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Iconoclasm – Academia Europaea Iconoclasm – Academia Europaea
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ICONOCLASM: PAST & PRESENT ISSUES 4 – 6 October 2021, Wrocław, Poland

Given the confusion still prevalent all over Europe concerning the COVID 19 pandemic, the frustrating slowness of the vaccination campaign in many countries and the uncertainties concerning international travel, the History & Archaeology Section, in agreement with the Academia Europaea authorities and with the Wrocław Hub staff, two times postponed the conference on «Iconoclasm», initially scheduled for October 2020. This delay of one full year has, nonetheless, allowed us to assemble an exceptional panel of participant speakers. 

Photo by: fattah_artwork

Background and rationale

Why is iconoclasm such a recurring phenomenon?

Since Ancient times, iconoclasm, the destruction of images or monum ents for religious or political reasons, has been a recurring phenomenon throughout the world. From Egypt to China or India; in the Christian, Muslim or Judaic traditions: iconoclasm has been the pretext for destruction, to erase unwanted objects of worship and, at the same time, to reassess the principles of conceptual belief. But iconoclasm has also been the manifestation of a recurring damnatio memoriae, the ancient Roman practice of official obliteration of the memory of a specific individual or event. The current negative trend of « political correctedness », political fracturing and manifestations such as ‘no platforming’, ‘historical re-interpretation and educational exclusions’, has given a new dimension to such a practice and an urgency in undertaking an in depth systematic and scholarly analysis of these issues in a modern post-colonial and post « authoritarian » European societal context.

Scope and development

This first conference, to be held in Wrocław (Poland) between October 5 and October 7, 2020, intends to analyse iconoclasm from a decidedly interdisciplinary perspective, with interventions from historians and archaeologists, as well as from specialists in art, literature, political science, classical studies, theology or philosophy. Our intention is to involve most – if not all – of the sections in Classes 1 and 2 of the Academia Europaea and YAE. The event, if successful, will be further developed into a major project theme of the AE and could contribute in defining the position of the Academia Europaea on the subject. The intention will be to widen the scope of analysis and broaden the interdisciplinary participants. The first outputs should also constitute a special ‘open access’ issue of the European Review. This will be a test event to gauge the potential scope for a future series. The subsequent series will – hopefully – be developed to include other AE Hubs, and especially the new Regional Knowledge Hub, launched recently by the AE at Tbilisi in Georgia. Their unique contexts, and issues deriving from the Caucasus region of Europe will be a valuable input. This event and the subsequent series will also then provide us with a means by which the AE can help with the process of capacity building and integration of the Caucasus academic community into our wider European scholarship family.


The event is sponsored by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.



The process of collecting proposals is closed.
The Call for papers is available here.


The conference is live-streamed via You Tube.

The event is open to the public without registration.



Université de Paris Nanterre



Nikita Harwich is a specialist in Latin American economic history, Latin American history of ideas and Latin American historiography. Emeritus Professor of Latin American History and Civilization, Université de Paris Nanterre, Nanterre, and former fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, he is currently Section Chair of the Academia Europaea History & Archaology Section. Among his numerous publications the following recent ones can be mentioned : « Barcelona beyond the Seas. A Catalan Enclave in Colonial Venezuela », European Review, Volume 25, Issue 1 Cambridge, February 2017, pp. 69-80 ; « Las guerras de Independencia en Ocumare de la Costa. Continuidad y cambios estructurales : 1800 – 1830 », Boletín de la Academia Nacional de la Historia, n° 393 (Caracas, 2017), pp. 29 – 56 ; Historia del chocolate (Barcelona : Ediciones Pensódromo, 2018), 338 p ; « Turmoil in the Cocoa Groves : Slave Revolts in Ocumare de la Costa, Venezuela, 1837 and 1845 », in : Lawrence Aje & Catherine Armstrong (eds.), The Many Faces of Slavery. New Perspectives on Slave Ownership and Experiences in the Americas (London : Bloomsbury Academic, 2020); «’Enrique Morton de Keratry’ y el ‘Dios y Federación’. Origen y permanencia de una Mitología Nacional », Revista Montalbán, N°. 56 (Caracas, UCAB, Semestre Julio – Diciembre 2020), pp. 465-505.



University of Leiden

The Netherlands


Pieter Emmer is Professor Emeritus in the History of the Expansion of Europe and Related Migration Movements at the History Department of the University of Leiden. Visiting fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge (UK), the Wissenschaftskolleg (Berlin) and the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies. He served as visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin (1986-87) and at the University of Hamburg, Germany. His recent publications include: The Dutch Slave Trade, 1500–1850. European Expansion and Global Interaction (Oxford and New York, NY: Berghahn Books, 2006) and The Dutch in the Atlantic Economy, 1580-1880. Trade, Slavery, and Emancipation (Aldershot,Variorum, 1998). Together with Klaus Bade, Jochen Oltmer and Leo Lucassen, he wrote and edited The Encyclopedia of European Migration and Minorities. From the 17th Century to the Present (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010


Katarzyna Majkowska

Academia Europaea Knowledge Hub Wrocław


majkowska [at] acadeuro.wroclaw.pl

Katarzyna Majkowska studied Polish Philology (MA) at the University of Wrocław. She finished Postgraduate Studies in Event Management at the Wrocław School of Banking. Since March 2011 she has been working in Convention Bureau Wrocław, and from December 2011 works at the Academia Europaea Knowledge Hub Wrocław.




Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub



Joanna Szymkiewicz-Tarka studied Polish Philology, Publishing and Marketing and Teaching (MA) at the University of Wrocław. She finished Postgraduate Studies in Journalism and Public Relations and also Postgraduate Studies in Project Management. She earned A. A. S degree in Business Administration from Southwestern Community College in NC, USA where she was working as the Academic Tutor. Since March 2009 she has been working for the Municipality of Wroclaw carrying out different projects concerning higher education area and labor market, since May 2021 working in Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub.




Professor Emeritus, University of Amsterdam; European University Institute (Florence), Member of Academia Europaea – Law Section

The Netherlands


Hans Ulrich Jessurun d’Oliveira specializes in private international law, nationality law and immigration rights. Professor Emeritus from the University of Amsterdam and the European University Institute in Florence. He has several hundred academic publications to his name, has edited a number of literary journals (Propria Cures, Tirade and Merlyn) and, between 1975 and 2003, he was editor of the Dutch weekly periodical for the legal profession, the Nederlands Juristedblad. He frequently publishes opinion columns and editorials
in the daily and weekly dutch press.

