Colloque - State-sponsored History after 1945

Since their earliest inception, modern states and their regimes have recognized the importance to draft and direct ‘their’ national history. Although 19th century models of romanticist nationalist history lie behind us, post 1945 reality shows that regimes as a rule still recognize the protection of ‘national history’ as an intrinsic part of national state interest. State interventionism in the drafting of national history has arguably increased since the early 1990s, although the shapes, forms, contexts, goals and outcome continues to diversify and complexify.

We want to promote an interdisciplinary debate on the history that is created when state authorities mobilize their financial, political, cultural, judicial and/or academic resources to set up a durable construction of historiographies, collective memories and public narratives or visual representations related to (perceived) ‘national history’. The main aims of the conference are: 1) to create an overview of the diversity of forms of state-sponsored history around the globe 2) to analyze processes of state influence 3) to analyze the types of histories and narratives that result from this.

Pierre-Olivier de Broux présentera une communication intitulée "History's watch by the European court of human rights".

Programme (provisoire)

23 NOVEMBER 2015


9h0-0­9h30:​ Welcome Address and Introduction (Berber Bevernage & Nico Wouters)




Overview presentation: ‘Sites of National Commemoration’ (Shanti Sumartojo)

Case presentations (part 1):

- ‘Spaces of nationhood and contested war monuments in Poland’ (Ewa Ochman)


10h30­-11h00:​ Coffee break




Case presentations (part 2)


- ‘Memory and statecraft in Putin’s Russia: mediating post­socialism, neoliberalism and internationalism’​(​Gertjan Plets)

- ‘Memorials and Commemoration Projects as an Expression of State­Sponsored Narratives in the Rwandan Context’ (Stephanie Wolfe)


- ‘Just a Remnant of Khrushchev’s Commemoration Policy? The Salaspils Memorial as a Symbol of Unity in Soviet and Post­Soviet Latvia’ (Paula Oppermann)


12h30-­13h30:​ Lunch




Overview presentation: ‘Truth Commissions’ (Eric Wiebelhaus­Brahm) Case presentations:


- ‘Truth commissions & politics of history: a critical appraisal’ (Stephan Scheuzger)


- ‘Truth Commissions as national history projects: a new “national“ history in post­TC Brazil?’ (Nina Schneider)

- ‘The 9/11 Commission Report’ (Oz Frankel)


15h30­-16h00:​ Coffee break



Overview presentation: ‘Commissioning history: an overview of historical expert commissions and their work’ (Eva­Clarita Pettai)


Case presentations:


- ‘The swiss independent commission of experts’ (Friedrich von Petersdorff)


-‘Constituting the Dutch State in the NIOD Srebrenica report’ (Erna Rijsdijk)




24 NOVEMBER 2015




Overview presentation: ‘History in Schools’ (Peter Seixas)


Case presentations (part 1):


- ‘School Textbooks and Story Books for Children as Sites of National History: The Practices of a State Owned Children’s Publisher and A Research Council’ (Aswathi Jerome)


- ‘The Use and Abuse of History in Central Africa: Politics, Historiography and History Teaching in Contemporary Rwanda and Burundi’ (Denise Bentrovato)


10h30­-11h00:​ Coffee break




Case presentations (part 2)


- ‘State­sponsored histories in modern democracies: The case of the United States and the colonial genocide of native americans’ (Jim Snow)

- ‘History education in Turkey’ (Ismail Demircioglu)


- ‘Competing histories in the classroom: A comparative study of textbooks from Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine’ (Rune Larsen Brandt)


- ‘The “national dream” to cultural mosaic: State­sponsored history in Canadian education’ (Lynn Lemisko & Kurt Clausen)


12h45­-13h45:​ Lunch




Overview presentation: ‘State­sponsored history in museums’ (Ilaria Porciani) Case Presentations:


- ‘​Museums, nationhood and the politics of legitimacy in Germany & Australia’ (Christian Wicke & Ben Wellings)


- ‘Legislated history at regional level: Ostdeutsche museums and Heimatstuben West Germany’ (Cornelia Eisler)

15h30­-16h00: ​Coffee break




Overview presentation: Archives, research centres and science policies (Trudy Peterson)


Case presentations:


- ‘Open archives to close the past: The case of the 2006 Bulgarian law to disclose secret service archives in the framework of European Union accession’​(Niké Wentholt)


- ‘Complexifying official history: The case of the Tadhana project’ (Rommel A. Curaming)

- ‘The Polish IPN’ (Idesbald Goddeeris)


- ‘State­sponsored history in East Asia’ (Remco Breuker, Sungjoon Bae, Minuk Nam & Aihua Li)




25 NOVEMBER 2015




Overview presentation: ‘Laws governing the free expression of historians in democracies’ (Antoon De Baets)


Case presentations:


- ‘Genocide ideology and sectarianism law in Rwanda’ (Pierro Sullo)


- ‘Constructing “official” history through law? The case of memory laws concerning colonialism in France’ (Stiina Loytomaki)


10h30-­10h45:​Coffee break




Case presentations:


- ‘History's watch by the European court of human rights’ (Pierre­Olivier De Broux)


- ‘Judicial history: History, memory and land claims litigation in the former British world, with a special focus on the Waitangi Tribunal in New Zealand’ (Giselle Byrnes)


- ‘A One sided coin: a legal account of the cypriot conflict’ (Nasia Hadjigeorgiou)


12h15-­13h15: ​Lunch break



Overview presentation: ‘Political apologies and “diplomatic” history’ (Azuolas Bagdonas)


Case presentations:


- ‘The politics of apologies and non­apologies in East Asia: Japan`s strategies to deal with its wartime past in Japanese­Chinese and Japanese­Korean diplomacy’ (Torsten Weber)


- ‘Settler Colonialism and State Apologies to Indigenous Peoples (case: Australia)’ ​(Francesca Dominello)

- ‘Robust: Canada's 2008 Apology for the Indian Residential Schools Policy’ (Matt James)


15h15-­15h30:​ Coffee break


15h30­-16h30: ​Concluding discussion

Informations pratiques

23-25 novembre 2015

KANTL, Koningstraat 18


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Centre de recherches en histoire du droit, des institutions et de la société