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Memory, History, and Opposition under State Socialism


Edited by Rubie S. Watson

Eight anthropologists, sociologists, and historians probe the oppositional narratives created by Chinese rural intellectuals, èmigrè Croats, and organized dissenters such as the Djilas of Yugoslavia who constructed and maintained oppositional histories in state socialist societies. Even as the creators of official history jealously guarded the right to produce historical texts, alternative histories survived and on occasion even prospered in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and China. Contestation over how the past was to be represented was never fully eradicated.

1994. 224 pp., notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: Robert M. Hayden, Caroline Humphrey, Stephen F. Jones, Ellen R. Judd, Andrew Lass, Paul G. Pickowicz, Vera Schwarcz, Rubie S. Watson

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“[Memory] unfolds into several nuanced and original studies of how social memory and historical interpretation was managed within various state socialist regimes… Among collections which examine the dynamics of state socialism, this collection is one of the best edited and most innovative.”
—David G. Anderson, Canadian Slavonic Papers/Revue canadienne des slavistes XLIII, nos. 2-3 (June-September 2001)

“[This] collection is a major contribution to our understanding of ‘the social history of memory’ and should help to inaugurate a more nuanced understanding of opposition and repression in socialist countries, both then and now.”
—Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Social Anthropology 6, part 1 (February 1998)

“Overall, this is a fine volume that can be recommended to general anthropological readers for the theoretical insights it offers as well as to area specialists.”
—Carole Nagengast, American Anthropologist Vol. 98, no. 4 (December 1996)


  1. Memory, History, and Opposition under State Socialism: An Introduction
    Rubie S. Watson
  2. Remembering an “Enemy”: The Bogd Khaan in Twentieth-Century Mongolia
    Caroline Humphrey
  3. Strangers No More: Personal Memory in the Interstices of Public Commemoration
    Vera Schwarcz
  4. Making Secret Histories: Memory and Mourning in Post-Mao China
    Rubie S. Watson
  5. From Memory to History: The Events of November 17 Dis/membered
    Andrew Lass
  6. Mulian Saves His Mother in 1989
    Ellen R. Judd
  7. Memories of Revolution and Collectivization in China: The Unauthorized Reminiscences of a Rural Intellectual
    Paul G. Pickowicz
  8. Old Ghosts and New Chains: Ethnicity and Memory in the Georgian Republic
    Stephen F. Jones
  9. Recounting the Dead: The Rediscovery and Redefinition of Wartime Massacres in Late- and Post-Community Yugoslavia
    Robert M. Hayden

There are no working papers for this book at the present time.