Dr. Sima Godfrey – CES Research Colloquium

Registration is now open at the below link for the second in our series of three Research Colloquia at the Centre for European Studies:


When: Tuesday, May 17, 2022  12.30 pm – 1.30 pm PST

Title: “Cultural Memory, National Identity, Collective Forgetting: Crimea, the War the French Won and Forgot.”

Speaker: Dr. Sima Godfrey, Faculty Affiliate, Associate Professor Emerita of French

Abstract: The Crimean peninsula is once again a site of military tension between Western Europe and Russia. For those who study 19th-century British or Russian history this is not a new story. The Crimean War of 1854-1856 played an important role in the cultural memory and mythology of both those nations. For those who study 19th-century French social and cultural history, on the other hand, the Crimean War rings few if any bells. And yet, this was the first – the only – war France won in the 19th century. It was the French who led the Allied forces to victory against Russia with triple the number of troops of the British and close to five times the number of losses. But this war does not figure in French collective memory or national identity. It was not repressed, it was not erased, it was forgotten. This paper looks at how a war fell – falls — off the radar and considers, among other factors, the role that cultural mediation – texts, images, objects, monuments — play in generating memorability.