Essays

Essays are selected scholarly articles published without prior peer-review process.

The Holocaust, post-colonial studies, and German politics of memory Historians in a new dispute

Ashort article by the Australian historian Dirk Moses published on May 23, 2021, in the Swiss journal Geschichte der Gegenwart has sparked a heated debate among German intellectuals and historians on the singularity of the Holocaust. The debate partly presents itself as an updated version of the German historians’ debate (Historikerstreit) from the late 1980s.

Essay by Ann-Judith Rabenschlag January 24, 2022

Aesthetics as Technique and Spatial Occupation in Hybrid Political Regimes

The essay presents a new reflection on aesthetics within the wider understanding of the role of political rhythms in hybrid regimes. Aesthetics and politics “are not two permanent and separate realities about which it might be asked if they must be put in relation to one another”. On the contrary, the argument the author proposes in this essay presents an idea of how a political establishment disposes a new set of spatial practices through the field of aesthetics.

Essay by Tihomir Topuzovski October 25, 2021

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.

Essay by Edward Kasinec and Nathaniel Knight April 22, 2021

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.

Essay by Johan Hegardt April 21, 2021

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.

Essay by Jörg Hackmann April 21, 2021

Visual representation of the Holodomor From commemoration practices to contemporary art

When we were beginning to think about what we as artists and also the third generation of survivors can tell about the Holodomor we fully realized that visual representation of mass starvation in the arts is not easy. Depiction of violent events and historical traumas is already hard enough because it demands from the artist not only talent but also a deep understanding of historical context and an ethical approach to the sensitive topic. Famine is an invisible enemy. How to show the total lack of something? How to visualize very slow death, extended in time?

Essay by Lia Dostlieva and Andrii Dostliev February 12, 2021

Nomadic Memory Artivism as the Practice of Recovering Memory

Memory can be retained and archived. You can, however, also manipulate it, obliterate its fragments and sometimes whole segments, using its stores as a tool in a political fight with minorities. Historical memory is only seemingly a domain of objective knowledge. The point of departure for my artivistic practice is always work with archival material. With time, my experiences led me to outline a specific understanding of historical memory as a process in which the most important role is played by the migration of ideas, a peculiar kind of nomadism.

Essay by Zuzanna Hertzberg February 12, 2021

Henry Lansdell.

This is an English missionary’s tales of Siberia in the late 19th-century The expedition by Henry Lansdell is documented in the two volumes of Through Siberia from 1882.

Essay by Annagreta Dyring October 8, 2020

Russian fashionistas and international politics

Miroslava Duma, who presents herself as a Russian digital entrepreneur and investor in international fashion, has described Russia during the communist era as a fashion-free zone. Dresses were supposed to be simple back then. Later, Russian women rather became identified by their big hair, leopard tights and showing off bling and brands. However, this image was to be changed.

Essay by Karin Winroth October 8, 2020

Self-Censorship among political bloggers in Belarus and Russia To make yourself heard, with minimal risk to yourself and your loved ones, that is the challenge

Awareness of potential political sanctions can stop social media users from expressing critical and open political views for the sake of personal security. This essay focuses on political bloggers in Belarus and Russia as political opinion leaders who have become more frequent targets of these regimes in recent years. The essay presents the results of a survey on perception and practices of self-censorship conducted among 61 well-known political bloggers in Russia and Belarus and discusses them in relation to the theory of the spiral of silence.

Essay by Alesia Rudnik October 8, 2020