Narratives Unbound: Historical Studies in Post-Communist Eastern Europe

Narratives Unbound: Historical Studies in Post-Communist Eastern Europe

Narratives Unbound: Historical Studies in Post-Communist Eastern Europe

Narratives Unbound: Historical Studies in Post-Communist Eastern Europe


"This volume is the first work to cover post-Communist developments in historical studies in six Eastern European countries (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria) from a comparative and critical perspective, written by scholars from the region itself. It is a building block for scholars of the history of European and global historical studies, and a useful pedagogical tool for classes on the history of historical studies. Each individual chapter is in itself a guide to further research through a wealth of detailed notes and references."


Narratives Unbound:

A Brief Introduction to Post-Communist
Historical Studies

Sorin Antohi

No introduction, however extensive and detailed, can take care of a book's richness and complexity. Also, unlike many of today's books which (at best) tend to be opportunistic, blown-up extensions of articles, this volume, whose more abstract and general claims should not be disentangled from the enormous quantity of relevant details, cannot be summed up. Moreover, a summary would be against my conviction that the steps towards a history of European historical studies, let alone towards a global history of historical studies, ought to include empirically-based, theoretically sound, reflexive, comparative, intercultural works on the countries and (sub)regions whose cultural, intellectual, academic contributions have been less present on the international arena, have not made it into the global canon, have been collateral victims in the cultural wars of our age. From this point of view, Eastern Europe is a curious case. It has not embraced (with a few exceptions) the postcolonial paradigm (possibly because the pride of local scholars is still stronger than their strategic skills and their anti-Western ressentiment)), this extraordinarily empowering and subverting offspring of postmodernism. It has not invented any other post-Cold War cultural-ideological formula to 'package' and 'market' its regional identity. Rather, Eastern Europe has embarked on a program of erasing Europe's demi-Orientalist symbolic geography (complete with a demi-Orientalist and self-Orientalizing symbolic geography of knowledge production). Thus, as allEuropeans, or EU-ropeans, many Eastern Europeans hope to shed their entrenched complexes and long histories of ambiguous in-betweenness (neither Occidental, nor Oriental), and become standard Europeans or, in other words, as banal and inconspicuous as their Western betters. in the process, their specificities come to be played down or largely overlooked, can be readily translated into the categories of a West in which . . .

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