Autumn 2018    

Rory Archer (University of Graz, Austria)

Rory Archer is a social historian who works on the 20th century Balkans. He is interested in labour, gender, (post)socialism and the ways in which macro level events and processes are experienced, understood and negotiated in micro, everyday contexts. Archer received his PhD in History from the University of Graz in December 2015 and from 2016 to 2018 worked in the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London as Mellon postdoctoral fellow. Since 2014 he have worked on a research project Between class and nation: Working class communities in 1980s Serbia and Montenegro financed by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). I continue to explore the role of politicised labour and working class subjectivities in the crises of late Yugoslav socialism and the demise of the state and have published work on this in Labor History, Social History and History and Anthropology.

Project–title: Postsocialist Croats in postcatholic Ireland: Comparing worlds of work in contemporary variants of neoliberalism

“My project at CAS SEE explores recent Croatian migration to Ireland (2013-2018). It tackles narratives about mobility in Croatian (social) media and among individual migrants. The question guiding the project explores the experience of variants of neoliberalism in late-capitalism more broadly: What can personal narratives which compare worlds of work – subjective experiences of labour regimes in two different capitalist states – tell us about variants of neoliberalism? The guiding assumption is that socialisation in a socialist and postsocialist labour regime like Croatia may serve as a means to problematize labour regimes in contemporary Ireland and vice versa for individuals. Departing from labour and motilities, the project also explores the extent to which there are grounds for conceptualising confronting Irish post-Catholicism as a case of ‘dealing with the past’. When approaching the legacy of what was often a coercive, authoritarian, de facto theocratic socio-political order in Ireland is there any value in comparing and contrasting this to the post-conflict, post-socialist social context of Croatia and the ‘mnemonic battles’ taking place there? Are such contrasts and comparisons made by contemporary Croatian migrants themselves and does it inform their understanding of contemporary Ireland and prompt political action or social engagement?”

Lina Dokuzović (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria)

Lina Dokuzović is based in Vienna and works at the intersection between visual art and text/knowledge production. She studied Fine Arts and received a PhD in Cultural Studies from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. As a member of the eipcp, she is currently working on the research project of the EU Creative Europe program, entitled They Were, Those People, a Kind of Solution (2016–2018). She has been working with the eipcp as a researcher and co-editor of the multilingual web-journal transversal since 2009. She is on the board of the VBKÖ (Austrian Association of Women Artists), where she was chairperson from 2011–2013. Her research, writing, lectures, and artistic work deal with the topics of migration; knowledge production and educational policies; mechanisms of appropriation and privatization of structures such as education, culture, the body, and land; and perspectives for translocal solidarity. She has authored numerous articles on these topics, co-edited several anthologies, and is the author of the book Struggles for Living Learning (2016), and most recently co-editor (with Boris Buden) of the book They Will Never Walk Alone: The Life and Afterlife of Gastarbeiters (2018).

Project–title: The Financialization of Knowledge and Its Impact on Cityscapes Translocally 

“Economic crisis has been a major driving force in the transformations of higher education in both the recent past as well as throughout the 20th century. In more recent years, however, the commodification of knowledge and the financialization of all things university-related – from the stratification of study programs to the speculation of debt itself – have made the links between education and crisis more visible. Namely, they have displaced the consequences of the incapacity of national governments to deal with crisis to students and teachers, inviting corporate interests into the university, and radically changing the structure of institutions as well as the city landscapes surrounding them. Departments, institutes, programs, and universities are branded, and in this process, university districts are gentrified and property values shift. These tendencies have expanded across the globe as the result of recent waves of structural reforms. In reaction, students have protested and occupied their universities in order to reclaim both the material spaces taken away from them as well as the knowledge that is now bought and sold within these spaces. This new relationship between crisis-ridden universities and the real estate market (and its own shifts and crises) and the consequent occupation of university buildings in protest exposes an important new way of looking at the links between knowledge, crisis, and architecture/cityscapes today.”

Arianna Piacentini (University of Milan, Italy)

Arianna Piacentini obtained her PhD in Sociology and Methodology of Social Research at the University of Milan, Italy, in March 2018.

Her research project dealt with the process of national identity formation in the post-Yugoslav contexts of Bosnia Herzegovina and Macedonia, and she performed a study adopting a two generations’ perspective. Her research interests concern nationalism and populism, power-sharing in post-conflict and divided societies, as well as ethnopolitics and ethnic-clientelism in ethnically diverse societies.

