Belarus's national narratives and representation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in Belarus's history textbooks
Master’s thesis Belarus’s National Narratives and Representation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in Belarus’s History Textbooks in its theoretical framework excessively relies on the discussion of the existing approaches towards the study of nationalism such as the perennialist, the modernist/constructivist and the ethno-symbolist. The ethnosymbolist approach by Anthony D. Smith, however, is chosen as the most appropriate for the empirical case of Belarus’s nation-building process and therefore, its ability to explain different expressions of Belarus’s national narratives is emphasized. The thesis combines the aforementioned theoretical framework with an empirical discussion of Belarus’s post-independence nation-building process in order to explain the peculiarity of the Belarus’s case in which the official national narrative coexists with the alternative national narrative in Belarus’s public sphere. The research question, however, is centered on the problem of the Belarus’s national narrative, as outlined in Belarus’s history textbooks, and its representation of Lithuania with regard to the medieval past of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which is shared by the both modern republics of Belarus and Lithuania. With the analysis of history textbooks, the thesis responds to concerns of some Lithuanian historians and answers the question whether the Belarus’s national narrative and the representation of Lithuania presented in the textbooks are contesting and “rewriting” the Lithuanian past in terms of their input in the creation and maintenance of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the mid-thirteenth century until the late eighteenth century. The aforementioned research provides an unprecedented analysis of Belarus’s history textbooks in regard to their representation of another national group during the particular period of the shared medieval past.