Patriots all around: Inter/national timing, round numbers, and the politics of commemorative critique

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Rather than focusing on a particular commemoration, this paper draws attention to the issue of what when we say what we say. I argue that when we take round anniversaries of ‘big’ international political events as an occasion for critique, we reproduce and re-affirm an inter/national (statist and state-systemic) politics of commemoration. By timing our discussions of particular events to round numbers accumulating from ‘given’, ‘historical’ dates like 1914-17, 1945, or 2001, we already cede significant ground to a hegemonic and largely overlooked symbolic order. After briefly introducing the concept of timing in the first section, I elaborate the functional and political implications of discussions indexed to inter/national calendars. In the second section, I summarize links between hegemonic timing and the modern inter/national. In the third, I explicate the cosmopolitical importance of calendars and anniversaries, showing how modern dating systems privilege particular historical legacies, constitute inter/national identities, and hypertrophy the importance of round numbers. Fourth, I discuss the ontopolitics of these timing practices and identify five consequences of inter/nationally-timed critique. To conclude, I suggest alternative calendars supportive of a more thoroughgoing challenge to hegemonic politics of commemoration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443–456
JournalAustralian Journal of Politics and History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2017


  • timing
  • centenary
  • commemoration
  • critique
  • international system
  • nationalism
  • state

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