Since 2012, Piacentini is studying and researching post-Yugoslav and post-conflict divided societies: she lived in Sarajevo, where she studied the generation born during the war and nationalism’s influences in the ethnic boundaries-making processes among the youth. Developing an interest also for the role religion plays in the Bosnian social and political scenario, she obtained a Diploma in Islamic Studies at the University of Sarajevo. In 2015 she has been Visiting PhD student at the Woolf Institute for Abrahamic Faiths in Cambridge (UK) while, in the years 2016 and 2017, she has been Visiting PhD student at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, and at the University of Sarajevo.

Currently she is Research Assistant in the project CoHERE Critical Heritages (Horizon 2020 – Reflective Societies) and working on populist parties’ supporters and their perception over the existence of a shared European heritage and culture.

Project–title: Non-Alignment and Youth’s Political Engagement in Bosnia Herzegovina and Macedonia

 “Political engagement and participation are fundamental ‘to change the system’ and counteract anti-democratic tendencies – and it is especially so in ethnically divided societies featured by ethnopolitics, such as Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH) and Macedonia. Starting from the assumption that political parties’ support goes hand in hand with people’s evaluation of their performances in relation to their demands, this project argues that growing political disaffection and disappointment towards ethnopolitics are encouraging the birth of a small, yet critical, mass of citizens embracing a more inclusive and ethnically-blind conception of democracy. The analysis focuses on the ‘non aligned’ citizens of BiH and Macedonia, participating and engaged into non-national political parties campaigning along civic and inclusive lines, and it seeks to answer the following questions: How do citizens directly engaged in non-ethnonational political parties can and do manifest their changing potential? Which incentives and reasons do they have in actively participating in non-dominant and non-national parties? How do they counteract undemocratic tendencies, promote social and political changes so to build an inclusive democracy?

The ‘non-aligned’ citizens targeted in this project are the young citizens aged between 18 and 30 and regardless their ethnonational origins. Methodologically, the project combines a descriptive part providing a comprehensive historical, political and institutional framework of the two case studies, and an empirical analysis based on qualitative methods and focused on young citizens involved into anti-nationalist political parties.

The aim of the project is to understand how, using which narratives and offering which incentives, non-aligned political parties and citizens can contribute to change ethnocratic systems counteracting anti-democratic tendencies while building democracy.”

Nataša Janković (University of Belgrade, Serbia)

Natasha Jankovic, PhD, architect, currently in the position of research fellow and teaching associate of the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Architecture and postdoc research fellow of the University of Rijeka – CAS SEE. She is active in different fields of architecture – research: publishes in journals, books and conference proceedings and also actively organizes conferences and workshops; design – participates in exhibitions and architectural and urban competitions, but also do some graphic design; practice: together with two colleagues (M&M) run an architectural studio N2M (based in Belgrade) that deals with architectural design and construction; but she also tries to interconnect all of this with the architectural education: actively engaged within the educational process of the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade, but often acts as a guest critic within different institutions both national and international. So far, her particular research interests is given to the topic of the relationship between architecture and territory, architecture and nature, as well as city territory transformation and its mapping.
She seeks to read some of the terri(s)tories (architectural inscriptions within the territory); but she also wishes to mark the territory: by making an architectural gesture in a natural environment, in order to write some new terri(S)tory.

Project–title: Re/I:translating terRI[s]tories: architectural stories about Rijeka’s territory

“Architecture and territory are a permanent transcript – a spatial narrative on the cultural portrait of the city that is seen as a cultural palimpsest of overlapped layers of spatial and cultural transformation. Previous research about mapping the architectural stories about Rijeka’s territory (terRI[s]tories) represent a basis for the new readings of the city. The activities of the project are about re:reading and re:translating some of the terRI(s)tories for the needs of Rijeka ECOC 2020 and with the aim of transcription/documenting the only constant thing about cities – their transformation (the idea of the acronym Re/I from the title of the project was to associate to Panta Rei, cities are also in constant change, and Rijeka is well known as a “city that flows”). The expected result of this project is the atlas of cultural maps – a portrait of the city, created through the methodological examination of printed and new media forms of representation and dissemination of the research results. The main contribution of the project is it’s potential use for the purpose of education about and promotion of Rijeka.”

Mónica Cano Abadía (University of Zaragoza, Spain)

Mónica Cano Abadía obtained her Ph.D. in Philosophical Studies at the University of Zaragoza (Spain) with a Thesis Dissertation on Judith Butler entitled “Identities at Risk of Exclusion. Subversive Strategies of Social Transformation.” She is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Section of Political Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy (University of Graz, Austria) and is a member of the Research Group “Justice, Citizenship, and Vulnerability” (University of La Laguna, Spain). She has been a fellow at the CAS SEE since September 2017, where she has conducted her research on the project “The Re-Radicalization of Critical Thinking: Toward a Global Social Justice with Rosi Braidotti and Judith Butler.” In addition to lectures and publications focusing on queer theory, she has written on new materialisms, global justice, and posthuman critical theory.

