Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

The Second World War, Imperial and Colonial Nostalgia: The North Africa Campaign and Battlefields of Memory

Version 1 : Received: 14 September 2018 / Approved: 14 September 2018 / Online: 14 September 2018 (11:35:59 CEST)

How to cite: Kingsepp, E. The Second World War, Imperial and Colonial Nostalgia: The North Africa Campaign and Battlefields of Memory. Preprints 2018, 2018090263 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201809.0263.v1). Kingsepp, E. The Second World War, Imperial and Colonial Nostalgia: The North Africa Campaign and Battlefields of Memory. Preprints 2018, 2018090263 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201809.0263.v1).

Abstract

The article addresses the function of (post)colonial nostalgia in a context of multidirectional memory (Rothberg 2009) in contemporary Europe. How can different cultural memories of the Second Word War be put into respectful dialogue with each other? The text is based on a contrapuntal reading (Said 1994) of British and Egyptian popular narratives, using a qualitative content analysis of 10 British tv documentary films about the North Africa Campaign, and data from qualitative interviews collected during ethnographic fieldwork in Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt, during visits 2013--2015. The study highlights considerable differences between the British and Egyptian narratives, but also significant similarities regarding the use and function of nostalgia. In addition, the Egyptian narrative expresses a profound cosmopolitan nostalgia and a longing for what is regarded as Egypt’s lost, modern Golden Age, identified as the decades before the nation’s fundamental change from western-oriented monarchy to Nasser’s Arab nationalist military state. The common elements between the two national narratives indicate a possibly fruitful way to open up for a shared popular memory culture about the war years, including postcolonial aspects.

Subject Areas

Second World War; North Africa Campaign; Egypt; Cosmopolitanism; Imperial nostalgia; Colonial nostalgia; Collective memory

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