A Remembrance of Things Not Actually Past
In this week’s episode of Horns of a Dilemma, Katie Stallard, a journalist and scholar, speaks about her book, Dancing on Bones: History and Power in China, Russia, and North Korea. Stallard details how totalitarian regimes use a doctored version of history–especially history regarding World War II–to forcibly shape public remembrance in a way that reinforces the goals of the regime. This effort to rewrite history ranges from the careful omission of facts surrounding Soviet atrocities to an entirely fictionalized account of Kim Jong Il’s exploits during the war. Stallard’s fascinating study helps illuminate how the control of history can be a critical instrument of power, and provide a potent means to bolster the legitimacy of even the most horrific actions by a totalitarian leader. This talk was recorded at the University of Texas, Austin.