Project – Title: Risky Vulnerability. The Rise of Neo-Fascist Discourses and the Possibilities of Political Transformation in Judith Butler

“This research project addresses Judith Butler’s stances on neo-fascist discourses, applying her analysis to the European context, from where we are witnessing an unsettling and dangerous rise of fascism. Vulnerability is a key concept for this project, and it will be analyzed within the tension that its riskiness implies: on the one hand, it connects us to our fragility; on the other hand, it is related to our power to act, to our political agency, and it allows us to share a powerful bond that enables political stances and transformative actions.

Butler’s very recent writings on the rise of fascisms, old and new (Butler, 2017), focus on the case of the United States of America, but this research project will try to apply this analysis to the rise of populisms and fascist discourses in Europe. Regarding her thoughts on social change and political activism, this research projects aims to elucidate how Butler’s thoughts on political assembly, performative action, and solidarity (Butler, 2015) can be applied to counteractions against the rise of fascist discourses and precarizing actions.”

Roswitha Kersten-Pejanić completed her PhD thesis on the interrelation of linguistic norms and gender perceptions in Croatian in 2016. She holds a magister degree in history and Serbian/Croatian from Humboldt University and a master degree in EU studies from Centre International de Formation Européenne.

From 2010-2017, Roswitha was working as a research associate and lecturer at the Department of Slavic Studies and the Transdisciplinary Center for Gender Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin. She also worked as a trainer for EU fundraising both in academic and non-academic education. She is co-editor of the volume “Doing Gender – Doing the Balkans” and has published papers on issues of gender, language, discourses and Europeanization in Croatia, such as “Language ideology and linguistic manifestations of gender conceptualisations in Croatian”, “»Imenice muškog roda imenice su općeg roda…« Why Questioning Androgendering Naming Practices for People Is Still Worth the (Slavicist’s) While”, “Are times of Europeanisation times of the gender experts? The window of opportunity in the EU accession process in Croatia”, and others.

Project – Title: Linguistic Landscapes at the margins: Performativity of ethnic belonging and memory politics in Croatian post-conflict border regions

Roswitha will be a fellow at CAS SEE for the next two years while working on her project “Linguistic Landscapes at the margins: Performativity of ethnic belonging and memory politics in Croatian post-conflict border regions” which receives funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG, project number: KE 2368/1-1):

Her research concentrates on the linguistic landscape in two rural border regions and former war sites in Croatia (the “Danube border region” around Vukovar, Ilok, Erdut and Batina and the “Una border region” around Kostajnica, Dvor, Dubica and Jasenovac). A central emphasis will be on the examination of persisting linguistic signs of ethnic and nationalist tension in the public space. The continuing influence of the war and, hence, the status of this space as a post-conflict site is of particular analytic importance for this research project. By using a triangulated methodological approach based on an ethnographic perspective on language use, the interrelations of linguistic signs in public space, their political messages, the corresponding ideological origin, as well as their temporality (i.e., both the historical context in which they were produced as well as the current time, which these linguistic signs are still influencing), will be examined.

The project aims at making an active contribution to the methodological development of Linguistic Landscape Studies (LLS) by concentrating on rural landscapes, while most research in LLS so far has focused on the study of urban areas. Furthermore, the project is drawing the attention of this emerging field of ethnographic studies on language use to South Eastern Europe, which allows adding a particularly fascinating set of material and analysis due the loaded legacy of (language) politics in this region.

Non-Resident fellows

Carlos González Villa (University of Madrid, Spain)

Project – title: The Slovene Reaction to the European Migrant Crisis: Class and Ideology at the edge of Schengen

“The European response to the 2015 migrant crisis was initially featured by warm welcome expressions from the European elites, especially from EU institutions and the German government. However, it quickly evolved into the enhancement of extremist positions and the “Fortress Europe” pretension. The opposition to the limited European Commission’s relocation and resettlement plan – initially led by the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia – ended up in the conclusion of an agreement with Turkey for the return of asylum-seekers to that country. Along this process, governments, mainstream political parties and new far-right organizations have shaped cultural-related and seemingly technical discursive lines for rationalizing the exclusion and rejection of migrants. In the case of the Slovene elites, the justification for the closure of the “Balkan route” of refugees in September 2015 relied in the assumption of their responsibility to protect the Schengen external border and in the intention of remaining in the core of an eventual multi-speed Europe.

