Panel 2: Political Nostalgia

The second panel explored the possible political implications and triggers for nostalgia from various, differing perspectives. It was kicked of by PATRICIA LORCIN on “Memory and Nostalgia in the Post-Colonial Context”. LORCIN differentiated between imperial and colonial nostalgia, the second of which she studied for both French and British societies by drawing on the Pieds-Noirs and the Falklands War respectively.

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MANCA G. RENKO’s paper “Welcome to the Hotel Nostalgia” explored the nostalgia for the Habsburg empire in the writings of authors like Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth and Karl Kraus, who had experienced it themselves and mourned its fall and its recent representation in Jonathan Franzen’s The Kraus Project and Wes Anderson’s film The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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In the only paper to tackle the role of music in nostalgia ROGÉRIO MIGUEL PUGA looked at the “Myth of Saudade” and its representation in, for instance, Fado. In the nineteenth and twentieth century Saudade was seen as a marker of lusphone uniqueness. A word that was seen as untranslateable described an emotion that was said to exist nowhere else and thus was used to construct a national identity.

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The following paper “Nostalgia for West Germany: Rationalising the Emergence of Westalgie” by OWEN MOLLOY looked at the still rather new phenomenon of a yearning for the old German Federal Republic. Taking his cue from a recent exhibition on West Berlin and the West Berlin tourism more generally, Molloy saw the better known Ostalgie in the process of being replaced (or rather augmented) by Westalgie.

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