CAS SEE University of Rijeka fellowship

Back to the future – Livable life between nostalgia and utopia

As hundreds of representatives of civil society from Western Balkan countries assembled in Trieste for the Civil Society Forum, CAS co-organized a kick-off event which included the screening of the documentary “Trieste, Yugoslavia” and a lively debate themed “Back to the future – Livable life between nostalgia and utopia”. Introduced by Franz Karl Prueller of the ERSTE Foundation and Branka Panić from the European Fund for the Balkans, the event took place in the Revoltella Museum Gallery of Modern Art. CAS directors, staff, and fellows welcomed the diverse audience, which included civil society representatives from the region, academics and various local actors.

CAS’s choice of the documentary “Trieste, Yugoslavia” by Alessio Bozzer to open the discussions took advantage of the Forum’s special location in a city with an urban history closely intertwined with that of the Western Balkans. The documentary explored the particularly important role of Trieste for many Yugoslav citizens who traveled there during socialist time to buy goods, as the first city across a border which gradually became more open and more porous, rather unique in the overall context of the Cold War. The film pondered upon practices of border crossings and aspirations of shoppers and sellers alike. It touched upon the diverse experiences of people coming from republics close and far, to buy jeans or coffee, by car, train, or packed buses, creative strategies of coping with border regulations, while also mentioning the underlying tensions and discriminatory tones existing the host city regarding the visitors from the nearby country, with their alterity derived from ethnicity-based  stereotypes – with a longer history than the film alludes- and the ideological representations of a Cold War border. Ending abruptly with the scenes of emptied streets and stalls while wars descend upon former Yugoslavia and borders close, the film prompted a debate which shifted from nostalgia to utopia, perceptions from within the former Yugoslavia and the outer region, and musings of perspectives for freedom, equality and solidarity in the region.

 

The debate „Back to the future – Livable life between nostalgia and utopia” was moderated by CAS’s Vedran Džihić and featured special guest, Rade Šerbedžija, CAS SEE Honorary Fellow, Professor Emeritus at the University of Rijeka, who also appeared in the documentary. Vedran Džihić asked the panel, which also included Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, Chancellor, University of Rijeka, Marek Szilvasi, CAS SEE Fellow and Gruia Bădescu, CAS SEE Fellow, to spontaneously reflect on three concepts that relate both to the film and the challenges and opportunities of civil society in the Western Balkans: nostalgia for the past, utopias for the future, and the meaning of freedom in the contemporary context.  The panel participants first approached the film from their positionality: Snježana Prijić-Samaržija and Rade Šerbedžija as citizens of former Yugoslavia for whom both trips to Trieste and the discontinuities of the 1990s triggered memories and emotional reflections,  Marek Szilvasi and Gruia Bădescu as growing up in other socialist societies – Czechoslovakia and Romania, respectively- for which borders were distinctively rigid and for which Yugoslavia, with its open borders and closeness to the West exerted a particular fascination. The two CAS fellows also discussed the tensions that emerge from the film regarding material aspirations and disparities, ideological clashes, as well as in the difference between accounts of celebrated intellectuals and artists, and the anonymized shopper, who becomes a mere “witness” in the account of the film.

These tensions between whose stories, whose narratives, and whose nostalgia were to be discussed emerged throughout the debate. While common tropes of urban versus rural, kulturni and nekulturni ljudi, appeared as explanatory frameworks of 1990s events, Bădescu pointed out from his research in Sarajevo how nostalgias for a cosmopolitan past could also lead to different forms of exclusion of newcomers, burning possible bridges and utopias for what Hanna Arendt called a “world in common”.  Arendt was frequently mentioned by panelists, with Džihić inquiring about freedom from the perspective of both Arendt and material relations. Both Bădescu and Szilvasi addressed the question of freedom from its relationship to human dignity, equality and solidarity. Snježana Prijić-Samaržija brought forward the role of CAS as an institution which embodies the aspiration to research both issues surrounding the past as well as potentialities and utopias at the scale of Southeastern Europe. All throughout, Rade Šerbedžija’s interventions captured the lived experience of the events evoked in the film, nostalgia and exile, sublimated in creative acts, which included two live performances on stage of his songs. They included “Second Call”, which was translated in English and read by CAS Fellow Nataša Sardžoska. His second act, Djevojka iz moga kraja closed the debate, which was followed by a reception and a tour of the exhibit of the Revoltella Museum Gallery of Modern Art. The Civil Society Forum started the following morning, with Trieste again a stage of diverse people and perspectives from the Western Balkans.

