“Did They Fight for the Motherland?”, or How “Patriotic Traitors” Became Heroes of Mass Culture in Non-Western Memorial Politics

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Abstract. The author analyzes the features of historical politics in its “soft” non-academic forms in the contexts of the historical experience of forced or voluntary and conscious collaborationism during the Second World War in non-Western societies. The author believes that academic communities and popular culture remain the main actors in the historical politics and the processes of memory formation, but the role of academic intellectuals is declining gradually. Spheres of spatial localization of collaborationists in the analyzed versions of historical memory are diverse, ranging from traditional historiography and monumental sculpture to the Internet and the modern film industry. The historical politics of memory can not only demonize collaborationism as treason and betrayal, but in some cases form and broadcast positive or neutral images of those politicians who collaborated with states which were responsible for World War II. The posthumous “migration” of collaborationist politicians from political discussions and academic historiography to popular culture predetermined the “defeat” of narrative history, which was unable to compete effectively with new versions of the past, visualized and primitivized for the needs of consumerism society.

Keywords: historical memory, historical politics, politics of memory, collaborationism, India, Indonesia, erosion of the monopoly of academic historiography, popular culture.

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