The role of the WW1 commemorations in the national mythmaking

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Archaeology

Abstract

The aim of the proposed research is to access the ways in which the commemoration of the WWI was used by forming, strengthening or transforming
the national myths for political aims and can be traced in the late 20th and early 21st-centuries Europe. WWI was a dramatic and politically defining
event in the history of the continent that still provides a springboard for the commemoration of later conflicts and shaping of national identities. The events of the centenary moved crowds in Western Europe, while the moderated celebration in Eastern Europe is also meaningful. The dissertation aims to reveal the differences of the national mythmaking derived from the WWI heritage in the traditional Western European democracies and the post-socialist countries. While the commemorations are integrated into existing national myths, they can also develop and transform these myths, since the traumatic experience of a war intensifies the nationalist feelings, which in turn encourages mythmaking. Therefore, the seemingly harmless, mournful or majestic practices of war commemorations carry the possibility of a misuse by the groups with extremist viewpoints. The examples of the comparison would come from the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic and Hungary, since they represent four different angles of the same war. The research will apply an interdisciplinary methodology on the heritage sites: discourse and content analyses, visual methods, geoinformatics and ethnographic research.

Publications

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Kocsis A (2019) Archaeology of Identity and Dissonance: Contexts for a Brave New World in Archaeological Review from Cambridge

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000738/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
1946655 Studentship ES/P000738/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2021 Andrea Kocsis
 
Title Review of WWI play 
Description I reviewed a play dealing with WWI memory. 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact A wider audience could have engaged with current models of WWI. 
URL https://thetab.com/uk/cambridge/2018/10/15/review-oh-what-a-lovely-war-114512
 
Description The memory of the WWI in Paris was controlled entirely by the political and military leadership, which intentionally tried to keep the narratives of a "real war" (loss, suffer, injury) or power challenging narratives (pacifism, communism, etc.) away from the capital in order not to cause more instability in this politically really responsive community. The impact of this pattern is clearly visible on the Parisian cityscape and memorialscape. It resulted in commemorative places created for commanders and state leaders within the city, and dismissed the counter-memories of the bereaved or veterans. These commemorative places were strategically located in the city forming a military axis within the capital, and this axis touched on different memory districts articulating around the allied relations and preceding conflicts.
Exploitation Route The results are part of the MPhil in Heritage Studies curriculum at the University of Cambridge, in Paper G24:Special Topics in Heritage Studies.
Sectors Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description Giving lectures about my award topic
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact I was giving lectures to Mphil in Heritage Studies students at the University of Cambridge on my research award results and also on the model I have developed.
 
Description Senior Members' Scholarship
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Cambridge 
Department Wolfson College
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2020
 
Title Digital Humanities methods in WWI research 
Description During my research, I developed an interdisciplinary methodology to merge archive research, natural language processing and GIS research to discover the so far hidden narratives in the WWI memory. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact With this method, I discovered a so far hidden pattern in the spread of the WWI memorials in Paris which pointed out a so far overlooked intentional political action against specific memory groups during the interwar period. I have presented this method at the last Memory Studies Association Conference in Madrid in 2019. 
 
Description ESRC Internship at BT 
Organisation BT Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I am an ESRC intern at BT working on a project which aims to understand the spread of fake news on social media. During the six months of my internship, I am going to create a program that recognises the 5g misinformation on Twitter. The results and the software are planned to be presented at one of the IEEE Conferences.
Collaborator Contribution BT provides me with weekly consultations and training needs.
Impact It is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between computer sciences, media studies and social sciences.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Blogpost marking David Lowenthal's death 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I made the official comment of my Department on the passing of the founder of our research field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.heritage.arch.cam.ac.uk/publications/spotlight-on/Lowenthal
 
Description Cambridge Heritage Research Centre Bulletin 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I am the editor of the newsletter of my Research Centre in which I have published some summaries of my own research, as well as, update the people interested in our work about the latest news in the field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019,2020
URL https://www.heritage.arch.cam.ac.uk/publications/bulletin
 
Description Institutional blog post: Interpreting the site of a 700 years old massacre 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Blogging about heritage-related topics drove the attention to sensitive issues related to frequently visited touristic sites.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.heritage.arch.cam.ac.uk/publications/spotlight-on/spotlight-on-clifford-tower
 
Description Interview for my former University media 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact I gave an interview about my research to the media of my former University in Hungary
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://media.elte.hu/blog/2018/05/29/egyszerre-gondolkodom-tortenelmen-regeszeten-es-median-interju...