This book examines the phenomenon of modern memory as a reaction to total war, an aspiration to truth-seeking provoked by the independent forces of modern war and collective violence which is transnational, or postnational, in character. Using examples from prose and poetry, film and theatre, painting and photography, and music and the popular arts, the author traces a narrative path through the events of the twentieth century, defining the tradition of modern memory in terms of its essentially anti-militaristic, anti-war character, as expressed in the manner in which it represents recalled violence and atrocity. Through a series of thematic discussions of two world wars, the Shoah, urbicide and nuclear weapons, Postnational Memory explores the formation of transnational memory, drawing on examples from industrialized societies, with a focus on memory of real events and their reproduction in literature and the arts, often including personal recollections that link the self to the represented past. As such, by asking how the concept of modern memory is constructed through the victims of war and genocide, the book constitutes an alternative to national memories and hegemonic, militarist or ethnocentric histories. Surveying the emergence of new, transnational forms of remembering the past, it will appeal to students and scholars of sociology, memory studies and peace studies, as well as those working in disciplines such as modern and international history, cultural studies and military studies.

part Part 1|2 pages

Memory and counter-memory

chapter |2 pages


A modern memory?

chapter |2 pages


Defining ‘modern memory’

chapter 1|30 pages

A memorable engagement

chapter 2|24 pages

‘The great sunk silences’

The nature of forgetting and the unbearable pain of recall

chapter 3|15 pages

Memory’s new voice

chapter 4|21 pages

Generations of memory

War Booms and Memory Booms

part Part 2|2 pages

Against forgetting – retrieving a borderless past

chapter 6|34 pages

Memory after the ‘Shoah’

chapter 7|30 pages

Airwar and memory

part Part 3|2 pages

Re-writing memory

chapter 8|22 pages

Beyond amnesia

Breaking silences

chapter 9|27 pages

A testimony of place

chapter 10|34 pages

Beyond militarism?

Peace and war in civil memory

chapter 11|31 pages

Postnational memory and national conflict

Remembrance in a globalizing society

part Part 4|2 pages

Towards a history of modern memory

chapter 12|10 pages

Towards a history of modern memory I

The work of the precursors

chapter 13|8 pages

Towards a history of modern memory II

A memory–work timeline

chapter 14|20 pages

The past in the present – Metamorphosen