Nicholas Parkinson: Gloria Victis: Monuments to Lost Causes from the 19th Century to Today
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This research project addresses the challenge that nationalist memory politics has posed to European and American societies in recent history by studying the construction of Gloria Victis monuments (Latin for “Glory to the Defeated”). Rooted in 19th-century nationalist historiography, Gloria Victis monuments were erected to venerate Lost Causes such as failed revolutions and ceded territories, and can be found in countries including Serbia, Denmark, France, Romania, Poland, South Africa, Hungary, and the USA. Today, Gloria Victis has reemerged as a powerful symbol in Eastern Europe’s post-Soviet memory wars, especially within the propaganda of the populist Right. In 2006, future-PM Viktor Orbán of Hungary’s right-wing Fidesz party officiated the unveiling of Csömör’s monument to the international victims of Communism, Gloria Victis. This project therefore aims to trace the history of Gloria Victis symbols in public spaces as a means of better understanding the problem of nationalist pseudo-histories and Lost Cause narratives in cultural memory today.
Nicholas Parkinson is a Novo Nordisk Mads Øvlisen Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek whose research examines artistic exchanges between France and Denmark in the late nineteenth century, with a focus on the power of politics and institutions on shaping art historical knowledge.