KYRCHANOV M.W. Memory of American Civil War in the Historical Imagination of Consumer Society


Maksim W. Kyrchanov

Doctor of Sciences (History), Associate Professor,

Chair of Regional Studies and Foreign Countries Economies, Voronezh State University,

Pushkinskaya St, 16, 394000 Voronezh, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The author analyzes the features of the historical memory of the American Civil War in American pop culture as a form of historical memory that dominates in the consumer society.

Methods and materials. The problems of imagination and invention of images of the civil war are analyzed in the contexts of cultural history, as well as intellectual history and the history of ideas.

Analysis. The author presumes that 1) the historical memory of the U.S. Civil War in modern American identity is heterogeneous; 2) various forms of culture, including “high”, “mass” and “popular”, actualize the images of the civil war; 3) “high” culture became the first form of imagination of the civil war in American identity; 4) in the 20th century, various forms of consumer society culture (“mass” and “popular”) assimilated images of the civil war; 5) “popular” culture presents a “transitional” (from “high” to “mass”) version of the memory of the war.

Results. Analyzing the transformation of the Civil War memory in the pseudo-documentary film “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America” (directed by Kevin Willmott), the author presumes that 1) popular culture reduced the civil war to a minor event in the history of the Confederation; 2) the film offers an alternative version of American historical memory, actualizing the possible trajectories of the “invention” of images of the civil war in the reality where South won; 3) the film is integrated into the intellectual history and archeology of American mass-cult ideas; 4) some texts by American intellectuals belonging to the discourse of alternative history, became cultural stimuli for the project of Kevin Willmott; 5) the transformation of the memory of the Civil War in American pop-culture actualizes the crisis of memory in society, which wasn’t successful in its attempts to overcome the historical trauma of racism and racial discrimination.

Key words: historical memory, civil war, mass and popular culture, C.S.A., revisionism, racism.

Citation. Kyrchanov M.W. Memory of American Civil War in the Historical Imagination of Consumer Society. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 32-44. (in Russian). DOI:

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Memory of American Civil War in the Historical Imagination of Consumer Society by Kyrchanov M.W. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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