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In History

June 25, 1991: Croatia and Slovenia Declare Independence; War Between Croatia and Serbia Begins:

The provinces of Croatia and Slovenia declare their independence from Yugoslavia. Slovenia breaks off without violence. However, within two days the Yugoslav army, representing Serbia, attacks Croatia and a long war between the two countries begins. This is the start of nearly a decade of conflict in the region as Yugoslavia slowly breaks apart.

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On related subjects from Berghahn Central & Eastern Europe List:

 

NARRATING VICTIMHOOD
Gender, Religion and the Making of Place in Post-War Croatia
Michaela Schäuble

Volume 11, Space and Place

 

Mythologies and narratives of victimization pervade contemporary Croatia, set against the backdrop of militarized notions of masculinity and the political mobilization of religion and nationhood. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in rural Dalmatia in the Croatian-Bosnian border region, this book provides a unique account of the politics of ambiguous Europeanness from the perspective of those living at Europe’s margins. Examining phenomena such as Marian apparitions, a historic knights tournament, the symbolic re-signification of a massacre site, and the desolate social situation of Croatian war veterans, Narrating Victimhood traces the complex mechanisms of political radicalization in a post-war scenario. This book provides a new perspective for understanding the ongoing processes of transformation in Southeastern Europe and the Balkans.

 

 

YEARNINGS IN THE MEANTIME
‘Normal Lives’ and the State in a Sarajevo Apartment Complex
Stef Jansen

Volume 15, Dislocations

 

Shortly after the book’s protagonists moved into their apartment complex in Sarajevo, they, like many others, were overcome by the 1992-1995 war and the disintegration of socialist Yugoslavia More than a decade later, in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina, they felt they were collectively stuck in a time warp where nothing seemed to be as it should be. Starting from everyday concerns, this book paints a compassionate yet critical portrait of people’s sense that they were in limbo, trapped in a seemingly endless “Meantime.” Ethnographically investigating yearnings for “normal lives” in the European semi-periphery, it proposes fresh analytical tools to explore how the time and place in which we are caught shape our hopes and fears.

 

 

 

STRANGERS EITHER WAY
The Lives of Croatian Refugees in their New Home
Jasna Čapo Žmegač
Translated by Nina H. Antoljak and Mateusz M. Stanojević

 

Croatia gained the world’s attention during the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. In this context its image has been overshadowed by visions of ethnic conflict and cleansing, war crimes, virulent nationalism, and occasionally even emergent regionalism. Instead of the norm, this book offers a diverse insight into Croatia in the 1990s by dealing with one of the consequences of the war: the more or less forcible migration of Croats from Serbia and their settlement in Croatia, their “ethnic homeland.” This important study shows that at a time in which Croatia was perceived as a homogenized nation-in-the-making, there were tensions and ruptures within Croatian society caused by newly arrived refugees and displaced persons from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Refugees who, in spite of their common ethnicity with the homeland population, were treated as foreigners; indeed, as unwanted aliens.

 

 

STATE COLLAPSE AND RECONSTRUCTION IN THE PERIPHERY
Political Economy, Ethnicity and Development in Yugoslavia, Serbia and Kosovo
Jens Stilhoff Sörensen

 

In the 1990s, Yugoslavia, which had once been a role model for development, became a symbol for state collapse, external intervention and post-war reconstruction. Today the region has two international protectorates, contested states and borders, severe ethnic polarization and minority concerns. In this first in-depth critical analysis of international administration, aid and reconstruction policies in Kosovo, Jens Stilhoff Sörensen argues that the region must be analyzed as a whole, and that the process of state collapse and recent changes in aid policy must be interpreted in connection to the wider transformation of the global political economy and world order. He examines the shifting inter- and intracommunity relations, the emergence of a “political economy” of conflict, and of informal clientelist arrangements in Serbia and Kosovo and provides a framework for interpreting the collapse of the Yugoslav state, the emergence of ethnic conflict and shadow economies, and the character of western aid and intervention. Western governments and agencies have built policies on conceptions and assumptions for which there is no genuine historical or contemporary economic, social or political basis in the region. As the author persuasively argues, this discrepancy has exacerbated and cemented problems in the region and provided further complications that are likely to remain for years to come.

