Scientific articles

A Swedish outpost in St. Petersburg. The Church of Sweden and St. Catherine’s  Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg. Post-Soviet memory politics from a church historical perspective

The formation of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran congregation in St. Petersburg had consequences for the Church of Sweden and for Swedish foreign policy. The aim of this article is to problematize the actions of the Church of Sweden and the Swedish state in connection with the revival of the Lutheran congregations on Soviet territory toward the end of the Cold War. The article combines the study of cultural memories with theories derived from research that focuses on spatial location and materiality.

By Gunilla Gunner and Carola Nordbäck No Comments on The Church of Sweden and St. Catherine’s  Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg.

Faces of Russia’s empire. The Bergholtz collection of ethnographic images from the early 18th century

The Division of Prints and Drawings of the Swedish National Museum contains a collection with just over 200 hand painted images of the peoples of the Russian Empire which, up to the present time, has been largely unknown to scholars. The images, dating from the first half of the 18th century, are associated with the name of Friedrich Wilhelm Bergholtz (1699–1772) a courtier and collector who served as a tutor to the Grand Duke Petr Fedorovich (the future Peter III). In this article, the authors describe the contents of the collection, consider its' possible origin, and assess its significance, particularly with regard to its depictions of Siberian peoples and Ukrainians.

By Edward Kasinec and Nathaniel Knight No Comments on The Bergholtz collection of ethnographic images from the early 18th century

Shara Zhienkulova as the “femina Sovietica”. Emanicipation in Stalinist Kazakhstan

This article explores the potential of the Kazakh “model woman” narrative in the context of the socio-cultural perspectives of Stalinism in traditional oriental societies. In her well-written memoirs, Shara Zhienkulova, founder of the Kazakh dance school, reconstructs personal accounts of the Bolshevik cultural modernization project, through the introduction of new cultural practices and her own hard-won battle for a place in the new Soviet culture. We argue here that while her body served the regime as a kinesthetic mediator for the projected ideological imperatives to be oriented on European style – in the Soviet manner – her soul and mind remained (as containers of personal and ethnic memory) ethnic Kazakh in nature. Through her memoirs Shara Zhienkulova intended to leave not only a name but also a voice in the Kazakh culture, recounting the inner world and thoughts of subaltern women.

By Didar Kassymova and Elmira Teleuova No Comments on Shara Zhienkulova as the “femina Sovietica”.

The Janus of Russian modernization. Discussions at the 3rd Cultural Forum of the Regions of Russia

The growing sector of heritage industry and creative uses of the past in Russia illustrate that, besides the undeniable existence of restorative nostalgia, there are other, more progressive forms of nostalgia that address social change and the protection of heritage sites.

By Ekaterina Kalinina No Comments on The Janus of Russian modernization. Discussions at the 3rd Cultural Forum of the Regions of Russia

Heritage, Democracy, Ambiguity Swedish heritage and the politics of identity

This essay examines Swedish heritage politics from the 1920s up to the present by studying official inquiries during this period. Through a critical, historical and empirical discussion, it reveals how the meaning of the word kulturarv (heritage) has been adjusted to correspond to wider changes in Swedish politics. It shows how a relatively neutral understanding of the word kulturarv has been turned into an ambiguity. In this essay I suggest from the material at hand that this trajectory of change results from the development of global capitalism, which turned identity into a commodity. This essay concludes that in a post-heritage future we therefore need a new understanding of identity, an open identity, and that we need to take existential responsibility for our lives.

By Johan Hegardt No Comments on Heritage, Democracy, Ambiguity

The end of “East Central Europe” and the return of “Europe in-between”

Political and scholarly debates on European (meso-)regions have returned time and again over the past 100 years. The conceptualizations of Central and Eastern Europe plays a major role in the debates, which affects the Baltic Sea region and Northern Europe as well. These issues have already been addressed many times, but recently, a new development deserves our attention: the launch of the “Three Seas Initiative” in the summer of 2015 by the presidents of Poland and Croatia, comprising 12 EU member states between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas.

By Jörg Hackmann No Comments on The end of “East Central Europe” and the return of “Europe in-between”

The legacy of 1989 in Poland. Conflicts and commemoration 30 years after the end of Communism

The author have analyzed the coverage of the 30th anniversary of the Roundtable Agreement and June elections in Polish newspapers of all political hues. Additionally several official speeches held in connection with the commemorations have been scrutinized. The goal has been to examine the uses of memory of 1989 in Polish politics of 2019 and highlight the strategic choices and constraints faced by mnemonic actors in this context. Thus, the study presented may be seen as a follow-up to Bernhard’s and Kubik’s investigation conducted ten years ago. However, this analysis expands the focus of Bernhard’s and Kubik’s work by paying special attention to cultural constraints on politics of memory. Thus, the aim is both to give insight into contemporary politics of memory in Poland in relation to the recent past and contribute to the more general understanding of how culture works in politics of memory.

By Barbara Törnquist-Plewa No Comments on The legacy of 1989 in Poland.

Reconstruction of contested history Vilnius, 1939–1949

The narrative in this article is based on a reconstruction of my personal curatorial experience while working on the exhibition “A Difficult Age: Vilnius, 1939–1949”. The exhibition’s chronological framework – 1939 to 1949 – was established with a focus on historical realities and aimed to frame the narrative of the guest exhibition. The public knowledge of the history of multi-national Vilnius is full of conscious and unconscious omissions, in large part caused by oblivion, but no less by the unwillingness to remember, ignorance, and the refusal to know or even fear of finding out. The narrative based on the history of visual art and artists’ lives is a way to bring up controversial topics and open new perspectives.

By Giedre Jankeviciute No Comments on Reconstruction of contested history

BRINGING BACK THE SILENCED MEMORIES (UN)OFFICIAL COMMEMORATIONS OF THE HOLOCAUST IN BELARUS

This article addresses the problem of the underrepresentation of the traumatic past in the example of the official commemoration of the Holocaust in Belarus. The silenced memories hinder the process of reconciliation and have real consequences for urban planning and cultural life. Thus, in order to address the tragedy that has been excluded from the official commemoration in Belarus, artists and journalists have created projects to fill the void in remembrance. The article describes how art and media projects have resolved the problem of the underrepresentation of certain events in the official culture and make vernacular memory available to many people.

By Elisabeth Kovtiak No Comments on BRINGING BACK THE SILENCED MEMORIES

Displaced time 10 photographs from restricted collections as a model for remembrance

This article focuses on the site-specific exhibition “Displaced Time: 10 Photographs from Restricted Collections” as a model of remembrance and an act against oblivion. The article analyses “Displaced Time” as part of ongoing memory work that aims to explain and understand the mechanisms of the Soviet period and its influence on contempora ry society. In order to analyze the power relations between photographs and archives, this article also explores the power relations between the photographer and the subject – the photographic gaze – as well as the power relations between the photograph and the reader – the agency of images.

By Annika Toots No Comments on Displaced time