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Berghahn Monographs in French Studies
National Policy, Global Memory
The Commemoration of the “Righteous” from Jerusalem to Paris, 1942-2007
Translated by Katharine Throssell
228 pages, 2 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78533-254-8 $90.00/£64.00 Hb Published (July 2016)
eISBN 978-1-78533-255-5 eBook
“This is a rich book--thickly documented, creative in selecting its object of inquiry--and challenges instrumental concepts of the uses of memory implicit in the accusations leveled by those who denounce ‘victim competition’… Gensburger’s aim is to explain public policy, and that she does in an eye-opening fashion. The problems she raises are timely and interesting, and her empirical rejection of the “interest group” argument is convincing.” · H-France Review
“In this rich and personal book, Sarah Gensburger traces the genesis of a category, its issues, and the implementation of the ‘public policy of memory’ that accompanied it.” · Le Monde
Since 1963, the state of Israel has awarded the title of “Righteous among the Nations” to individuals who risked their lives sheltering Jews during the Holocaust. This distinction remained solely an Israeli initiative until the late 1990s, when European governments began developing their own national categories, the most prominent of which was the “Righteous of France,” honoring those who protected Jews during the Vichy regime. In National Policy, Global Memory, Sarah Gensburger uses this dramatic episode to lend a new perspective to debates over memory and nationhood. In particular, she works to combine two often divergent disciplines—memory studies and political science—to study “memory politics” as a form of public policy.
Trained in the social sciences, Sarah Gensburger is a sociologist of memory and a historian of the Holocaust. She is currently a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS-ISP) and the author of Witnessing the Robbing of the Jews (Indiana University Press, 2015), co-author of Nazi Labor Camps in Paris (Berghahn Books, 2011) and co-editor of Resisting Genocides: The Multiple Forms of Rescue (Columbia University Press, 2011).
Katharine Throssell is an associate researcher in sociology at the French National Center for Scientific Research and a freelance translator. She obtained a PhD in political science from Sciences Po Paris and is the author of Child and Nation: A Study of Political Socialisation and Banal Nationalism in France and England (Peter Lang, 2015).
Subject: Postwar History Genocide Studies
Introduction: From “The Righteous among Nations” to the “‘Righteous of France”
Chapter 1. Memory as an Instrument of Foreign Policy?
Chapter 2. Memory Entrepreneurs and the French Space
Chapter 3. Memory Public Policy and Transfers
Chapter 4. The National Day as a Public Policy Instrument
Chapter 5. Social Norms and Memorial Categories
Chapter 6. Memory Policy and Institutions
Epilogue: The “Righteous of France” in the Pantheon
Appendix A: Methodology and Corpus
Appendix B: Detailed References of Official Texts
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