Damnatio Memoriae and Iconoclasm: new ideologies and overturning existing legal orders

After spending a few paragraphs on damnatio memoriae (street names in Breslau/Wrocław and in Amsterdam) I intend, being a lawyer, to focus on revolutionary changes in existing legal orders by new state powers with strongly different views on society and State. I will take as example the dramatic changes in the legal order of the Weimar Republic by the NSDAP. I describe the instruments, both in terms of personnel and organisation for the introduction of nazi lore. In some detail, central elements of the legal perversions are highlighted: unbegrenzte Auslegung in civil law, (racial elements introduced) and in criminal law the abolition of the prohibition on analogous interpretation of the Criminal Code.

Then I intend to spend a paragraph on the aftermatch, the not so new start of the Bundesrepublik. Are there remnants of the overthrown legal system and its organisational structures? Furthermore mention is made of similar revolutionary inroads into an existing legal order: examples could be Poland, but also the sudden change in the former Eastern block states after 1989. Are there similar structural developments? Are there sediments of the previous regime?

Key words: legal order, legal systems, legal perversions, Eastern Europe, Germany



Professor, Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, Member of Academia Europaea – History & Archaeology Section



Helene Whittaker has mainly focused her research on Greek Bronze Age, in particular Mycenaean and Minoan religion, concentrating on the social and ideological aspects of religious beliefs and practice. In her book Religion and Society in the Middle Bronze Age and Early Mycenaean Periods (Cambridge University Press 2014), she reviews and discusses the evidence for religion in the Middle Helladic and early Mycenaean periods. A major premise is that religion should not be discussed in isolation from its social, political, and cultural context. She has also published on the Aegean in the wider European context during the Bronze Age, with a particular focus on the ways in which Aegean material and research are used in interpretations of material found in Scandinavia and central Europe.

Can we identify Iconoclasm in the Greek Bronze Age ?

“It was our delight to dash those proud faces to the ground, to smite them with the sword and savage them with the if blood and agony could follow from every blow. Our transports of joy—so long deferred—were unrestrained; all sought a form of vengeance in beholding those bodies mutilated, limbs hacked in pieces, and finally that baleful, fearsome visage cast into fire, to be melted down, so that from such menacing terror something for man’s use and enjoyment should rise out of the flames.” (Panegyric 52,4, Loeb translation).
Pliny’s account of the destruction of the statues of the emperor Domitian is perhaps the most vivid description of iconoclasm in antiquity. Although it concerns a particular historical context, in its description of the emotions and actions involved it has a wider relevance.
Artefacts that had seemingly been deliberately broken are not uncommonly found in significant contexts from other periods of Antiquity, for which iconoclasm would seem a reasonable hypothesis. A chryselephantine statue, which was found in an open space near a sanctuary building in the town of Palaikastro in eastern Crete, is an illustrative example from the Greek Bronze Age. The statue, which dates to the first half of the fifteenth century BC and is known as the Palaikastro Kouros, had been deliberately broken by being violently thrown to the ground. It seems to have suffered a very similar fate to the statues of Domitian described by Pliny. That its destruction was an extraordinary act which arguably was a response to particular political and/or religious circumstances is plausible, also because this was a time of unrest
on Crete.
In this paper I present several examples of the deliberate destruction of artefacts and monuments from different periods of the Greek Bronze Age and discuss if and how we can understand them as examples of iconoclasm.

Key words: Greece, prehistory, statues, monuments, archaeology



Professor of Medieval Latin and Humanistic Literature, University of Siena-Arezzo, Member of Academia Europaea - Literary and Theatrical Studies Section



Francesco Stella is a specialist in Medieval Latin literature, translation studies, digital philology and comparative literature. His recent publications include: «Metodi e prospettive dell’edizione digitale di testi mediolatini», Filologia Mediolatina, vol. XIV(2007), p. 149- 180;
the translation and critical edition of Einhard’s Translatio sanctorum Marcellini et Petri, Ospedaletto: Pacini Editore, 2009; «Riscritture ritmiche di agiografie merovinge in età carolingia», in: L’hagiographie mérovingienne à travers ses réécritures, JanThorbecke Verlag, 2010; «Riscritture e riletture bibliche: funzione della poesia esegetica e tipologie dei testi», in: Vaious authors, Scrivere e leggere nell’alto medioevo. Spoleto, 28 aprile – 4 maggio 2011,vol. 59, Cisam, 2012.

The carolingian answer to the iconoclastic war and the birth of the Western Art

After a long quarrel scattered with persecutions, uprisings, dismissals and replacements of religious authorities, deaths, military expeditions, confiscations and attempts of assassinations in Greece, Italy and other European areas, the Council of Nicaea in 787 imposed the victory of the iconodules in the Byzantine Empire.
The West, and especially the Kingdom of the Franks and the Lombards ruled by Charles, later called the Great, tried to take an official position in the synod of Frankfurt in 794 and in an odd and complex treatise in four books entitled Opus Caroli, or Libri Carolini, recently
attributed by Ann Freeman to Theodulf of Orléans, one of the greatest intellectuals of that time.
In this work, which we could call the first western treatise on images, the icon is freed from its ritual and cult value, and returned to its artistic use, thus determining, according to some scholars, the larger freedom of figurative representation that characterizes western religious art compared to the Orthodox one. This stance is followed by a lively debate, involving many authors, the materials of which have not yet been translated and put into full circulation in historical-artistic research.

Key words: Council of Nicaea, Opus Caroli, ritual, cult value



Professor Emeritus of Medieval History, University of Bergen Member of Academia Europaea – History & Archaeology Section



Sverre Håkon Bagge is Professor Emeritus of Medieval history at Bergen University. His recent publications include: «Warrior,King and Saint: The Medieval Histories about St. Olafr Haraldsson», Journal of English and Germanic Philology 109.3 (2010), pp. 281-321; From Viking Stronghold to Christian Kingdom. State Formation in Norway, c.900-1350(København: Museum Tusculanum Forlag, 2010); «Ethics, Politics, and Providence in William of Malmesbury’s Historia Novella», Viator 41 (2010), pp.113-32; «The Model Emperor – Eginhard’s Charlemagne in Widukind and Rahewin», Viator 43 (2012) Cross and Scepter: The Rise of the Scandinavian Kingdoms from the Vikings to the Reformation, 2014).

Iconoclasm and confessions in the early modern period

My point of departure is a conflict over images in the churches in Bergen in Norway in the 1560s, around thirty years after the Reformation. This introduced a brief period of iconoclasm in Denmark-Norway, inspired by Reformed theology. Soon, however, mainstream Lutheranism took over and statues and pictures were reintroduced.
The different views on images in the two Protestant confessions are of course well known, as are also the various theological arguments in the debate between them. More interesting is the practical question of how it was possible to manage without images when addressing a largely illiterate audience. Here Lutherans seemed to have basically the same attitude as Catholics, although they differed in the exact way the images were used. Both were “mass religions”, aiming at including the whole population and using the means necessary for this purpose. By contrast, Calvinism was an intellectual and elite religion, creating tight communities of true believers in accordance with the belief in Predestination. It has therefore been regarded as an important factor in modernisation theories, from Weber’s explanation of capitalism to later theories of the link between Reformed Protestantism and modern science.
Although there is little to indicate that pictures are an obstacle to science, the intellectual and elitist character of Reformed Protestantism may have contributed to the scientific revolution in the early modern period. Generally, the history of iconoclasm illustrates the fact
that images are a powerful medium, particularly when most people are illiterate, and that a religion that abstains from this medium is faced with the challenge of finding a replacement for it.

