The East-West Discourse: Symbolic Geography and Its Consequences

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Alexander Maxwell
Peter Lang, 2011 - History - 229 pages
Political actors from many different countries locate their home country as a unique transition point between «the East» and «the West». The terms «east» and «west» have become highly symbolic, yet also have a relative meaning, since every place is east of somewhere, and west of somewhere else. What gives this banal cliché such irresistible attraction? How does East-West symbolism interact with other symbolic geographies? This book examines East-West rhetoric in several different historical contexts, seeking to problematize its implicit assumptions and analyse its consequences, particularly in parts of Europe where political actors conflate local geography with symbolic «Easts» and «Wests».
The various contributions to the book provide an overview of East-West discourses in scholarly writing; trace the medieval origins of European East-West symbolism; and discuss East-West discourses in nineteenth-century Germany, interwar Poland, Yugoslavia and Transylvania, twentieth-century Finland, Turkey in the late Cold War and post-Communist Belarus.
 

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Contents

ALEXANDER MAXWELL
1
GLYN PARRY
29
viii
31
FLORIAN GASSNER
51
ANDREW KIER WISE
73
VESNA DRAPAC
93
SACHA DAVIS
127
CHRISTOPHER BROWNING AND MARKO LEHTI
155
NELLY BEKUS
191
Notes on Contributors
213
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Alexander Maxwell completed his PhD in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2007, he joined the history programme at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, where he directs the Antipodean East European Study Group. He is the author of Choosing Slovakia: Slavic Hungary, the Czechoslovak Language and Accidental Nationalism, and has translated into English Jan Kollár's Wechselseitigkeit. He has also published several articles on Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Pan-Slavism, nationalism, linguistic politics and history pedagogy.

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