Memory and Mythology: Modern War and the Construction of Historical Memory, 1775-2000
The article considers the phenomenon of nostalgia for the late Soviet times. The author presents the results of his observations over the nostalgia segment of the Russian blogosphere. The article is based on the concepts of the past, collective memory and nostalgia, which have been worked out by M. Halbwachs, D. Lowenthal and S. Boym.
Narrative functions very greatly and are studied in a wide interdisciplinary spectrum. However, one of the functions of the narrative have not yet been studied in detail and therefore deserves a special attention. This is an alarm function: narratives can not only reconstruct past events, but they can also warn on the possible danger, predict the future events and simulate the reactions of recipients. In theoretical narratology, this function is perceived with caution: narrative is usually considered as a form referring to the past. At the same time, the applied research shows that narratives could be actively involved in the practices of predicting the future. This mechanism is largely based on the collective memory. The article deals on the problem of narrative representation of risk and its relation to collective memory.
The special issue explores the manifold relations between history, memory, and anthropological research. Explicitly or not, history has always been a particular reference for anthropological research. First of all, anthropologists most often deal with the past not only when attempting to reconstruct past events and conditions, but rather to look at social change, innovation, and transformation, enabling then to position their findings in larger theoretical perspectives. Moreover, many anthropologists are primarily interested in the ways in which people perceive societal changes, experience and represent them and relate them to their various world-views at large. In these endeavors, the notion of history itself became the center of debate, which shifted the attention of many scholars away from an absolute or etic frame of reference to primarily an emic understanding of its meaning with regard to local issues and life-worlds. Thus, the interaction between History and Anthropology was not simple in the past and is not so today. Whatever the particular interest or approach to history for anthropologists may be, history is therefore not just a neutral domain. From a social-constructivist perspective, history is a part of a distinct local cultural and symbolic universe and represents the result of social processes of selection, remembrance and oblivion. The ‘memory boom’ in anthropology triggered many studies in Africanist scholarship as well, for example, on the way in which historical memories were used by both protagonists of colonialism and national-liberation movements; or as a means of state propaganda by postcolonial regimes.
The paper examines the history of dissemination in 14th-17th centuries in different european countries (especially in Eastern Europe), of one curious text, known as the "Privilege of Alexander the Great for the Slavs." Particular attention was given to the specifically Russian version of this text appeared in the latter half of the XVI century.