Stamps, Nationalism and Political Transitions

Science / Archives

The academic publishers Routledge has just published a new book edited by Prof. Stanley D. Brunn of the University of Kentucky on the subject of stamps as a source for documentary research on political trends, changes and transitions. Stanley Brunn, along with Jack Child and David Scott, has been among the leading Anglophone scholars to look at stamps as a source of contextualised information about geo-political issues.

This book, Stamps, Nationalism, and Political Transition, brings together scholars from around the world to look at the stamps from individual countries which were issued just before and just after a significant political event which transformed their status or political situation. Generally, the chapters look at five years before the event, and five years after the event. For the most part, the chapters look at the general theme of the stamps and the general type of image on them and do not analyse in detail the particular images, format and overall design.

Fig. 1: Cover of book

I wrote two chapters for this book. The first chapter is entitled ‘Images, Semiotics, and Political Transitions: Case Studies of the First Issues from Eight Nations’ and describes a semiotic method for analysing the design of individual stamps, which goes further than just stating the broad theme of a stamp. Three kinds of nations are examined – Post-Colonial States, Unilaterally Independent States, and Quasi-Independent States.

My second chapter is entitled ‘Post-liberation Korea – The First Postage Stamps: A Comparative Semiotic Study of Nation-building in North Korea and South Korea’. This chapter looks comparatively at the four periods of the first ten years of the post-Liberation history – the period of Soviet-American occupation, the period of the establishment of the two states, the Korean War, and the post-Korean War period.

Fig. 2: Some sample pages from the book

Other chapters in the book look at China, Netherlands East Indies/Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Congo/Zaire, Senegal, Guinée, Ethiopia, South Africa, Namibia, Poland, Estonia, Yugoslavia, North Cyprus, Palestine, Cuba, Grenada, Disney stamps, Forever Stamps, and women on stamps.

Publication Details: Stanley D. Brunn, ed., Stamps, Nationalism, and Political Transition (London/New York, Routledge, 2022). Illustrations, tables. Pp. xxv, 398.

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