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Mutinous memories

A subjective history of French military protest in 1919

Matt Perry

This book explores the eight-month wave of mutinies in the French infantry and navy in 1919. This revolt stretched from France’s intervention against the Soviet Union through the Black Sea, into the Mediterranean and finally resulting in unrest in France’s naval ports. As a consequence, mutineers faced court martials, the threat of the death penalty and years of hard labour.

This research is the result of careful scrutiny of official records and, more importantly, the testimony of dozens of mutineers. It is the first study to try to understand the world of the mutineers, assessing their own words for the traces of their sensory perceptions, their emotions and their thought processes. It shows that the conventional understanding of the mutinies as simple war-weariness and low morale as inadequate. It demonstrates that an emotional gulf separated officers and the ranks, who simply did not speak the same language. It reveals the soundscape (its silences, shouts and songs) and visual aspect of the mutiny. The revolt entailed emotional sequences ending in a deep ambivalence and sense of despair or regret. It also considers how mutineer memories persisted after the events in the face of official censorship, repression and the French Communist Party’s co-option of the mutiny.

This text will interest students, general readers and scholars of the both Great War and its contentious aftermath. Setting the mutiny in the transnational context, it will contribute to the growing interest in 1919 as the twentieth century’s most unruly year.

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Geoffrey Cubitt

This book deals with history's relationship to memory. By individual memory, it means a memory that is located in the minds of individuals and through which those individuals have knowledge of things that fall within their personal experience. Memory of this kind is an integral part of the mental functioning of individuals and is closely linked to concepts of personality and selfhood. But, individual or personal memory is also a part of the mental equipment that allows human beings to function in social settings. Its forms are influenced by its social uses, and it makes a contribution to social knowledge and social understanding that can be explored from a social as well as an individual angle. The book explores how individual memory is a resource both for individuals within society and for societies themselves and how it is connected to larger social processes. The exploration of social memory begins as a facet of the discussion of the social dimensions of in individual; it is carried further through the discussion of the workings of memory in social groups. It is then completed by the discussion of the ways in which representations, understandings and senses of the past are produced within the larger society.

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Edited by: Paul Grainge

As a technology able to picture and embody the temporality of the past, cinema has become central to the mediation of memory in modern cultural life. The memory of film scenes and movies screens, cinema and cinema-going, has become integral to the placement and location of film within the cultural imagination of this century and the last. This book is a sustained, interdisciplinary perspective on memory and film from early cinema to the present. The first section examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The second section examines the politics of memory in a series of chapters that take as their focus three pivotal sites of national conflict in postwar America. This includes the war in Vietnam, American race relations and the Civil Rights Movement, and the history of marginality in the geographic and cultural borderlands of the US. The book explores the articulation of Vietnam. The final section concentrates on the issue of mediation; it explores how technological and semiotic shifts in the cultural terrain have influenced the coding and experience of memory in contemporary cinema. It considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory. The book also examines the stakes of cultural remembering in the United States and the means by which memory has been figured through Hollywood cinema.

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Co-memory and melancholia

Israelis memorialising the Palestinian Nakba

Ronit Lentin

The 1948 war that led to the creation of the State of Israel also resulted in the destruction of Palestinian society, when some 80 per cent of the Palestinians who lived in the major part of Palestine upon which Israel was established became refugees. Israelis call the 1948 war their ‘War of Independence’ and the Palestinians their ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe. After many years of Nakba denial, land appropriation, political discrimination against the Palestinians within Israel and the denial of rights to Palestinian refugees, in recent years the Nakba is beginning to penetrate Israeli public discourse. This book explores the construction of collective memory in Israeli society, where the memory of the trauma of the Holocaust and of Israel's war dead competes with the memory claims of the dispossessed Palestinians. Taking an auto-ethnographic approach, it makes a contribution to social memory studies through a critical evaluation of the co-memoration of the Palestinian Nakba by Israeli Jews. Against a background of the Israeli resistance movement, the book's central argument is that co-memorating the Nakba by Israeli Jews is motivated by an unresolved melancholia about the disappearance of Palestine and the dispossession of the Palestinians, a melancholia which shifts mourning from the lost object to the grieving subject. The book theorises Nakba co-memory as a politics of resistance, counterpoising co-memorative practices by internally displaced Israeli Palestinians with Israeli Jewish discourses of the Palestinian right of return, and questions whether return narratives by Israeli Jews are ultimately about Israeli Jewish self-healing.