Key words: Lutheranism, modernisation theories, Bergen churches



Researcher, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona)



Xavier Narbón’s research interest centers on the cultural history of political persuasion strategies in the Modern Period. He is currently a member of the research group “Power & Representations. Cultural transfers in the Modern Age” [http://transferts.education].The project examines the role of culture in enhancing the cohesion of complex political systems. The rulers of the Spanish Monarchy, the case study selected, relied on Catholicism to legitimize their territorial possessions and unite territories often divided by a long history of disagreement. Iconoclastic fury in the Low Countries was the trigger for the main rebellion within their dominions.

Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas as another iconoclastic way

There are other forms of iconoclasm besides the destruction of idols. For example, an iconoclast can be considered one who, instead of eliminating a deified image, reveals the trick of a magician. The manipulator distracts attention with the gesture of one hand while the other
acts. This action affects everyone when it is driven by political-economic power.
The aim of Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas (1924-1929) is to finish with the magic, to reveal the hidden plot that seeks to dominate society. His first panel already announces this: at the top, a map of the zodiac constellations; in the middle, Europe; and below, a genealogical tree of the Medici-Tornabuoni banking family. The Renaissance elites accumulate wealth and influence because it is dictated by the stars from birth, an illusion they display on the roofs of their palaces, in the same way that a war is justified by a prophecy. Warburg treats the image as a snake which can both heal with its medicinal poison or kill with its bite or constriction. His research shows the persuasive power of political speeches intended to arouse emotions. Power fosters the splendour of triumph whose visual ecstasy is designed to inspire the military spirit. And at the same time, religious ritual is offered as a palliative to fear of suffering or death. It is no coincidence that the image of pathos dominates the entire Atlas and ends with an extreme unction.
This paper aims to explain the dual role of image: as both a weapon of propaganda and a device to reveal the truth. It shows two different montages: the persuasive one, controlled by people in power through the ages, which is dismantled by the other, the photographic Warburg’s Atlas. A mirror broken into fragments, therefore, breaks the mirage. A new iconoclastic way.

Key words: Iconology, Political emotions, Crowd manipulation, Montage, Aby Warburg



Professor Emeritus of South Slav Literatures and Cultures at the Institute of Slavic Studies, University of Vienna, Member of Academia Europaea - Literary & Theatrical Studies Section



Vladimir Biti is Visiting Professor at the School of International Studies, Zhejiang University and at the Institute of Arts and Humanities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He is a specialist in literary, cultural and narrative theory; modern South Slav literatures and cultures and
in post-imperial literatures. His recent publications include: Tracing Global Democracy: Literature, Theory and the Politics of Trauma, Berlin and Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2016,; Attached to Dispossession: Sacrificial Narratives in Post-imperial Europe, Leiden and New
York: Brill/Rodopi, 2017; “The Un/worlding of Letters”, Forum for World Literature Studies (Shanghai/Wuhan/West Lafayette Universities 4: 9 (December 2017), 558-582: “After Theory: Politics against the Police?”, Foreign Language and Literature Research 1/2018 (forthcoming).
51. Journal of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Philosophy and Social Sciences) 1: 26 (2018), 1-17.

(Anti)barbarous Empires: J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians

In the semi-autobiographical recounting of his youth experiences, in which he bespeaks his former self in the third person, the Nobel laureate John Maxwell Coetzee significantly remarks: “Destiny would not come to him in South Africa, he told himself; she would come…
only in London or Paris or perhaps Vienna, because only in the great cities of Europe does destiny reside.” (Youth, 281)
No wonder, the young man’s opinion appropriately reproduces his Empire’s dominant world view that only imperial centers are carriers of the historical progress of humanity, whereas imperial peripheries are far removed from this progress’s blessing. After all, the Dutch
Empire was established on the South African soil on the premise: this is the Dutch land, while all the others are outsiders and, by this very fact, deprived of their citizen rights.
Like the residents of European Empires’ peripheries who were relegated to similar zones of historical indistinction, South Africans were doomed to the twilight of legal illegality. In the imperial peripheries, historical destiny was replaced with the permanent state of exception,
as exemplified by the utterly contingent world of Kafka’s figures who are bereft of any ‘transcendental’ protection. This is why Señor C., Coetzee’s senior doppelganger in the Diary of a Bad Year (2007), makes a remark that holds for Kafka’s outsiders as well: “The security police could come in and out and blindfold and handcuff you without explaining why, and take you away to an unspecified site and do what they wanted to you.” (171) In my analysis of Waiting for the Barbarians, I will show how Coetzee, following Kafka, carefully “de-territorializes” such (anti)barbarian operations, uncoupling state of exception as their generator from all localizable geopolitical references.

Key words: J. M. Coetzee, South African apartheid, imperial peripheries



Professor, Russian State University for the Humanities – RGGU – (Moscow) and Higher School of Economics (Saint- Petersburg), Member of Academia Europaea - Literary & Theatrical Studies Section



Sergueï Nicolaïevitch Zenkin is a specialist in the theory of literature, particularly with regard to 19th and 20th century French literature. He has conducted important research on intellectual history, perticularly history of 20th-century theoretical ideas in the humanities. Recent publications include: Cinq lectures de Roland Barthes (in French), Paris, Classiques Garnier, 2017; Theory of Literature: Problems and Results (in Russian), Moscow, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2018 and La Forme et l’énergie: L’esthétique du formalisme russe (in French), Clermont-Ferrand, Presses universitaires Blaise-Pascal, 2018

Attempts on the image in literature

The 19th century European narrative literature repeatedly refers to deliberate destruction (or intentions, attempts to destroy) of artificial images. The old artist in Honoré de Balzac’s novella The Unknown Masterpiece burns his collection of art; the hero of Alexander Pushkin’s
poem The Bronze Horseman threatens the monument to the Emperor Peter the Great in St. Petersburg; the inhabitants of a French village in Prosper Merimée’s novella The Venus of Ille remelt the “evil” antique statue found in the soil; the painter in Nikolai Gogol’s novel The Portrait compulsively buys and destroys masterpieces of painting; another picture, in Émile Zola’s novel Work, is burned after the suicide of its author; the hero of Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray attempts to stab his own portrait, displaying his sins; in The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle, six busts of the French emperor are broken in turn, first by a thief, and finally by a detective.
Being destroyed or disappearing for some other reason are the recurrent destiny of intradiegetic images (material images included into a narrative text as its actors), and the attempts of their obliteration always constitute a highlighted, spectacular moment in the narrative, and not just an outward sign of someone’s inner feelings; they are typically presented as a sacrifice of “excessive” (magical, demonic) objects. In some cases, they are explained by a deviant behavior of the character (madness, delinquency), but the literary text is organized in order to make the reader sympathize with the experiences of that “iconoclast”, and mentally reproduce his acts. An analysis of texts should disclose the mechanism of this self-identification and put the stories about the attempts on the image into the general framework of the 19th century visual and literary culture.

