Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe

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.

Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture

FASHION WEEK – WINTER 2016

Fashion week – Winter 2016 is a seasonal event which took place on December 19 – 20, 2016, at the OKC Palach in Rijeka. The Winter 2016 pilot edition presented us with a two day display of the basic themes and concepts of the Sweet & Salt Flagship, including the theoretical background of the planned urban reinvention of the part of the city where the river meets the sea.

The lead project host of the Sweet & Salt flagship is the Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe at the University of Rijeka. The flagship is striving to produce multiple projects that will honour the memory of forlorn spaces, while inspiring modern urban planning within the program of Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture. The 6-year flagship, guided by architect Idis Turato, will aim to engage citizens in critical debates about their urban environment, stimulated by various artistic interventions.

Fashion week

The first day of the Winter 2016 edition introduced the inspiring works of 9th semester architecture students (Faculty of Architecture, University of Zagreb), presented at an exhibition at the SKC Gallery and thoroughly discussed during five panels by a selection of international experts in the fields of architecture and urban planning, followed by critical debates with their mentors and professors. The first day concluded with the Urban Update / Upgrade public debate, a discussion which hosted the esteemed architects and art historians Simon Hartmann, Maroje Mrduljaš, Dinko Peračić and Luka Skansi.

izlozba Vi ste sada ovdje

The program of the second day of the Winter 2016 edition was publicly accessible, commencing with the presentation of the art exhibition Vi ste sada ovdje (You Are Now Here by Vuk Ćosić) featuring historical and geographic maps of Rijeka and the surrounding region. The exhibition can be viewed at the Plavi salon Gallery at the Rijeka City Hall and will remain open until the end of January 2017 (every Wednesday from 4.00 to 6.00 pm at the address Korzo 16). The Winter 2016 program continued with multiple panels focusing on the current (real) state of cities within the region and the future (speculative) realities. The Rijeka ECOC 2020 – Amplifier of Urban Reinvention public debate hosted Emina Višnić (Director of Rijeka ECOC 2020), Vojko Obersnel (Mayor of Rijeka), Neil Peterson (Liverpool ECOC 2008), Janez Koželj (Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana) and, encouraged by Vuk Ćosić’s moderation (Rijeka ECOC 2020), provided a chance to chart both the inspiring possibilities and the evident challenges of the urban reinvention which the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project will ensure.

Aktionstage: Refugees – Migration – Democracy

The first panel of the Aktionstage: Refugees – Migration – Democracy Symposium held at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, entitled (Not) Learning from history, part I: Yugoslav refugee crisis – how Europe dealt with it from left to right, moderated by Vedran Džihić (CAS SEE, University of Rijeka, oiip, Vienna) included the presentations of Zoran Slavinić (REMESO, Linköping University), Branka Likić-­Brborić (REMESO, Linköping University) and Melita H. Sunjic (UNHCR, Vienna) that engaged both listeners and speakers in debates on the changing nature of European democracy in the midst of the ongoing refugee crisis.

The second panel, (Not) Learning from history, part II: Integration and democracy from left to right, moderated by Sanja Bojanić (CAS SEE, University of Rijeka) delt with the nature of the contemporary demos. The panel provided experts from various disciplines: Ilker Ataç (University of Vienna), Gudrun Biffl (Danube University Krems), Holly Case (IWM, Brown University) and Li Bennich-­Björkman (Department of Government, Uppsala University) with the opportunity to offer sensible and culturally diverse outlooks on political participation, contribution and agency. Their explorations of the topics of political optimism, institutional control and emotional engagement provided a fascinating basis for further discussions about the proper response to the refugee crisis.

The third panel, Demos – Who belongs to the political community? moderated by Gerd Valchars (Initiative Minderheiten, Vienna) included presentations of Hedvig Morvai (European Fund for the Balkans, Belgrade), Katharine Sarikakis (University of Vienna) and Snježana Prijić-­Samaržija (CAS SEE, University of Rijeka).