This project aims to define the state of the ideology within the Slovene ruling class during the migrant crisis, considering that ideological trends do not solely respond to agency, but also to structural relations, which take place inside polities and at the transnational level. The peripheral position of Slovenia within the EU and the consequences of the European economic crisis are departing points for assessing the existence of a contagion in the region after the arrival of migrants.”

Gruia Bădescu (Oxford University, UK)

Project – title: Spatializing Cultural Policies and Activism in Croatia and Romania: A Comparative, Transnational Study

“For decades now, many European cities have embraced a repertoire of cultural policies thought to stimulate spatial development —such as the cultural mega-event or the Bilbao-emulating contemporary art museum — and democratic practice— including diverse processes, ranging from the spatial memorialization of public crimes to an opening to citizen participation and inclusion. Participation and inclusiveness in city-making have been packaged in EU documents as a “European best practice”. Exported through various EU channels in new member states,  these policies intersected –and at times clashed-  with a strong local activism and grassroots organization calling in particular for more inclusive, participatory practices.  My project will explore in a comparative and transnational frame the spatialisation and democratization of cultural policy in two such contexts, Croatia and Romania.  It will examine the entanglements of various actors at the local scale, as well as similarities, differences and links between urban activism and policies in the two countries, often researched separately because of language limitations, historical differentiations, as well as narratives and imaginaries of exceptionalism. Aiming to understand the wider region as a space of flows of ideas and practices, and using the lens of comparative urbanism, I will explore how two particular themes in cultural policy and activism have been included in debates of spatial development and inclusiveness:  the cultural mega-event and the process of memorialization. First, I will scrutinize the role of European Capital of Culture bids in spatial development and inclusive city-making, with a particular focus on how the theme of participation has been mobilized in the bids for capital of culture in Rijeka, Zagreb, Timisoara and Bucharest.  Second, I will build on my current research as part of the AHRC-Labex research project “Criminalization of Dictatorial Pasts in Europe and Latin America in Global Perspective” to investigate the spatialisation of memory policies and politics and the entanglements between actors, both locally and transnationally.”

Natasha Sardžoska (Karls Eberhard Universität Tübingen, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Università degli Studi di Bergamo)

Project – title: Mapping of Spatial Memory in Limitrophe Cities: Border-Landscapes and Border-Bodies

“The project draws on political meanings of borders which are perpetually blurred and shifted in tidal geography of continuous phenomenological evolution undergoing cultural mummification and erasure of preexisting maps. In the societal porosity context, where we are witnessing a revival of “quick sand” cultural boundaries, I shall focus on the production of new map of borders, flows of non-targeted displacements and dislocations, indeterminate journeys and nostalgia for a lost space instigated by the political shattering of urban zones. The corpus of my research are social actors and artists inhabiting Istria region who are disintegrating, misplacing, reinventing and questioning invisible boundaries in urban landscapes and the interstice of artistic, nominal and liminal interpretations. I plan to elaborate interventions reflecting space, new monuments, mapping of memory, mental landscapes, re-formed urban spaces. The larger context remains in the European border politics emerged from spatial reconfigurations. I draw on Italian, Slovenian and Croatians artists inhabiting Istria arguing forms of belonging, artistic exile and self-definition that unveil interrelations of cultural mutation processes from common spatial memory towards transitory emotional memory. The goal is to rethink the interconnected mapping and bordering meanings, which have become marginalized, detached, diasporic but at the same time a center and a nucleus of creativity, ontological uncertainty, cognitive anxiety, diversifying identifications and proliferating movements and unpredictable trajectories in a city. The question I am tackling is: is it so important to draw boundaries, charts and maps when the world has turned culturally liminal, flow and creolizing?”

Marija Ott Franolić (University of Zagreb, Croatia)

Project – title: Read, Think, Act

“In an unstable and shifting world with growing social injustices, the ability to think critically and creatively, as well as to show solidarity with others, could be a path to social change. The aim of my research is to interdisciplinary connect Adorno’s concept of education for “general enlightenment” to the act of critical and creative reading. The questions are: can the merging of critical and literary theory give us some answers on how to enhance critical thinking? Can reading fiction encourage the development of open-minded, solidary people ready for change?

I shall define and analyze the connection between reading literature and becoming an autonomous subject. I will connect Adorno’s views to literary theory and phenomenology, in order to inspect how creative and critical reading of literature can heighten our empathy, along the lines of the theory of Martha Nussbaum. In the light of Marx’s claim that one should educate the educators, I will implement my theoretical findings at the critical reading workshop with the students of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rijeka. We will read creatively and try to imagine alternative, better ways of living.”

