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Divided memories?

Source: Demcracy Centre Vienna

Visual Representations of 20th century European history in textbooks

This comparative research project focuses on the analyse of visual representations of 20th century European history (1918 onwards), taking history textbooks for upper secondary education in France, Germany, Poland, Estonia and Austria as well as the binational Franco-german textbook “Histoire/Geschichte” , German-polish learning material “Geschichte erleben/ Zukunft verstehen”  and the European history textbook “Illustrated History of Europe”  as examples.The range of topics comprises inter alia the interwar period, World War II, National Socialism, Holocaust, Stalinism, Communism, forced migration, expulsions, violent conflicts, the system change in the wake of 1989 as well as the European integration and enlargement process.

Main emphasis is put on the issue how these visual representations as well as underlying constructions of national histories influence the process of constructing a trans-national European collective memory. The analysis of different types of visual representations (photos, pictures, paintings, cartoons, graphs, charts, maps, etc.) does not only allow for a significant comparison between national history constructions and related practices of remembrance of the countries involved. It also sheds light on emerging transnational European politics of remembrance and their interplay with national frames of reference.


Project team

Project executing organision: Democracy Centre Vienna
Project leader: PD Dr. Karin Liebhart, University of Vienna
Project collaborator: Mag. Petra Mayrhofer, Bakk.

Funded by:
Jubiläumsfonds der Oesterreichischen Nationalbank

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