, Asia Minor, and ancient warfare. All of these are fortuitously combined in his current research project, “Military Traditions and Innovations in Hellenistic Asia Minor.”
The past may be approached from a variety of directions. A myth reunites people around certain values and projects and pushes them in one direction or another.
The present volume brings together a range of case studies of myth making and myth breaking in east Europe from the nineteenth century to the present day. In particular, it focuses on the complex process through which memories are transformed into myths. This problematic interplay between memory and myth-making is analyzed in conjunction with the role of myths in the political and social life of the region.
The essays include cases of forging myths about national pre-history, about the endorsement of nation building by means of historiography, and above all, about communist and post-communist mythologies. The studies shed new light on the creation of local and national identities, as well as the legitimization of ideologies through myth-making. Together, the contributions show that myths were often instrumental in the vast projects of social and political mobilization during a period which has witnessed, among others, two world wars and the harsh oppression of the communist regimes.
164 pages, forthcoming in 2016
978-963-386-136-3 cloth $50.00 / €44.00 / £34.00