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Alon Confino

Bio: Alon Confino is an academic researcher from University of Virginia. The author has contributed to research in topics: The Holocaust & German. The author has an hindex of 17, co-authored 37 publications receiving 1238 citations.
Topics: The Holocaust, German, Nazism, Narrative, Battle

Papers
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Book
01 Jan 1997
TL;DR: The Nation as a Local Metaphor as mentioned in this paper explores the negotiations between local memory and national memory and how the multitude of local memories in Germany constructed a local-national memory, and explores how people on the geographical peripheries of unified Germany after 1871 internalized the idea of a nation.
Abstract: Confino, Alon. The Nation as a Local Metaphor. Wurttemberg, Imperial Germany, and National Memory, 1871-1918. Chapel Hill: The U of North Carolina P, 1997.280 pp. $55.00 hardcover, $19.95 paperback. In The Nation as a Local Metaphor, Alon Confino aims to provide German scholarship with a culturally and anthropologically based historical study of German nationalism that carefully delineates how people on the geographical peripheries of unified Germany after 1871 internalized the idea of a nation. Confino sets out to explore "the negotiations between local memory and national memory and how the multitude of local memories in Germany constructed a local-national memory" (8). More specifically, Confino studies Sedan Day and Heimat celebrations, both of which he sees as promotions of the German nation through memory. In fascinating detail, the book's two parts, each consisting of three chapters, review how the Wurttemberg bourgeoisie promoted first the annual celebrations of the victory over the French at Sedan (part I) and then Heimat (part II) in order to "invent" and shape a unified German identity. Confino begins by showing us how Wirttemberg's Honoratiorengesellschaft, or society of notables, of the 1870s and 1880s ultimately failed to turn Sedan Day celebrations into defining events of the German nation. He convincingly argues that the exclusion of undesired segments of society (especially of the petite bourgeoisie), the close connection of the Honoratiorengesellschaft to the political interests of the mostly Protestant liberal party (Deutsche Partei in Wirttemberg), and the widespread distrust ofa Prussianized Germany in Wurttemberg became fatal liabilities for Sedan Day celebrations during the 1890s. Sedan Day celebrations were unsuccessful because they reproduced the conflicts existing within German society. Promotions of the German nation through Heimat, however, were successful precisely because the bourgeoisie's use of the concept of Heimat toward the end of the nineteenth century was inclusive and did not take sides in conflicts within German society. In addition, Heimat memory was highly selective and forgiving. It hardly remembered, according to Confino, that Wirttemberg in 1866 had still fought on the side of Austria against Prussia; and it forgot that in 1813 Wurttemberg had fought on the side of Napoleon against the Belle Alliance and Prussia. Despite a well-conceived overall argument, Confino is not an easy author to agree with. He has a weakness for provocatively absolute pronouncements: he declares, for instance, "Generally, Heimat was used in the first half of the nineteenth century as a legal concept" (127). …

194 citations

Book
30 Sep 2006
TL;DR: An acknowledged authority on German history and memory, Alon Confino presents in this volume an original critique of the relations between nationhood, memory, and history, applied to the specific case of Germany as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: An acknowledged authority on German history and memory, Alon Confino presents in this volume an original critique of the relations between nationhood, memory, and history, applied to the specific case of Germany. In ten essays (three never before published and one published only in German), Confino offers a distinct view of German nationhood in particular and of nationhood in general as a product of collective negotiation and exchange between the many memories that exist in the nation. The first group of essays centers on the period from 1871 to 1990 and explores how Germans used conceptions of the local, or Heimat, to identify what it meant to be German in a century of ideological upheavals. The second group of essays comprehensively critiques and analyzes the ways laypersons and scholars use the notion of memory as a tool to understand the past. Arguing that the case of Germany contains particular characteristics with broader implications for the way historians practice their trade, "Germany as a Culture of Remembrance" examines the limits and possibilities of writing history.

