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Rosenfeld, Gavriel D. “The rise of illiberal memory.” Memory Studies (2021): 1750698020988771.


The essay seeks to explain how and why rightwing populists in Europe, North America, and beyond have developed an “illiberal” politics of memory in opposition to the global liberal memory culture of the past generation. After explaining the rise of “illiberal memory” as a byproduct of the rise of illiberal democracy since 2008, the essay advances a comprehensive typology of the movement’s overall objectives and tactics based on numerous empirical examples from different nations, including Germany, Russia, the United States, Israel, and India. It concludes with some reflections about how illiberal memory is likely to evolve in the future. The essay is the first to advance the concept of “illiberal memory” and present an overall theory of its origins and agenda.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.