Snjezana Prijic-Samarzija

At the conference, the co-director of the Center for Advanced Studies SEE, professor Snježana Prijić-Samaržija presented her answer to the problem of belonging to a political community. Prijić-Samaržija’s presentation approached the issue of migration from an institutional perspective, questioning the legitimacy of someone’s right to impose limits on the freedom of movement. Throughout the speech, she explored the legitimacy of unilateral prohibitive decisions made by particular states and the implications of their unsustainable one-dimensionality, juxtaposing them with the notion of migration as a basic human right. Should we choose to view the right to seek better political and economic conditions as a manifestation of contemporary social mobility, we would need to address the option that nobody can legitimately limit the movement of others. Striving to reach a balanced conclusion, Prijić-Samaržija proposed delegating the issue of migrations to international institutions capable of adjusting the subjective interests of particular states to the interests of migrants. Relating to the broader topic of the conference, she emphasized the necessary hierarchy of urgency between the migration of genuine refugees, low-skilled workers escaping poverty and high-skilled experts seeking better payment. Her presentation incited many responses from the audience, leading to a discussion about the nature of credible international institutions and the danger of excessive euro centrism.

History Rijeka Seminars – Riječki SeminaRi

The History Rijeka Seminars – Riječki SeminaRi are jointly organized by the Department of History (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) and the Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe (CAS SEE) at the University of Rijeka, Croatia.
The first seminar was held on Thursday, June 30, 2016 at the Department of Art History (4th Floor, Room 470) at the Faculty for Humanities and Social Sciences.

First Session / 09.15 am

“Raša, remnant infrastructure, and the mental re-mapping of a Fascist New Town” by Matt Worsnick (Parsons School of Design / SVA MA in Design Research Writing and Criticism, New York) in dialogue with Luka Skansi (Department of Art History, Rijeka) and Vanni D’Alessio (Department of History, Rijeka).
The seminar was divided in three different sessions: Architect and Historian Matt Worsnick (New York) presented a segment of his research on architecture in contested territories in the Adriatic during Fascist Italian and Socialist Yugoslavian sovereignty, and in particular disussed the case the Istrian mining town of Raša/Arsia, established during the Italian fascist regime and functioning during Socialist Yugoslavia.
Luka Skansi (Rijeka, Venice, Ljubljana) and Vanni D’Alessio (Rijeka, Naples) commented his research.

Second Session / 10.45 am

“Western Soft Powers in Socialist Yugoslavia: Diplomatic Influences and Cultural Encounters”

Participants

Carla Konta (University of Trieste and Rijeka): “Playing the Political Neutrality. The American Notes between Sound Diplomacy and Yugoslav Boundaries of Freedom”
Nela Erdeljac (University of Zagreb): “American Jazz and the Sound Diplomacy in Cold War Yugoslavia” in dialogue with Francesca Rolandi (Dept. of History, Rijeka; Author of Con ventiquattromila baci. L’influenza della cultura di massa italiana in Jugoslavia, Bologna 2015)

The second session was based on the researches on cultural and public diplomacy, music and other American influences in former Yugoslavia by Carla Konta (Trieste and Rijeka) and Nela Erdeljac (Zagreb), who presented a portion of their PhD projects, in dialogue with Francesca Rolandi, author of Con ventiquattromila baci. L’influenza della cultura di massa italiana in Jugoslavia, Bologna 2015), a book on the influences of Italian popular culture in 1950’s-1960’s Yugoslavia.

Third Session / 02.00 pm

Roundtable: “Exploring Socialist and Yugoslav Rijeka and Beyond”

Participants

Vanni D’Alessio, Andrea Roknić Bežanić and Marco Abram (Department of History, Rijeka), Brigitte Le Normand (U. British Columbia, Kelowna).

The last session was dedicated to new researches on Socialist and Yugoslav Rijeka. Vanni D’Alessio and Andrea Roknić Bežanić, both assisting professors at the Department of History and former CAS SEE Fellow Marco Abram, a research scholar of the same department, along with Brigitte Le Normand (U. British Columbia, Kelowna). During this session Brigitte Le Normand, Vanni D’Alessio, and Dorjan Lečki (U. British Columbia, Kelowna) presented and discussed with the audience the Interactive map project  Rijeka/Fiume, a Historical Map.

Rijeka/Fiume, a Historical Map

Rijeka/Fiume, a Historical Map