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Sites of imperial memory

Commemorating colonial rule in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

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Edited by: Dominik Geppert and Frank Lorenz Müller

Legacies of colonial empire are present in the demarcations of state borders, in architecture, on the pedestals of monuments, in books, and in other forms. Heroic men have not been forgotten but at the same time erstwhile insurgents rebelling against the colonial order are now celebrated as freedom fighters. Even commodities of daily life, such as coffee or rubber, bear the deep imprint of their colonial histories. This book presents imperial history as a history of interwoven, overlapping, partly contradictory memories in which non-European outlooks are considered on a more equal footing, alongside the recollections of former colonial masters. These include imperial architecture in nineteenth-century Algeria, the Koregaon obelisk in India, the Hungarian monument commemorating the thirteen martyrs of Arad, and Japan's twentieth-century post-war repositories of memories of war, empire, suffering and heroism. The heroes and villains of the imperial era include the Dutch colonial governor Jan Pietersz Coen; Robert Clive, the victor of Plassey; and the explorer and missionary David Livingstone. Other manifestations of memory include Imam Shamil who resisted the troops of Tsarist Russia. The book looks at the fragility and precariousness of repositories of imperial memory. It traces the cycles of obliviousness and remembrance, of suppression and political instrumentalisation that have accompanied the history of Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. The history of Berlin's Botanical Garden is intimately intertwined with Germany's colonial endeavours but this important aspect of the institution's history has remained all but suppressed.

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Matt Perry

5 Associational memory This chapter assesses the associational activity and the mnemonic practices of mutineers, as well as how these changed over time. Any event, not least one as significant for the participants as the mutinies of 1919, possesses an afterlife that unfolds in successive phases.1 Initially, the unofficial knowledge of the Black Sea Mutiny spread, inspiring collective action amongst the armed forces and in France’s port cities. This phase of collective action lasted until the autumn of 1919. Between then and 1923, the mutiny remained a matter of

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Ronit Lentin

2 Memory sites, postmemory, co-memory Why do some people have the power to remember, while others are asked to forget? ... No ethical person would admonish Jews to forget the Holocaust ... yet in dialogue with Israelis ... Palestinians are repeatedly admonished to forget the past ... ironically Palestinians live the consequences of the past every day – whether as exiles from their homeland, or as members of an oppressed minority within Israel. (Bishara 2007) Introduction In ‘Categorial murder, or, how to remember the Holocaust’, Bauman (2004a) argues that

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Prosthetic memory

The ethics and politics of memory in an age of mass culture

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Alison Landsberg

Memory is not commonly imagined as a site of possibility for progressive politics. More often, memory, particularly in the form of nostalgia, is condemned for its solipsistic nature, for its tendency to draw people into the past instead of the present. This is the case, for example, in Kathryn Bigelow’s 1995 film Strange Days , in which the use of memory – usually another

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Matt Perry

4 Age, time and personal memory Though Marty’s Révolte was ostensibly an act of collective memory or even collective autobiography, he reduced the imagination of participants to a monological didacticism. A re-examination of the personal memories of mutineers allows Marty’s imposed uniformity to be unpicked. The mutiny, as Bakhtin might have put it, was dialogical: it entailed a multiplicity of subjectivities unevenly communing through collective action, everyday practices, song, symbolism and language.1 Overlapping with public commemorative practices, though

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Time and memory in reggae music

The politics of hope

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Sarah Daynes

On the basis of a body of reggae songs from the 1970s and late 1990s, this book offers a sociological analysis of memory, hope and redemption in reggae music. From Dennis Brown to Sizzla, the way in which reggae music constructs a musical, religious and socio-political memory in rupture with dominant models is illustrated by the lyrics themselves. How is the past remembered in the present? How does remembering the past allow for imagining the future? How does collective memory participate in the historical grounding of collective identity? What is the relationship between tradition and revolution, between the recollection of the past and the imagination of the future, between passivity and action? Ultimately, this case study of ‘memory at work’ opens up on a theoretical problem: the conceptualisation of time and its relationship with memory.