This special issue builds on empirical research to provide new insights into the interrelations between collective memory and legacies of political violence in the Balkans. The contributions pay particular attention to two major issues: First, they explore the ways in which individuals and groups respond to and cope with violent pasts by investigating commemorative practices including public performances, narratives, and negotiations of counter-memories. Second, they make explicit how people select and reassemble collective memories through remembering violent pasts to create and disseminate novel forms of identity. Through interdisciplinary lenses, the studies reveal how the legacies of political violence and their lived experience become important means for people to create and mobilize collective memories that are influential enough to shape nationalistic and political realities on the ground. On a theoretical level, the articles demonstrate various ways in which collective memories enable critical discussions around a wider set of issues including national identity, nationalism, making of history, and local power games. By engaging with these concepts, the contributions question dominant framings of past events as they investigate how counter-memories and counter-powers emerge in the process of negotiating established versions of history, official narratives, and hierarchies of power.