Debating 20th century history

Negotiating history and memory in the public sphere

How historical 'facts' are understood is a matter of negotiation and is sometimes subject to intense debate amongst not just professional historians but also the public at large. In this section, we present public debates and controversies that emerge at different points in time and in a variety of local, national and trans-national contexts. The debates usually arise where dominant narratives are being contested or contrasting historical interpretations clash in the public sphere - during commemorative events, in academic publications or due to policy shifts. Through a critical assessment and contextualization of local debates and arguments the contributions in this sections reveal insights into important national (sometimes regional) conversations that oftentimes touch upon core issues of identity and social relations in these societies. 

The articles therefore not only demonstrate how the 'long' twentieth century is being talked about and fought over today, in the new millennium, but also how these struggles inform present-day developments and attitudes in the countries of East Central and Southeastern Europe and beyond. Readers will gain insight into controversial historical events and learn about the various actors and agents in the debates who influence the course these quarrels take. Written exclusively for the Cultures of History Forum, the articles make the historical cultures of the region accessible to readers outside their respective national contexts.