 

Gruia Bădescu

Sites of memory and the criminalization of authoritarian pasts: Interrogating Goli Otok in a regional and transnational frame.

“A repertoire of transitional justice practices has been mobilized in the last decades in states that experienced various incarnations of authoritarian regimes, from Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe. From trials to incriminating reports, from lustration to political declarations, these past regimes have been the object of diverse practices and discourses of criminalization. One important aspect has been the memorialization of sites of political violence, which has been mobilized by an array of actors to suit particular narratives of criminalizing past regimes. In this global context, the debates surrounding the memorialization of Goli Otok in Croatia mirror a number of processes which occurred elsewhere, while deeply connected to the specificity of memory politics in Croatia and former Yugoslavia. A political prison for mainly socialist detainees after the Tito-Stalin split, Goli Otok has been marginal to local memorialization practices, but has recently became a locus of initiatives and narratives fitting different visions and agendas. In this presentation, based on ongoing research, I scrutinize strategies and motivations of a variety of actors, the idiosyncrasies of the Yugoslav and Croatian situation, while situating it in the larger context of Central and Eastern European regional criminalization of communism and in the transnational circulation of practices between memory regions. I discuss how perspectives of place and memorialization of sites contribute to our understanding of criminalization, and how the entanglements of memories and actors function at a variety of scales, reflecting on the spatialization of multidirectional memories.”


Gruia Bădescu’s research and practice bridge the spatial and the social, with a particular interest in how interventions in urban space relate to societal and political processes of dealing with a difficult past. After his BA in Geography and European Studies from Middlebury College and his MSc in City Design and Social Science from the Cities Programme at the LSE, he worked in urban design and integrated urban development in Romania, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova. He later conducted his PhD research at the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge, where he examined the relationship between the reconstruction of cities after war and the process of coming to terms with the past, with a focus on Belgrade and Sarajevo. In 2015-2016, Gruia was a Departmental Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Oxford, after which he embarked on a research project in Chile with an AHRC-Labex grant, exploring processes of memorialization of sites used for political violence during the military dictatorship and their transnational dimension, linking them with South-East Europe. Gruia joined CAS at Rijeka to continue his research around the debates on memorializing the site of Goli Otok, as well as to explore the heritage and memory dimension of urban transformations in Rijeka within the context of the European Capital of Culture.

 

II Ad-Ri SeminaRi

History&Culture Research Seminar-Ri(jeka) 2017

A CAS SEE Event. Conception FFRi History & Cultural Studies

List of the Discussants (in bold paper presenters and organizers)

Gruia Badescu (CAS, Rijeka), Carla Konta (Università di Trieste), Sarah Czerny (Filozofski Fakultet, Rijeka), Neža Čebron Lipovec (Univerza na Primorskem, Koper), Vanni D’Alessio (Filozofski Fakultet, Rijeka, Università di Napoli), Franko Dota (Filozofski Fakultet, Zagreb), Ivan Jeličić (Università di Trieste), Marko Klavora (History Museum of Nova Gorica), Jernej Kosi (University of Ljubljana, University of Graz), Mateja Kurir (CAS, Rijeka), Daša Ličen (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Institute of Slovenian Ethnology, Ljubljana), Gašper Mithans (ZRS Koper Capodistria), Gregor Moder (CAS, Rijeka), Marija Ott Franolić (CAS, Rijeka), Vjeran Pavlaković (Filozofski Fakultet, Rijeka), Tea Perinčić (Pomorski i povijesni Muzej Hrvatskog primorja, Rijeka), Nataša Sardžoska (CAS, Rijeka), Katja Hrobat Virloget (Univerza na Primorskem, Koper).

