Veronika Pehe: Velvet Retro. Postsocialist Nostalgia and the Politics of Heroism in Czech Popular Culture

Veronika Pehe
Velvet Retro
Postsocialist Nostalgia and the Politics of Heroism in Czech Popular Culture
190 pages, 8 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-628-9
Published February 2020

Scholars of state socialism have frequently invoked “nostalgia” to identify an uncritical longing for the utopian ambitions and lived experience of the former Eastern Bloc. However, this concept seems insufficient to describe memory cultures in the Czech Republic and other contexts in which a “retro” fascination with the past has proven compatible with a steadfast critique of the state socialist era. This innovative study locates a distinctively retro aesthetic in Czech literature, film, and other cultural forms, enriching our understanding of not only the nation’s memory culture, but also the ways in which popular culture can structure collective memory.


List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Returning to the Past
Chapter 1. Painting the Past Black and White: Czech Anticommunism after 1989
Chapter 2. The Past as Comedy: Representing Socialism in the 1990s
Chapter 3. The Late 1990s: Contesting the Past through Popular Culture
Chapter 4. Petty Heroism: Nostalgia for Resistance
Chapter 5. The Politics and Aesthetics of Retro
Chapter 6. Changing Memory Landscapes in the 2000s
Conclusion: Socialism Remembered





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