Mateja Kurir Borovčić (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Project – title: Architecture as ideology: The perspectives of critical theory from modernism to the present

“A basic entry point to reflect on architecture, which has always been deeply connected with ideology, in the realm of critical theory is explicated by Fredric Jameson in Political Unconscious:

How is it possible for a cultural text that fulfils a demonstrably ideological function, as a hegemonic work whose formal categories as well as its content secure the legitimation of this or that form of class domination – how is it possible for such a text to embody a properly utopian impulse, or to resonate a universal value inconsistent with the narrower limits of class privilege that inform its more immediate ideological vocation?

The ideological function of architecture is the key focus of this project. Architecture will be held here as a prominent theoretical ground for the spatial formation of ideology as such. Critical theory has largely elaborated on the formation and understanding of ideology within architecture during the age of modernism (Benjamin, Adorno) and postmodernism (Tafuri, Jameson), as well as in neoliberalism.

The aim of the project is to prepare an article outlining the basic reception of architecture in critical theory from modernism to the present, in order to reflect on architecture as a spatial formation of ideology in the age of neoliberalism, where architecture is established as one of the prominent battle fields of capitalism.

Mišo Kapetanović (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Project – title:  Regulation of Informal Construction in Anticipation of the European Capital of Culture Rijeka 2020

“Rijeka is an odd case in the wider Croatian context of informal construction development and regulation. During the period of its largest industrial growth in the 20th century, the city did not have a problem with informal construction to the same extent as other industrial centres like Zagreb, Osijek or Split (Vresk 1997, Vresk 1998). Still, several inner city and suburban neighbourhoods developed a significant number of informally constructed buildings (Pehlin, Rujevica, Grpci, Pilepići, Rubeši, Rešetari, Srdoči, Matulji, Kostrena). Individual informal construction is commonly held culpable for disrupting urban planning and infrastructure development. It often involves socially vulnerable segments of the population, such as ethnic minorities (particularly Roma), rural to urban migrants, precarious industrial workers and war refugees, making agency and vulnerability of the actors involved in the practice a complex question. As the current dynamics of informal construction regulation in the city are soon to be altered with preparations for European Capital of Culture – Rijeka 2020 (ECC), I am interested in the ways these preparations affect informal construction regulation. Major projects such as ECC aim to attract investments and publicity. Likewise, they are frequently used to solve cities long-term ills rapidly and can serve as a justification for large developments. My research project examines the consequences ECC will have on the development of the mentioned neighbourhoods and general public infrastructure in the city; how these effects distribute towards the city periphery; and what the dynamics may hold for minorities in the city.”

Davide Pala (University of Torino, Italy)

Project – title: Experts, Good Citizens, Democratic Public Debates and Global Warming

“Among climate experts there is an overwhelming consensus that (i) global warming is occurring, that (ii) this fact is alarming and that (iii) humans  are causally responsible for it. Despite this, 16% of American citizens deny that (i) global warming is occurring, 48% of them question (ii) its seriousness, and 50% think that (iii) human activity has no role in causing it (Anderson 2011). These discrepancies can be observed in many other countries as well. In this project I intend to provide a moral framework to assess the attitude of those citizens that, like American citizens, in democratic public debates concerning the elaboration of public policies, mistrust experts, i.e. trustworthy  epistemic  authorities,  in  regard  to  beliefs  that  are  justified and  almost undisputed within the scientific community. Moreover, I aim at employing this moral framework to evaluate the attitude of those citizens that mistrust climate experts, and I intend to outline some feasible proposals useful to counteract this attitude. To accomplish these aims, I will proceed in three steps. First, I will develop the non-exhaustive ideal of the good citizens publicly debating in democratic contexts. I will argue that, according to this non-exhaustive deal, as a necessary but not sufficient condition, in democratic public debates citizens show what I call the virtue of the epistemic trust in trustworthy epistemic authorities, as a way to respect themselves and each other as peers in circumstances of epistemic dependence. In more detail, by translating rawlsian ideas of both rationality and reasonableness into epistemic terms, and by broaden them in order to cover public debates too, I will show that the virtue of the epistemic trust in trustworthy epistemic authorities is required by two ideas specifying the non-exhaustive ideal of the good citizens publicly debating in democratic contexts, i.e. the idea of rational citizens, and the idea of reasonable citizens. Second, after elaborating this moral framework, I will employ it to assess the public mistrusting attitude showed, within  democratic  contexts,  by  citizens  toward climate experts, and argue that it is bad, because it shows the lack of the virtue of the epistemic trust in trustworthy epistemic authorities. Finally, I will outline some public and feasible strategies that should be used to modify this bad attitude.”