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History and Memory of the Communist Period: Traumatic Pasts and Nostalgic Returns

The class makes an overview of the main aspects related to the memory of the communist period, with attention to the traumatic pasts and the sources of nostalgia among different parts of the population. Among the topics that are addressed in the class are the communist labor camps, the persecutions and extermination of political opponents, the limitations of freedom and abuse of human rights, etc. – all these regarded from the perspective of their revisiting after 1989 and the political and social debates that they triggered in the long run.

Texts for discussion:

  • Nadkarni, M. and O. Shevchenko, The Politics of Nostalgia in the Aftermath of Socialism’s Collapse: A Case for Comparative Analysis. In: Angé, O. and D. Berliner, eds., Anthropology and Nostalgia. New York, Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2015, 61-95.
  • Деянова, Л., Очертания на мълчанието. Травматични места на колективната памет. София, 2008. [Deyanova, L., Outlines of Silence. Traumatic Sites of Collective Memory. Sofia, 2008].
  • Господинов, Г., съст. Аз живях социализма. 171 лични истории. София, 2006. [Gospodinov, G., ed., I Lived Socialism. 171 Personal Stories. Sofia, 2006].

Additional readings:

  • Borneman, J., Settling Accounts: Violence, Justice, and Accountability in Postsocialist Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.
  • Judt, T., Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945. New York: Penguin, 2005.
  • Lebow, R., W. Kansteiner, and C. Fogu, eds., The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe, Durham: Duke University Press, 2006.
  • Rév, I., Retroactive Justice. Prehistory of Post-Communism. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005.
  • Verdery, K., The Political Lives of Dead Bodies: Reburial and Postsocialist Change, New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.
  • Колева, Д., Белене – място на памет? Антропологична анкета. София, 2010. [Koleva, D., ed., Belene – Site of Memory? Anthropological Querry. Sofia, 2010].
  • Везенков, А., Девети септември 1944 г. София, 2014. [Vezenkov, A., September 9, 1944. Sofia, 2014].