Key words: Artificial images, destruction of images, literary culture



Senior Researcher, CSIC, Madrid. Member of Academia Europaea – History & Archaeology Section



Manuel Lucena Giraldo is Senior Researcher at the History Institute of the Madrid-based Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), within the research group of Compared Studies of the Caribbean and Atlantic World. His recent publications include: Historia de un cosmopolita. José María de Lanz y la Fundación de la Ingeniería de Caminos en España y América (Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos, 2005); A los cuatro vientos. Las ciudades de la América Hispánica (Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia, S. A., 2006); Naciones de rebeldes. Las revoluciones de independencia latinoamericanas (Taurus, 2010), selected the The Times Literary Supplement as one of the best essays for the year 2010; Francisco de Miranda: la aventura de la política (Editorial Edaf, S. L., 2011); Ruptura y reconciliación: España y el reconocimiento de las independencias latinoamericanas (Taurus, 2012); Las independencias iberoamericanas. Libertad para todos (Bonalletra-El País, 2017).

Killing the image of an evil king. Lope de Aguirre, Philip II and the last
conquerors of the Americas

What to do with violent people? After the so-called civil wars between Spanish conquistadors in Peru, ended by 1550, peace of spirits and fair compensation was announced. But not for everyone. A group of old and sick conquistadors, who arrived to the Americas decades before, young and full of hope, realized that after serving with devotion the emperor Charles V, his son Philip II was not going to offer them a fair and much-deserved – according to them – reward. On the contrary, the consolidation of the new viceroyalty in Peru in 1569 would divide conquest from colonization, setting apart conquistadores as a relic of the past. So they took the “last train” to El Dorado and, undoubtedly with the support of local Spanish authorities, prolonged their agony in unprepared and dangerous explorations of the Amazon.
Lope de Aguirre, the madman, el loco, sent a famous letter to Philip II in 1561, proclaiming that his loyalty was over and that he was not the king’s vassal any longer. In this paper, I will try to analize images and texts related to this «first rebel» of the newly-founded Americas. In the foundation of the kingdoms of the Indies, the image of a king-warrior with his sword, was destroyed to establish a new one: that of a king-bureaucrat behind his desk.

Key words: conquistadors, Lope de Aguirre, rebellion, regalism



Professor of Francophone Literatures at the University of Antwerp



Kathleen Gyssels is a specialist of Francophone Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Her research concerns various literatures, including Caribbean literature and culture; African-American literature and arts; and the Jewish Diaspora, working with
texts in French, English, Dutch, Spanish or German. Her research is focused on three main components: debalkanisation (Glissant), disenfranchising (the gendered subaltern) (Spivak), and recanonisation. Her recent publications include: Passes et impasses dans le
comparatisme postcolonial caribéen: cinq traverses, Paris: Honoré Champion, 2010; «Criticité: Édouard Glissant au mitan du système littéraire et critique antillais» in: Anthony Mangeo (Ed.), Postures postcoloniales.Domaines africains et antillais, Paris:Karthala, 2012; Marrane et marronne: la co-écriture réversible d’André et de Simone Schwarz-Bart, Amsterdam: Brill-Rodopi, 2014; «Introduction» in:Monique Blérald, Marc Lony and Kathleen Gyssels (Eds.) Léon-Gontran Damas: poète, écrivain patrimonial et postcolonial, Cayenne, Ibis Rouge Éditions, 2014.

Beheaded! From Joséphine de Beauharnais to Solitude: slave statues
and the slave monuments and museums in the French Antilles

The paper contributes to debates around slavery and slave museums taking as inspiration historical novels and archives from the Schwarz-Bart Library in Goyave (Guadeloupe). Suggesting that silences in the Memorial Act.e (new museum in Port-au-Prince), I question the
passing over of black or mulatto female heroins, in sharp contrast with béké figures who, even if they have been temporarily (!) beheaded, remain the most famous icons in the collective mind of the French Caribbean and Caribbean population at large.
In the course of a poll-carried out survey investigation, I could indeed measure that Martinicans, in particular, are proud to have «given Napoléon’s wife» and to have erected her beautiful body into white marble «posture» at the Savane de Fort-de-France. My survey touched
on the counter-example of «La mulâtresse Solitude», a statue erected in Guadeloupe, but without any indication of its source: the best selling novel La mulâtresse Solitude by André Schwarz-Bart. I study the strange «exotism» put in place in this local «statufication», while sculptor Nicolas Alquin (son of Pierre Alechinsky) erected his «Solitude» in Paris as a symbol of fierce resistance to this somewhat simplistic representation of the black Maroon, giving it a much more global and universalizing anticapitalist posture.
While new sculptures increasingly challenge the «silencing of the (slave) past» (Michel Ralph Trouillot), I would like to reconceptualize archival practices: what if the sculptor represented Solitude not pregnant, staring in the far distance but as a beheaded victim of slavery,
rape and torture ? Why Édouard Glissant’s project for a ‘Centre national pour la mémoire des esclavages et de leurs abolitions’ at no occasion mentions Solitude as the only female heroin such a Centre national or Memorial Act.e should have staged ? What does this tell us about
the gender bias which continues to ravage the Antilles in all domains?
If Joséphine de Beauharnais did not leave an imprint on literary writings (Pauline Bonaparte, on the other hand, does appear in El Siglo de las luces by Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier, as well as in works of art), Solitude remains a central, pivotal poteau mitan in Caribbean
iconography. In spite of successful innovations (Atelier de généalogie et d’histoires de familles antillaises – AGHFA, or the activist group CM98 and finally the inauguration, in 2012, of the Mémorial de l’abolition de l’esclavage in Nantes by a Jewish artist), there is still much to
sort out before leaving the dominant tendency to «statufier sur son sort» and promote male heroes instead of, for instance, Lumina (another heroic Martinican maroon who ended in the Transportation Camp of Guyane, in 1840).

Key words: slavery, slave museums, statues, representations



Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies, University of Bergen



Tonje Haugland Sørensen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Bergen. Sørensen is an art historian and film scholar, whose transdisciplinary work centers around the reception of history and cultural heritage. She has a particular focus on the nineteenth and twentieth century. Her postdoctoral research will take the form of a monograph tentatively named «Overview – the art of the aerial», and deals with the ideas of the aerial and aerial perspective in the early modern to contemporary western society.