69 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The other local which we refer to in this essay is a set of practices which emerge in intimate relationship to nationalism, which in some ways even sustains nationalism, even though the places it produces cannot be understood within the same logic of transcendence as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: What characterises many studies that invoke the local can be described as a logic of transcendence. This logic of transcendence does not reject nor disregard the local. Rather, it affirms the centrality of the local. At the same time, the focus is on how the local is historically transcended into higher levels of generality and abstraction; the argument is that only through attention to these higher levels that the meanings of the local become clear. In contrast, the other local which we refer to in this essay is a set of practices which emerges in intimate relationship to nationalism, which in some ways even sustains nationalism, even though the places it produces cannot be understood within the same logic of transcendence. At times, this other local refers to the political and conceptual practices that emerged at the limits of the abstract time and space that constituted nationalism. At other times, this local refers to the marginal in order to represent nationhood anew. Nationhood does not exhaust, sub...

45 citations


Cited by
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BookDOI
01 Jan 2001

840 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The history and memory industry has been a hot topic in the last few decades as discussed by the authors, with a renewed interest in memorization as an object of study in the field of history and history.
Abstract: WELCOME TO THE MEMORY INDUSTRY. In the grand scheme ofthings, the memory industry ranges from the museum trade to the legal battles over repressed memory and on to the market for academic books and articles that invoke memory as key word. Our scholarly fascination with things memorable is quite new. As Jeffrey K. Olick and Joyce Robbins have noted, "collective memory" emerged as an object of scholarly inquiry only in the early twentieth century, contemporaneous with the so-called crisis of historicism. Hugo von Hofmannsthal used the phrase "collective memory" in 1902, and in 1925 Maurice Halbwachs's The Social Frameworks of Memory argued, against Henri Bergson and Sigmund Freud, that memory is a specifically social phenomenon. But outside of experimental psychology and clinical psychoanalysis, few academics paid much attention to memory until the great swell of popular interest in autobiographical literature, family genealogy, and museums that marked the seventies. 1 The scholarly boom began in the 1980s with two literary events: Yosef Yerushalmi's Zakhor: jewish History and jewish Memory (1982) and Pierre Nora's "Between Memory and History," the introduction to an anthology, Lieux de me'moire (1984). Each of these texts identified memory as a primitive or sacred form opposed to modern historical consciousness. For Yerushalmi, the Jews were the archetypal people of memory who had adopted history only recently and then only in part, for "modern Jewish historiography can never replace an eroded group memory." For Nora, memory was an archaic mode of being that had been devastated by rationalization: "We speak so much of memory because there is so little of it left." Despite or perhaps because of their elegiac tone and accounts of memory as antihistorical discourse, these works found an amazing popularity and were quickly joined by others. In 1989 the translation of Nora's influential essay in a special issue of this journal and the founding of History and Memory, based in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles, showed the crystallization of a self-conscious memory discourse. A decade later the scholarly literature brims with such titles as "Sites of Memory" or "Cultural Memory" or "The Politics of Memory. "2 The emergence of memory as a key word marks a dramatic change in linguistic practice. We might be tempted to imagine the increasing use of memor as the natural result of an increased scholarly interest in the ways that popular and folk cultures

559 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A sense of self-perceived collective victimhood emerges as a major theme in the ethos of conflict of societies involved in intractable conflict and is a fundamental part of the collective memory of the conflict as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: A sense of self-perceived collective victimhood emerges as a major theme in the ethos of conflict of societies involved in intractable conflict and is a fundamental part of the collective memory of the conflict. This sense is defined as a mindset shared by group members that results from a perceived intentional harm with severe consequences, inflicted on the collective by another group. This harm is viewed as undeserved, unjust and immoral, and one that the group could not prevent. The article analyses the nature of the self-perceived collective sense of victimhood in the conflict, its antecedents, the functions that it fulfils for the society and the consequences that result from this view.

346 citations

Book
30 Jun 2006
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present a collection of books that bring together the best of this intellectual diversity into one collection, focusing on nationalism in political, social and cultural theory.
Abstract: Nationalism has long excited debate in political, social and cultural theory and remains a key field of enquiry among historians, anthropologists, sociologists as well as political scientists. It is also one of the critical media issues of our time. There are, however, surprisingly few volumes that bring together the best of this intellectual diversity into one collection.

323 citations