WORKSHOP SESSIONS

9.15  |  PLACE AND MEMORY SESSION (CAS SEE, Sveučilišni odjeli building, 8th floor)

  1. CAS SEE Scholar Session

GRUIA BADESCU

Sites of memory and the criminalization of authoritarian pasts: Interrogating Goli Otok in a regional and transnational frame

10.30 |  Coffee break

10.45  |  II. Transnational Adriatic Session

  • Between memories and oblivions. Istrian towns after population transfers in 20th century (Katja)
  • Koper: Population transfer and architecture after WW II (Neža)
  • Reinventing Habsburg Cuisine in 21st Century Trieste (Daša)

12.30 |  Lunch Break (Fusion, Kampus Trsat)

 14.00 | EVERYDAY HISTORIES SESSION  (CAS SEE, 8th floor)

  1. Interwar Post-Habsburg Societies
  • Transforming local identities: Prekmurje after the dissolution of Austria-Hungary (Jernej)
  • Religious changes in diocese of Trieste and Capodistria/Koper in interwar period (Gašper)
  1. Yugoslav Societies in War and Peace
  • The Burdens of Milkmaids: Analysing their Movement through the Concept of Flow (Sarah)
  • A “Pure and Chaste” Socialist Revolution: Sexuality and Warfare in the Yugoslav National Liberation War (NOR) (Franko)

16.30 |  SUMMER SESSION: PROJECTS RESULTS AND NEW RESEARCH DOCKYARDS

 (Locations to be confirmed: Part A: CAS SEE, Sveučilišni odjeli building, 8th floor,  Part B: Empeduja Beach Bar, Bivio, Kantrida)

  • Heroes we love? Monuments of the National-liberation movement in Istria between memories, care, and collective silence (Project results presentation, Neža & Katja)
  • ARSENALS OF NEW PROJECTS IN HISTORY AND ANTHROPOLOGY (Discussion on methodologies, possibilities, perspectives).

18.00 | SRDELE & MORE SESSIONs: Final Discussions, new projects, plans, conclusion & Grill

(Empeduja Beach Bar, Bivio, Kantrida)

FOR PARTICIPATION PLEASE CONTACT:  dalessio@ffri.hr

Civil Society Forum Trieste of the Western Balkans Summit Series

Screening of the documentary “Trieste, Yugoslavia”

Date: Monday, July 10, 2017

Venue: Revoltella Museum Gallery of Modern Art, Via Armando Diaz 27, Trieste


18.00 – 18.30 | Welcome speech

Franz Karl Prueller, ERSTE Foundation

Branka Panic, European Fund for the Balkans

18.30 – 20.30 | Screening of the documentary movie: “Trieste, Yugoslavia”

Discussion: „Back to the future – Livable life between nostalgia and utopia“; organized in cooperation with Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe (CAS SEE), University of Rijeka

Special guest: Rade Serbedzija, CAS SEE Honorary Fellow, Professor Emeritus at the University of Rijeka

Speakers:

Snjezana Prijic-Samarzija, Chancellor, University of Rijeka

Gruia Bădescu, CAS SEE Fellow, University of Rijeka

Marek Szilvasi, CAS SEE Fellow, University of Rijeka

Mateja Kurir, CAS SEE Fellow, University of Rijeka

Gregor Moder, CAS SEE Fellow, University of Rijeka

Marija Ott Franolic, CAS SEE Fellow, University of Rijeka

Natasha Sardzoska, CAS SEE Fellow, University of Rijeka

Moderator:

Vedran Dzihic, Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Vienna; CAS SEE, University of Rijeka


20.30 – 21.30 | Dinner Reception at the Revoltella Museum Gallery of Modern Art

MATEJA KURIR

Architecture as Ideology: the perspectives of critical theory (Benjamin and Adorno). An attempt

“The ideological attunement of architecture will be the key focus of the lecture, where the work of two promi-nent philosophers of critical theory on the topic of architecture, namely Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno, will be outlined. (more…)

2017-2018 CAS SEE FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS

The Center for Advanced Studies, Southeast Europe (CAS SEE) at the University of Rijeka is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017-2018 CAS SEE Fellowship Awards.

The purpose of the CAS SEE Fellowship Programme is to further the research or creative work in the humanities and humanistic social sciences in the Balkans. Fellows will present their work within the CAS-Collegium on a bi-weekly basis, creating an intellectually heterogeneous atmosphere and fostering a productive self-examination and even friction, which may lead to new and unexpected ideas and innovation.

