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Humanities 2018, 7(4), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040113

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

Department of Geography, Media and Communication, Karlstad University, 651 88 Karlstad, Sweden
Received: 14 September 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
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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, mainly British documentary films about the North Africa Campaign, but also feature films and novels, and data from qualitative interviews collected during ethnographic fieldwork in Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt, during visits 2013–2015. The study highlights the considerable differences between the British and Egyptian narratives, but also the 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Second World War; North Africa Campaign; Egypt; cosmopolitanism; imperial nostalgia; colonial nostalgia; collective memory Second World War; North Africa Campaign; Egypt; cosmopolitanism; imperial nostalgia; colonial nostalgia; collective memory
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Kingsepp, E. The Second World War, Imperial, and Colonial Nostalgia: The North Africa Campaign and Battlefields of Memory. Humanities 2018, 7, 113.

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