Destruction of a sacrosanct past – iconoclasm in the World Wars

In 1942 the Luftwaffe launched a series of bombing raids against English cities. What distinguished these raids from the overall bombing war was summed up in their colloquial moniker: The Baedeker Raids. This name was used by both Allied and Axis forces, and had its origin in the raids focus on cultural targets selected from the Baedeker tourist guides. The targets selected, such as the cities of Exeter and Canterbury, had little to no military value, but contained instead sites of cultural heritage. It was these sites – designated by three stars in the Baedeker guide – which supposedly was the target for these series of raids. This presentation will use the story of the Baedeker raids as a starting point to reflect on the use of willful cultural destruction as an act of modern warfare, and ask if they can be used to expand our understanding of iconoclasm. Central in this reflection upon the interconnectedness of modern warfare and iconoclasm will be work by Dario Gamboni who,
in The Destruction of Art (1997), argues that any understanding of modern and contemporary iconoclasm must be contextualized via the redefinition of art and its autonomy which grew out of the Enlightenment.
In so doing I will open a two-fold reflection concerning iconoclasm as an act of war, while also reflecting if the very term «iconoclasm» is perhaps best understood as what Mieke Bal (2002) has called a «traveling concept». The latter will hopefully allow for a consideration
of iconoclasm through interdisciplinary cultural analysis, and as such enrich our understanding of the term and its practices in both historical and contemporary perspectives.

Key words: World War I, World War II, Cultural Heritage, Iconoclasm, Aerial bombing, Art History



Professor Emeritus, General Literary Theory and Slavic Literatures, University of Konstanz, Member of Academia Europaea – Literary and Theatrical Studies Section



Renate Lachmann is a specialist of Russian formalism, of structuralism, intertextuality and fantastic literature. Her publications include: Memory and Literature: Intertextuality in Russian Modernism, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997; Erzählte Phantastik:
zu Phantasiegeschichte und Semantik phantastischer Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2002; Renate Lachmann, Riccardo Nicolosi, Susanne Strätling (Eds.) Rhetorik als kulturelle Praxis München: W. Fink, 2008; Lager und Literatur: Zeugnisse des GULAG Konstanz: Konstanz
University Press, 2019.

The two iconoclasms in 20th century Russia

Two iconoclasms took place in the Russian history of the 20th century: the iconoclasm after the October revolution, and the iconoclasm after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. These two (ideologically opposite) phases of iconoclastic actions (dismantling, destruction) were incited by programs (Lenin’s decree concerning the abolition of tsarist monuments of 1918) and met by controversial reactions to the removal of the statues of Soviet politicians (neocommunists vs. Memorial) in the nineteen nineties.

Key words: Iconoclasm, iconodulism, damnatio memoriae



Professor of American History at the Facultad de Geografía of the Complutense University, Madrid, Member of Academia Europaea – History and Archaeology Section



Rosa-María Martínez de Codes is Professor of American history at the Facultad de Geografía e Historia of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She has worked on Ethnic and religious Minorities in Europe, defamation issues and incitement to religious hate, analysis of phobias and religious stereotypes, religions and secularity in the West. Her recent publications include: Tendencias secularizadoras en un mundo globalizado, Universidad Sergio Arboleda, Bogotá, Colombia, 2015; Trends of Secularism in a pluralistic World (coeditor) Ed. Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2013; Los bienes nacionales de origen religioso en México. Estudio histórico-jurídico. (1833-2004), Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, Universidad Autónoma de México, México, 2007; Rosa María Martínez de Codes and Jaime Contreras. “Hacia una historia Atlántica. Visiones religiosas compartidas”, Anuario de Estudios Americanos, Vol. 67, enero-junio, 2010, pp. 189-207.

Making up history: iconoclastic conceptions of historical memory

When the political needs of governments require the remodeling of the past in order to justify a specific present, the legislator and/or the executive sometimes manage to build up and implement a certain type of historical memory. Taking up the words of French historian Pierre Nora in his Appel de Blois: Liberté pour l’histoire (1998) manifesto: “In a free state it is not for any political authority to define historical truth and restrict the freedom of historians under criminal threats […] In democracy, freedom for history is the freedom of all”.
For more than 50 years, the speeches of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) found a wide market, not only in Colombian political and intelectual society, but also in the Ibero-American space and even in Europe. Such speeches were issued in the context of violence in which the armed group itself was the main protagonist. For this reason, they entailed a subjective radicalism, the first “values” of which refer, on the one hand, to populist pacifism and, on the other, to a strong perversion of History, disguised, as memory.
The institutionalization of an “official memory”, made from presentism and presentist issues, can be seen as an iconoclastic manifestation of history, understood – on the contrary – by scholars as a continuous record constantly rewritten and re-evaluated in the light of the
old and new evidence.
This is the case of the so-called Historical Memory Law enacted by the government of Spanish President José-Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on December 25th, 2007, which: “recognizes and expands the rights and establishes measures in favour of those who suffered persecution
and violence during the civil war and the Franco dictatorship”. The memory of the grandchildren of these casualties was enforced, thereby erasing the consensus that previous generations had drawn up.

Key words: History, historical memory, iconoclastic laws



Professor Emeritus of the Democritos University of Thrace (Komotini) and of the University of Strasburg, Member of Academia Europaea – Human Mobility, Governance, Environment and Space Section



Nikitas Aliprantis is a specialist in labour law relations, economic and political sociology, sociology of labour and theory of law. His recent publications include: Will the Twenty-First Century Be Illiberal? Subversive Sociological Developments with Historical Parameters Lambert
Academic Publishing, 2020, Les héritages cruciaux du XXe siècle aux sociétés d’aujourd’hui, Paris: l’Harmattan, 2017; Les droits sociaux dans les instruments européens et internationaux, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2009.

The barbarous obliteration of culture. A critical sociological study

Iconoclasm is a conceptual movement that prevailed during the Byzantine era (8th century) and concerned openly expressed opposition against the worship of icons. It materialized with the purpose of rejecting – if not obliterating through destruction – the viewing of any
religious image. This movement ended with a reinstatement of the icons, since, according to the Christian byzantine faith, icons, by merely reflecting real persons, were just objects inspiring respect.
Today’s attempts at re-establishing iconoclasm are based on the following premises: (1) the global levelling of humanity with the purpose of reducing and restraining it to mere biological and economic subjects without any perspective expanding further than this life, thus obliterating roots to cultural traditions; and (2) their connection with old-fashioned political ideologies, practices and arbitrary governance, which lead to a distortion and an undermining of democracy.
The trend to level and cancel the history of human culture can, above all, be thought of as an expression of a present-day peculiar form of nihilism and as an expression of a blinded religious fundamentalism. Today’s trend is definitely a cultural decadence, a mark of impoverishment and of man’s pulping and degradation through the loss of his bearings and of the deeper meaning of a life, gradually encaged within the narrow ring of man’s daily present.