Please join us in congratulating the following 2017-2018 Spring and Autumn CAS-SEE Fellowship Awards, University of Rijeka recipients:

Spring

Mateja Kurir Borovčić (Ljubljana, Slovenia) Architecture as ideology: the perspectives of critical theory from modernism to the present

Gruia Badescu (Oxford University, UK) Spatializing Cultural Policies and Activism in Croatia and Romania: A Comparative, Transnational Study

Marek Szilvasi (Budapest, Hungary) Between Commodity and Common Public Good: Access to Water and its Relevance for Roma People in Europe

Natasha Sardžoska (Skopje, Macedonia) Mapping of spatial memory in limitrophe cities, landscapes, borders and bodies in Istria

Gregor Moder (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) Critical Theory. Truth in Politics: Comedy, Sophistry and Critique

Marija Ott Franolić (Zagreb, Croatia) Read, Think, Act

Autumn

Milorad Kapetanović (London, UK) Regulation of Informal Construction in Rijeka in the Anticipation of European Capital of Culture Rijeka

Mónica Cano Abadía (Zaragoza, Spain) The Re-Radicalization of Critical Thinking: Toward a Global Social Justice

Chiara Destri (University of Milan, Italy) No Democracy For Devils: Democratic Authority, Citizenship and Parties

Caterina Bonora (University of Bremen; Jacobs University Bremen, Germany) Ne da(vi)mo Beograd and the “new wave” activism in the post-Yugoslav space 

Tom Whyman (University of Essex, UK) Research Proposal: Adorno’s Concept of Natural-History: Crisis and Critical Theory

Davide Pala (University of Torino, Italy) World Poverty, Radical Inequalities and Neo-Republicanism: What Does Non-Domination Normatively Demand and Institutionally Imply in regard to the Poorest?

Carlo Burelli (University of Milan, Italy) A Theory of Order 

Carlos González Villa

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. However, it quickly evolved into the enhancement of extremist positions and the ‘Fortress Europe’ pretension. The opposition to the limited relocation and resettlement plan of the European Commission – initially led by several Eastern European countries – 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 this seminar, I will discuss the suitability of the idea of fascism for denoting current political developments in Europe through the analysis of a peripheral country. Peripherality makes reference to dynamics of economic hierarchisation, but also to specific political dynamics, including, in the Slovene case, questions like the justification of the closure of the ‘Balkan route of refugees’ on the assumption of the government’s responsibility to protect the Schengen external border and the intention of remaining in the core of an eventual multi-speed Europe. The key point of the discussion consists on the identification of specific political processes and dynamics of social change beyond traditional categorisations of political actors, which have become increasingly blurred.”

Carlos González Villa is a postdoctoral fellow at the CAS SEE (University of Rijeka) and member of the Research Group on Current History. He completed his PhD in Political Science in 2014 at the Complutense University of Madrid, with a thesis that addressed the process of Independence of Slovenia and its international implications. He has a strong research interest in the foreign policy of the United States towards Yugoslavia during the crisis of the dissolution. He has recently started a new research line on the ideological drift of Eastern European elites. He has been a visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University (Washington DC) and the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana.

CAS-SEE Fellows Panel in Belgrade

CAS-SEE Fellows presented at the “Social Justice: New Perspectives, New Horizons” Conference in Belgrade (May, 4-6 2016).

Chair: Sanja Milutinović Bojanić

Dane Taleski, Dragan Tevdovski, Trajche Panov and Viktor Dimovski

Socially Impoverish and Entrap: A Strategy to Maintain a Hybrid Regime?

Some theories of democratization argue that quality of democracy and social equality are interrelated. The argument is that if the quality of democracy is higher, then inequalities will be lower because  redistribution in a democratic regime is more fair. Another argument is that if inequalities are higher, then this will increase social pressures for regime change. The idea is that people will revolt to improve their situation. The expected causal mechanism at work is that as people’s living condition worsen they will demand more democracy which, among other things, will deliver better redistribution. Why are then hybrid regimes maintained, if inequality is on the rise?