 

IN CONTRAST
Croatian Film Today
Edited by Aida Vidan and Gordana P. Crnković
Published by the Croatian Film Association in association with Berghahn Books

 

The Croatian film scene has remained largely inaccessible until now. In this first comprehensive volume on the subject recognized scholars explore not only its recent history, since the establishment of the Croatian state, but also revisit its development during the Yugoslav period. By introducing readers to the complex political and artistic circumstances, the authors approach animation, documentary, and feature films, through questions of style and vision, social engagement, industry, national identity, gender, audience, and domestic and international reception. In depth interviews with some of the most prominent Croatian film directors provide insights into their artistic practices while also serving as first-hand testimonials to both socialist and transitional cultural environments. Encompassing a rich selection of films with a broad palette of themes and styles, the review section provides an indispensible guide through a little known world.

 

 

 

Honorable Mention 2013 PROSE Awards, Archaeology and Anthropology section

PLACES OF PAIN
Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-local Identities in Bosnian War-torn Communities
Hariz Halilovich

Volume 10, Space and Place

 

For displaced persons, memory and identity is performed, (re)constructed and (re)negotiated daily. Forced displacement radically reshapes identity, with results ranging from successful hybridization to feelings of permanent misplacement. This compelling and intimate description of places of pain and (be)longing that were lost during the 1992–95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as of survivors’ places of resettlement in Australia, Europe and North America, serves as a powerful illustration of the complex interplay between place, memory and identity. It is even more the case when those places have been vandalized, divided up, brutalized and scarred. However, as the author shows, these places of humiliation and suffering are also places of desire, with displaced survivors emulating their former homes in the far corners of the globe where they have resettled.

 

 

POST-COMMUNIST NOSTALGIA

Edited by Maria Todorova and Zsuzsa Gille

 

Although the end of the Cold War was greeted with great enthusiasm by people in the East and the West, the ensuing social and especially economic changes did not always result in the hoped-for improvements in people’s lives. This led to widespread disillusionment that can be observed today all across Eastern Europe. Not simply a longing for security, stability, and prosperity, this nostalgia is also a sense of loss regarding a specific form of sociability. Even some of those who opposed communism express a desire to invest their new lives with renewed meaning and dignity. Among the younger generation, it surfaces as a tentative yet growing curiosity about the recent past. In this volume scholars from multiple disciplines explore the various fascinating aspects of this nostalgic turn by analyzing the impact of generational clusters, the rural-urban divide, gender differences, and political orientation. They argue persuasively that this nostalgia should not be seen as a wish to restore the past, as it has otherwise been understood, but instead it should be recognized as part of a more complex healing process and an attempt to come to terms both with the communist era as well as the new inequalities of the post-communist era.

 

 

POSTSOCIALISM
Politics and Emotions in Central and Eastern Europe
Edited by Maruška Svašek

 

In many parts of post-socialist Europe the tumultuous political and economic developments have generated strong emotions, ranging from hope and euphoria to disappointment, envy, disillusionment, sorrow, loneliness, and hatred. Yet these aspects have been largely neglected in analyses of the profound transformations that have taken place in Central and Eastern Europe since 1990. Based on a wide variety of ethnographic case studies focusing on Russian, Siberian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Croatian, Czech, and Polish communities, this volume proves the significance of emotions to post-socialist political processes as an inherent part of the transformations and sheds new light on the impact of local, national, and transnational political forces that have given rise to the resurgence of nationalist sentiments, increasing poverty and marginalization, conflicts arising from the restitution of state property, constitutional changes, and economic deprivation.

 

 

 

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Berghahn Journals: 

 

Aspasia
The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women’s and Gender History

 

Aspasia is the international peer-reviewed annual of women’s and gender history of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE). It aims to transform European women’s and gender history by expanding comparative research on women and gender to all parts of Europe, creating a European history of women and gender that encompasses more than the traditional Western European perspective. Aspasia particularly emphasizes research that examines the ways in which gender intersects with other categories of social organization and advances work that explores transnational aspects of women’s and gender histories within, to, and from CESEE. The journal also provides an important outlet for the publication of articles by scholars working in CESEE itself. Its contributions cover a rich variety of topics and historical eras, as well as a wide range of methodologies and approaches to the history of women and gender.