Key words: narrow-mindedness, arbitrariness, blinkers, deceit, decadence



Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Northeastern University, Boston, Member of Academia Europaea – Musicology and Art History Section

United States


Xavier Costa-Guix is currently Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Northeastern University in Boston, where he served as Founding Dean of the College of Arts, Media and Design between 2010 and 2015. Prof. Costa is also a Visiting Researcher at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a Visiting Lecturer at the Metropolis Program, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Some of his main publications include: “Metaphorical Peripheries. Contemporary Architecture in Spain
and Portugal”. in: Elie G. Haddad and David Rifkin (Eds.) A Critical History of Contemporary Architecture, 1960-2010 (London: Ashgate, 2014). As editror: Ai Weiwei (Barcelona: Miesvan der Rohe Foundation, 2011); Coup de Dés. A Symposium on Housing and Public Space
(Barcelona: Mies van der Rohe Foundation, 2010).

Demolishing modernism: GDR and Neo-Prussian architecture in Berlin

This paper seeks to examine the significance of some recent architecture and urban demolitions in Berlin. As an example of present-day iconoclasm in the heart of Europe, the relevance of these cases lies not only in the destruction of politically-charged artifacts, but also in their replacement with replicas of 18th century architecture, thus materializing a Prussian revival and a nostalgia for the country’s royal past.
In 2006, Berlin initiated the demolition of the Palace of the Republic (Palast der Republik). This was an iconic late modernist structure in former East Berlin, completed in 1976 to a design by Heinz Graffunder, and conceived to house the parliament of the German Democratic
Republic. This demolition had followed others, such as that of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, a fine example of modern architecture destroyed in 1996. The Palast der Republik occupied the site of the original Berlin Palace, or Berliner Schloss, the residence of the Hohenzollern dynasty between 1701 and 1918. The Weimar constitution abolished the monarchy in 1919, and in 1950 the East German government decided to expropriate and demolish the palace, which had been severely damaged during the war.
The demolition of the Palast has been followed by the constructiobn of a replica of the 18th century Schloss, intended to house the new Humboldt Forum, a museum dedicated to non-Western art, that has triggered a political-colonial debate of its own, due to the contents
of its collections and programmed exhibits.
In recent years, both Berlin and neighbouring Potsdam have witnessed several integral reconstructions of historical buildings. The trend started in Potsdam, where the City Palace, also a Hohenzollern residence, the Garrison Church and the Barberini Quarter have been
carefully replicated. These architectural facsimiles have provoked substantial controversies given their historical significance. For instance, the Garrison Church is known to have staged the “Day of Potsdam” in 1933, when the National Socialists presented themselves as heirs
to the old elites’ glorious Prussian past.
“Should Germany Rebuild its Past?” This title from a recent Wall Street Journal article (28 December 2019) reflects to what extent the debate has superseded its European academic and political context to become a matter of wide public interest. This series of architecture demolitions and replicas therefore appear as a calculated and well-orchestrated operation to redefine the presence of the past through built artifacts, deserving to be examined from the broader perspective of iconoclastic precedents in art and architecture.

Key words: Berlin architecture, urban demolitions, reconstructions



Professor Emeritus of the History of the Expansion of Europe and Related Migration Movements at the History Department of the University of Leiden, Member of Academia Europaea – History and Archaeology Section

The Netherlands


Pieter Emmer is Professor Emeritus in the History of the Expansion of Europe and Related Migration Movements at the History Department of the University of Leiden. Visiting fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge (UK), the Wissenschaftskolleg (Berlin) and the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies. He served as visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin (1986-87) and at the University of Hamburg, Germany. His recent publications include: The Dutch Slave Trade, 1500–1850. European Expansion and Global Interaction (Oxford and New York, NY: Berghahn Books, 2006) and The Dutch in the Atlantic Economy, 1580-1880. Trade, Slavery, and Emancipation (Aldershot,Variorum, 1998). Together with Klaus Bade, Jochen Oltmer and Leo Lucassen, he wrote and edited The Encyclopedia of European Migration and Minorities. From the 17th Century to the Present (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010

How to cope with the uncomfortable past? Dutch colonialism and resistance

(by Pieter Emmer and Leonard Blussé)

For many decades the colonial expansion as well as the resistance against the German occupation have given rise to the creation of a number of colonial and resistance heroes, of a large number of street names, statues as well as specialised museums. Recently, both periods have come under critical scrutiny. The benefits of Dutch colonial rule now seem to pale in view of the long list of crimes against humanity such as slavery, the violence used to supress rebellions, and – in more recent times the Dutch war crimes during the war of decolonisation in the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia between 1945 and 1949.
The same volte-face occurred in the popular appreciation of the role of the Dutch during the German occupation. Rather than the heroic acts of resistance such as sabotage or sheltering Jews, it appeared that the number of Dutch resistance fighters was modest, while the number of collaborators as well as the percentage of murdered Jews were higher than in other occupied countries.
These changes in the appreciation of Dutch colonialism and the Dutch behaviour during the Occupation have put into question the many street names, statues, plaques, etc called after the heroes of Dutch colonial rule and the Resistance. What to do? Remove the statues and rename the streets? Or leave them and provide additional information on information boards? In addition, some of the (distant) relatives of some of the victims of the Dutch role in the decolonisation war as well as of the former slaves have formulated claims for compensation.Should the Dutch government pay up?

Key words: colonial expansion, Dutch colonialism, Dutch Resistance, historical myths



Professor Emeritus of the History of European-Asian Relations at the University of Leiden, Institute for History, Member of Academia Europaea - History and Archaeology Section

The Netherlands


Leonard Blussé is Professor Emeritus in the History of European-Asian Relations at the University of Leiden Institute for History. He is a specialist in Early Modern History of Southeast and East Asia; the History of Overseas Chinese and in Global History. His recent publications include: Visible Cities Canton, Nagasaki and Batavia and the Coming of the
Americans. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2008; Ryu to Mitsubachi, Chugokukai-eki no orandajin yonhyakunenshi, (The Dragon and the Honeybees, four hundred years of Dutch activities on the China Coast) transl. Fukami Sumio, Fujita Kayoko, Koike Makoto, Tokyo: Koyo Shobo, 2008; Bitter Bonds, A Colonial Divorce Drama of the Seventeenth Century. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers 2002.

