Victimhood Nationalism in the Transnational Memory Space
‘Victimhood nationalism’ is a working hypothesis to explicate competing national memories over the historical position of victims in coming to terms with the past. The hereditary memory of victimhood consolidates the national solidarity beyond generations and justifies nationalism by endowing the victimized nation with the moral sympathy and historical authenticity. Without a reflection on victimhood nationalism, the postwar Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung (‘coming to terms with the past’) cannot be properly grasped. Victimhood nationalism is intrinsically transnational since victims are unthinkable without victimizers. The transnationality of victimhood nationalism demands a histoire croisée to comprehend the entangled past of the victimized and victimizers. A transnational history of ‘coming to terms with the past’ would show that the vicious circle of victimhood nationalisms, based on the antagonistic complicity of nationalisms between the victimizers and victims, has been a rock to any historical reconciliation effort. The talk will focus on a transnational history of victimhood nationalism in Korea, Poland, and Israel with Japan and Germany as counterparts.