The Remarkable Rise of ‘Law and Historical Memory’ in Europe: Theorizing Trends and Prospects in the Recent Literature
Journal of Law and Society, 47 (2), 2020. 325-338.
14 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2020 Last revised: 23 Jun 2020
Date Written: April 29, 2020
The article reviews the latest literature on law and historical memory and concludes that this area has significantly risen in prominence within recent law and society studies in Europe. This literature has focused on ‘memory laws’ – that is, various legal modes by which states regulate historical memory – and the role of the legal profession in shaping our historical understandings. The blossoming of this scholarship has paralleled the decay of democracy in Europe (emblematic for the recent literature on memory laws in Central and Eastern Europe), the renewed topicality of the European Nazi and communist past (as will be demonstrated through a detailed analysis of two books on the Czechoslovak experience), and the re-emerged interest in the legal framing of Holocaust denialism in comparison to other mass atrocities (the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, the European colonial past, and so on). The authors unpack tendencies and prospects emerging within this scholarship on law and historical memory.
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