How to cope with the uncomfortable past? Dutch colonialism and resistance

(by Pieter Emmer and Leonard Blussé)

For many decades the colonial expansion as well as the resistance against the German occupation have given rise to the creation of a number of colonial and resistance heroes, of a large number of street names, statues as well as specialised museums. Recently, both periods have come under critical scrutiny. The benefits of Dutch colonial rule now seem to pale in view of the long list of crimes against humanity such as slavery, the violence used to supress rebellions, and – in more recent times the Dutch war crimes during the war of decolonisation in the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia between 1945 and 1949.
The same volte-face occurred in the popular appreciation of the role of the Dutch during the German occupation. Rather than the heroic acts of resistance such as sabotage or sheltering Jews, it appeared that the number of Dutch resistance fighters was modest, while the number of collaborators as well as the percentage of murdered Jews were higher than in other occupied countries.
These changes in the appreciation of Dutch colonialism and the Dutch behaviour during the Occupation have put into question the many street names, statues, plaques, etc called after the heroes of Dutch colonial rule and the Resistance. What to do? Remove the statues and rename the streets? Or leave them and provide additional information on information boards? In addition, some of the (distant) relatives of some of the victims of the Dutch role in the decolonisation war as well as of the former slaves have formulated claims for compensation.Should the Dutch government pay up?

Key words: colonial expansion, Dutch colonialism, Dutch Resistance, historical myths



Professor at the Department of History, Political and International Studies of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, Member of Academia Europaea - History and Archaeology Section



Amélia Polónia is Professor at the Department of History, Political and International Studies of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto. Amélia Polónia is currently the scientific coordinator of the Intersdisciplinary Research Centre Culture, Space and Memory (CITCEM –
UP). Her scientific interests include social and economic networks in the Early Modern Age. Seaports history, migrations, transfers and flows between different continents and oceans, informal mechanisms of empire building, women as brokers and go-betweens in overseas empires and the environmental implications of European colonization are key subjects of her current research. For more information: https://www.cienciavitae.pt/portal/6310-2507 EFDC and https://www.ae-info.org/ae/Member/Polónia_Amélia.

Iconoclasm versus apologetics. How the Salazar regime dealt with
Portuguese overseas expansion.Historical interpretation of Portuguese Overseas Expansion changed considerably from the late 19th century to the present. Ideological appropriations of historical events are commonplace.
The propaganda of the regime of Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar extensively used the topic of Portuguese Overseas Expansion as a founding myth for justifying its own colonialism even in times when decolonisation processes were the common trend. Damnatio memoria, on the one hand, and apologetics on the other, were strategies spread from primary school textbooks to university programmes. It was responsible for the exclusion and even persecution of many Portuguese scholars that had to ask for refuge in other European Universities. It created myths, e.g. around Henry the Navigator or the Nautical School of Sagres. Key-personalities like Magellan were long defamed as anti-heroes.
The paper will show how these myths and twisted interpretations are still commonplace today. Even now, many Portuguese feel that in times of crises, these fictions are used to create a sense of national identity and self-confidence.

Key words: Salazar, Estado Novo, Portuguese Overseas Expansion, Propaganda



Professor Emerita, Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Oriantal and African Studies (London), Member of Academia Europaea - Classics and Oriental Studies Section

United Kingdom


Doris Behrens-Abouseif is a specialist in the History of Islamic art and architecture. Her list of publications covers a wide range of subjects from the early period to the 19th century with focus on Egypt and Syria: the history of Islamic architecture and decorative arts, urbanism,
waqf (pious endowments), Islamic cultural history, concepts of aesthetics and Orientalism. She is currently working on a book about Mamluk libraries, scribes and book markets. Her recent publications include: Cairo of the Mamluks, London/Cairo 2007; The Minarets of Cairo, London/Cairo 2010; Practicing Diplomacy in the Mamluk Sultanate: Gifts and Material Culture in the Medieval Islamic World, London 2014.

The impact of the Crusades on figural representations in the arts of Egypt and Syria (12th – 14th centuries)

Islamic culture is generally associated with the prohibition of figural representations. Art history tells a different and more complex story.
My paper if focused on the art of Syria and Egypt in the 12th and 13th centuries during the Crusaders presence in the Levant, which corresponds to a period of great artistic creativity under the rule of the Ayyubids and Mamluks in the region. Although it is mostly the Islamic influence on Crusader culture that historians have emphasized so far, the reverse impact
needs also to be considered. My paper will show that this age of confrontation and interaction with Western Christian culture stimulated artistic innovations in general as well as new ideas regarding the representation of figural motifs on artefacts such as glass and metalwork
and mural paintings.

Key words: Islamic art, Syria, Egypt, Crusades, cultural interactions, figural motifs



Associate Professor in Byzantine Greek, Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University



Barbara Crostini is a specialist of Byzantine manuscript culture, with particular reference to the transmission of biblical commentaries and the controversial role of image is Christian cult and pedagogy. Recent publications include: ‘Hesychius of Jerusalem: an Exegete for both East and West’, in Carol Harrison, Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony and Theodore de Bruyn
(Eds.) Patristic Studies in the Twenty-first Century: Proceedings of an International Conference to Mark the 50th Anniversary of the International Association of Patristic Studies, Brepols, 2015, p. 343-363 and ‘Paul Moore and More Psellos: Still “Wanted” in Byzantium?’, in I. Nilsson and P. Stephenson (Eds.): Byzantium Wanted: The Desire and Rejection of an Empire, Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet, 2014, p. 176-18.

Keeping everyone on board: why Pope Gregory the Great opposed Bishop Serenus’s destruction of images at Marseilles

Two letters by Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) take issue against Serenus, bishop of Marseilles, for having destroyed images in the church in order to prevent the faithful from adoring them. This correspondence is, in historical memory, reduced to the famous dictum that “images are the book of the illiterate”. As such, Gregory’s image formula encapsulates one significant aspect of the gap between East and West, where the Western understanding of sacred images as mere instruments of teaching is opposed to a mystical tradition of holy icons in the Byzantine church.
This paper revisits the epistemological grounds for this famous divide and seeks to undo this ingrained and convenient, yet fundamentally distorted, summary of the attitude to images in East and West. It argues that the pope’s pastoral concern to reach out to those unfamiliar with the Scriptures through representation of biblical episodes and characters in holy images is in line with a pedagogical use of figural narrative whose roots can be retraced to Jewish art. At the same time, it points out how the understanding of teaching through images included a comprehensive notion of growing in the faith and belonging to the Church. A holistic understanding of the task of instruction led the pope to oppose the rash violenceof image destruction perpetrated by Serenus’s intransigent dogmatism. Recognizing the power of images of involving all the faithful, Gregory modulated the Church’s outreach to the‘gentibus’ according to a charitable principle of universality that affirmed everyone’s right of access to God. Far from reducing images to word-pictures, therefore, Gregory showed full awareness of the range of epistemological usefulness of pictorial representation and preserved its potential for expression against the tyranny of imagelessness for future times.

