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Politics and Cultures of Liberation

Media, Memory, and Projections of Democracy

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Edited by Frank Mehring, Hans Bak and Mathilde Roza

Politics and Cultures of Liberation: Media, Memory, and Projections of Democracy focuses on mapping, analyzing, and evaluating memories, rituals, and artistic responses to the theme of “liberation.” How is the national framed within a dynamic system of intercultural contact zones highlighting often competing agendas of remembrance? How does the production, (re)mediation, and framing of narratives within different social, territorial, and political environments determine the cultural memory of liberation? The articles compiled in this volume seek to provide new interdisciplinary and intercultural perspectives on the politics and cultures of liberation by examining commemorative practices, artistic responses, and audio-visual media that lend themselves for transnational exploration. They offer a wide range of diverse intercultural perspectives on media, memory, liberation, (self)Americanization, and conceptualizations of democracy from the war years, through the Cold War era to the 21st century.

Ports, Piracy and Maritime War

Piracy in the English Channel and the Atlantic, c. 1280-c. 1330

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Thomas Heebøll-Holm

In Ports, Piracy, and Maritime War Thomas K. Heebøll-Holm presents a study of maritime predation in English and French waters around the year 1300. Following Cicero, pirates have traditionally been cast as especially depraved robbers and the enemy of all, but Heebøll-Holm shows that piracy was often part of private wars between English, French, and Gascon ports and mariners, occupying a liminal space between crime and warfare. Furthermore he shows how piracy was an integral part of maritime commerce and how the adjudication of piracy followed the legal procedure of the march. Heebøll-Holm convincingly demonstrates how piracy influenced the policies of the English and the French kings and he contributes to our understanding of Anglo-French relations on the eve of the Hundred Years’ War.

C. (Kees) van Dijk

World War I had just broken out, but colonial authorities in the Netherlands Indies heaved a sigh of relief: The colonial export sector had not collapsed and war offered new economic prospects; representatives from the Islamic nationalist movement had prayed for God to bless the Netherlands but had not seized upon the occasion to incite unrest. Furthermore, the colonial government, impressed by such shows of loyalty, embarked upon a campaign to create a ‘native militia’, an army of Javanese to assist in repulsing a possible Japanese invasion.
Yet there were other problems: pilgrims stranded in Mecca, the pro-German disposition of most Indonesian Muslims because of the involvement of Turkey in the war, and above all the status of the Netherlands Indies as a smuggling station used by Indian revolutionaries and German agents to subvert British rule in Asia.
By 1917 the optimism of the first war years had disappeared. Trade restrictions, the war at sea, and a worldwide lack of tonnage caused export opportunities to dwindle. Communist propaganda had radicalized the nationalist movement. In 1918 it seemed that the colony might cave in. Exports had ceased. Famine was a very real danger. There was increasing unrest within the colonial population and the army and navy. Colonial authorities turned to the nationalist movement for help, offering them drastic political concessions, forgotten as soon as the war ended. The political and economic independence gained by the Netherlands Indies, a result of problems in communications with the mother country, was also lost with the end of the war.
Kees van Dijk examines how in 1917 the atmosphere of optimism in the Netherlands Indies changed to one of unrest and dissatisfaction, and how after World War I the situation stabilized to resemble pre-war political and economic circumstances
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