ISSN 0868-4871
History, Memory and Identity: Refl ections on the Book “The Past for the Present: History-Memory and Narratives of National Identity”

History, Memory and Identity: Refl ections on the Book “The Past for the Present: History-Memory and Narratives of National Identity”


The article is a review of the edited volume “The Past for the Present: History- Memory and Narratives of National Identity”, published in 2020. The monograph represents the new work of the Center of Intellectual History of the Institute of World History at the Russian Academy of Science, edited by Lorina P. Repina, head of the Center. The main topic analyzed in the book is the complex relationship between the concepts of ‘history’ and ‘memory’, and the role of historiography and collective memory in the formation of national and nation-state identity. The volume analyzes the specifi c issue drawing on the examples and evidence from Russia and other countries, comparing the mechanisms of interaction between historical science and collective memory in forming national identity. It should be recognized, indeed, the benefi t and prospects of this approach, emphasizing how history and historical memory are inextricably intertwined and how one of the points of their intersection constitute what we can call national identity. Although history and historical memory may diff er and even take diff erent directions, both these strands play an important role in the formation of national identity. Historical memory is inseparable from the social group that ‘holds’ it, and its meaning is mainly internal, an instrument of self-identifi cation. On the other hand, historical knowledge, which has reached a scientifi c level, has a more orderly, presentable appearance and it is addressed to an external audience. Thus, historical memory forms the foundations of national identity, and historical thought can provide historical memory with original facts and images and help to consolidate national and nation-state identity, primarily through state narratives and educational books.


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Keywords: history; historical memory; national identity; past and present; L.P. Repina

Available in the on-line version with: 11.01.2021

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Number 6, 2020