Key words: Gregory the Great, sacred images, bishop Serenus, pictorial representation



Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography and Human Environment, University of Tel-Aviv, Member of Academia Europaea - History and Archaeology Section



Gideon Biger is Emeritus Professor in the department of geography and human environment at Tel Aviv University. His areas of interest include historical geography, history of modern Israel and political geography. Moreover, he is an expert in international and national boundaries. He is the author of The Boundaries of Modern Palestine, 1840-1947 (2004) and An Empire in the Holy Land: Historical Geography of the British Administration in Palestine,1917-1929 (1994), among many other publications.

Iconoclasm – a geographical viewpoint

Iconoclasm mainly concerns the destruction of icons, based on the Commandment of the Bible “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…” (Exodus, 20:4). This command, which was originally given to the Jews and later intermittently adopted by the Christians, was also adopted by the doctrine of Islam which, up to the present, does not allow the presence of icons or pictures inside mosques.
Iconoclasm can be presented in two different ways. One is that of an”inside aspect”, taking place within a given religious system. The other is an “outside aspect”, through which a religious system destroys the religious symbols of another religion. Dealing mainly with the “outside aspect”, one may find many religious sites which were destroyed or had their
functions changed their while these were occupied by another religious group. Thus, among numerous examples, synagogues and mosques in Spain were transformed into churches, churches in Jerusalem became mosques or were used as secular sites, temples all over the Roman Empire were transferred into Christian basilicas, etc.
Usually cemeteries, which still today in some countries are also religious sites, were destroyed while another religious regime held those corresponding areas. In Jerusalem, a Holy City for three religious groups, one can find, for instance, sites such as the Temple Mount, transformed from a Jewish Temple, into a Roman temple, then into a mosque.
All these changes took place by destroying previous icons and, eventually, replacing them with new ones. There are several other similar holy sites in Jerusalem, as well as in other sites in Israel-Palestine. Thus, iconoclasm not only changed the inside decoration of churches in Europe but also influenced the shape of important sites all over the world.

Key words: Inside act, outside iconoclasm, holy site, cemetery, Jerusalem, religious group



Researcher, Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw



Wojciech Bedyński conducted ethnographical field research on the memory of common life in the multicultural society of pre-war Galician shtetls. He has done several research fieldworks in Poland, Ukraine and Israel. His research activity has focused on the cultural landscape of Central and Eastern Europe: issues of identity, memory, landscape, sacral space, and culture of Celtic countries. His recent publications include: “Holy wells and trees in Poland as an element of local and national identity”, in: Celeste Ray (Ed.) Sacred Waters. A Cross-Cultural Compendium of Hallowed Springs and Holy Wells (London, Routledge, 2020); “Liminality of the Cultural Landscape”, Politeja nr 58, 2019, p. 31-45; Povedák, István – Bedynsky, Wojcziech (eds.) Landscape as a factor in creating identity, Warsaw, 2014.

Changing cultural landscapes: the case of post-German lands in Poland

In the winter and spring of 1945, the Soviet Army, accompanied by allied Polish troops, rapidly captured former German lands that, according to the arrangements agreed upon at the Yalta Conference, were to be attributed to Poland. Soon afterwards, nearly the entire German population that had not yet escaped, was deported to the West and new inhabitants moved into the abandoned houses. These, in turn, were mostly people from the Eastern
regions of the Second Polish Republic, now incorporated into the Soviet Union.
To justify this shifting of borders, the new administration initiated the myth of the so-called “recovered” territories and described them as the lair of Poland: true Piast lands only temporarilyand inequitably occupied by Germans. In fact, however, Silesia and Pomerania – the two regions primarily concerned – had only belonged to the Polish Crown for a very short period at the beginning of Polish history, while Masuria (in the Northeastern part of the country) had never actually been part of Poland.
Therefore, an important part of the new order was to extract every single element that linkedlocal cultures with a so-called “Polishness”, while erasing all signs of German past. These actions, undertaken by the Communist regime, often took the form of iconoclasm: old place
names were renamed, symbolic monuments were removed from public space or destroyed and their materials used to build new monuments of a completely different meaning. Sometimes, these actions were taken both too quickly and carelessly: thus one can still see, in several railway stations, contours of old German names chiseled out after 1945. This paper will be based on the findings of the author’s 3-year long search in Masuria.

Key words: cultural landscape, iconoclasm, historical policy, port-German heritage, memory



Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Aarhus University; Visiting Professor, Sichuan University, Member of Academia Europaea – Literary and Theatrical Studies Section



Svend Erik Larsen is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Aarhus University and currently Visiting Professor at Sichuan University. His areas of research include: language philosophy and semiotics; literature and culture in the modern city; the role of literature in the shaping of the fundamental ideas by which we, in different ways throughout history,
interpret our individual and collective lives, for example nature, solitude, memory, personal formation or Bildung. His recent publications include: “Literature in its media context”, Chinese Semiotic Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2, 05.2020, p. 189-201; “A Post-Imperial Stress Syndrome or a New Beginning?”, European Review, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2020, p. 102-117; as coeditor
with Cao, Shunqing with “Special Issue: Literary Studies Across Cultures: A Chinese European Dialogue”, Orbis Literarum. Volume 73, Issue 4, 2018. p. 309-382.

‘Stunde Null’: naming and re-naming

“Stunde Null” – this expression is used to indicate the end of the German Nazi regime in1945 and the beginning of a new Germany. This historical turning point was marked by the re-naming of the former Germany: No longer Deutsches Reich, but Bundesrepublik Deutschland, no Reichstag but Bundestag. Nazi symbols, institutions, values and paraphernalia were out. Naming and re-naming were part this iconoclastic attempt to undo an entire collapsed though recent past by turning the memory of it into a negative memory soon to disappear out of sight. Easier said than done, as we know. While for some the iconoclastic gesture is part of a forward-looking struggle, for others the response to a social and cultural
break-down is an attempt to turn the wheel of history backwards in a restorative movement nurtured by nostalgia, and again helped by naming and renaming – as the Nazis did with a term like Das Dritte Reich and its mythological, biblical and historical associations. Vergegenheitsbewältigung is a cumbersome process.
After the eighteenth-century European discussions about the basic historicity and secular nature of human culture and society, iconoclasm is more than an event in a particular area of culture in which canonized authorities and norms are dismantled, and becomes a notion that captures the at times contradictory complexity of historical processes. In this perspective, discussions of iconoclasm may also be part of an understanding of human identity formation in a world of permanently changing traditions. This is where literature and the arts meets history and sociology. After a short reference to the French Revolution and its
repercussions in the nineteenth century with regard to processes of naming and renaming, I will move to the post-colonial iconoclasm in India with the short story “Lawley Road” (1956) by R. K. Narayan (Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami), an ironic account of a back-and-forth process of re-naming of streets and places in the aftermath of Indian
independence. As a coda, I will return with the Haïtian writer Édouard Glissant and his post-colonial reflections to the issue of historicity as an iconoclastic process.

Key words: Historicity, changing traditions, identity formation

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