Archaeology in the Construction, Commemoration, and Consecration of National Pasts
Examining such relatively new or reconfigured nation-states as Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, India, and Thailand, Selective Remembrances shows how states invoke the remote past to extol the glories of specific peoples or prove claims to ancestral homelands. Religion has long played a key role in such efforts, and the contributors take care to demonstrate the tendency of many people, including archaeologists themselves, to view the world through a religious lens—which can be exploited by new regimes to suppress objective study of the past and justify contemporary political actions.
The wide geographic and intellectual range of the essays in Selective Remembrances will make it a seminal text for archaeologists and historians.
“With their highly topical and tightly focused studies, the contributors to this volume reach beyond standard assertions of links between archaeology and nationalism. As they show, archaeology may have developed in conjunction with the declining model of the ‘modern’ nation state, but its powerful capacity to concretize the past in scientifically sanctioned lieux de mémoire remains all the more pertinent today, when dealing with far more fluid and contested configurations of global, national, and religious identities.”
“Over the last twenty or so years, scholars have increasingly recognized the ways in which archeology and the state are, for better or worse, intertwined. Building on earlier work on this relationship, the essays in Selective Remembrances advance the discussion by noting the significant changes in national identity and nationalism, particularly in the last ten years. The essays are uniformly excellent, and Kohl, Kozelsky, and Ben-Yehuda’s introduction provides a landmark synthesis for future work.”