To answer the question we assume a nested research design. We first make a cross-country comparison and then we present an in-dept case study. In the cross-country comparison, we take countries in transition from East Central Europe, Southeastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent State and Russia. We measure quality of democracy using the Freedom House Nations in Transit Report from 2005 to 2015. To measure inequality we use World Bank Data for GINI coefficients and unemployment rates. The data seems to support the assumption that if the quality of democracy is higher, then inequality is lower. However, we then take a closer look at Macedonia, a case where inequality dramatically increased, but quality of democracy did not improve. In other words, Macedonia is a case where a sharp rise of inequality was accompanied with degradation of democracy.

The country introduced tax cuts which contributed toward the rise of inequality and poverty. At the same time, the government enacted policies to target benefits to different groups in society. However, the policies did not off-set the rise of inequality and poverty, but made the people more dependent on state patronage. We trace policy development and budget spending to show how policies were designed to target small portions of benefits to different groups in society, not to adjust for inequalities, but to make the people more dependent on social benefits. While democracy was deteriorating, the citizens were entrap. The outcome of the elaborate policy design was to gradually increase the serfdom of majority of the population from the elites.

Dragan Tevdovski, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economics, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.

Trajche Panov is a Doctoral Candidate at the European University Institute in Florence, and lecturer at the James Madison University.

Dane Taleski, PhD, is a Fellow at Centre for Advanced Studies in Southeast Europe, University of Rijeka, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz.


Ali Emre Benli

Theorizing Justice in Asylum Here and Now: A Social Choice Approach

Mainstream theorizing of justice in asylum provides guidance in addressing actual questions by first theorizing ideal principles that govern a perfectly just refugee regime and then deriving recommendation based on ideal principles. In this presentation, I first point out that mainstream theorizing is insufficient in addressing urgent and important questions such as the current situation of asylum seekers arriving at the borders of the European Union. The difficulty lies with finding an agreement on the superior principles of justice in asylum as well as regimes that may best implement them. Moreover, in the context of such disagreement, it is hard to create the political will required for their implementation. Then, I offer an alternative method based on Amartya Sen’s work on social choice approach to theorizing justice. I argue that we can reach partial agreements regarding the particular question at hand without reaching an overall agreement on the perfectly just refugee regime. The partial agreements point to ways to improve the status quo. In addition they give us sufficient moral reason not only for choosing one alternative course of action over the others, but also for demanding that others do the same.


Vladimir Unkovski-Korica

City Partnerships as Détente from Below? Twinning Bologna and Zagreb

This talk discusses a project, a work in progress, jointly developed by Dr Eloisa Betti and Dr Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, about the twinning of Bologna and Zagreb in the Cold War. Town twinning in the interwar period of the twentieth century developed as a civic notion to promote peace and a common identity in Europe, especially in France and Germany. This paper looks at a similar attempt to create links between Italian and Yugoslav cities, following the Second World War and territorial disputes following it. Nonetheless, it also argues that Cold War questions differentiated twinning from the interwar experiment. The talk therefore interrogates to what extent the links set up between Bologna and Zagreb can be seen as an early form of détente as various actors responded to the logic of a bipolar world. It also asks whether the hope of ‘détente from below’ was in fact utopian in the context of international economic inequalities, and therefore a harbinger of what we now know as globalisation.


Nuri Ali Tahir

Fighting Injustice Through Health Care Reform: How to Understand Social Injustice and Recent Reforms in American Health Care System

Social injustice and its components are being discussed more often today where state authorities are having trouble to provide equal and fair access to the citizens for certain services. In countries where there are political actors that resist to some regulations fighting injustice, the case might lead to political polarization and eventually defend the status-quo in which injustice prevails.  Recently, with its limited accesss and high costs, US health care system became the most important topic in the American public policy. Problematic access to health care services and the lack of universal health insurance resulted with almost 50 million people having unpaid bills to the hospitals. Democrats and Republicans had huge debate regarding the Affordable Health Care Act which is also known as Obama Care. While Democrats defended state subsidy to help poor people, Republicans strictly opposed this policy and government aid to help defray health insurance costs. The sutation becomes even more complex if we include other people such as legal residents and immigrant communities. This paper will focus on the chronic problems of American health care system and its accessibility by the poor people. Democrat and Republican positions will be evaluated based on their view towards equal access to the health care services by the citizens and other immigrant communities.