Nataša Sardžoska

Fellows at the “TESTIMONY. POETRY. LANGUAGE.” Conference

The conference investigated the concept of testimony, notably war testimony, from different perspectives, i.e., literature, philosophy, sociology and political activism.

The first day of the conference and a roundtable on the third day were entirely devoted to the analysis of the holocaust poet Paul Celan through the contributions of Sue Vice, Pajari Räsänen, Matthew Boswell and Nina Čolović. A philosophical analysis of Celan’s poetry was provided by Petar Bojanić, while Bertrand Badiou was a key figure, providing testimony of Paul Celan’s poetry and biography.

The second day, with panels chaired by CAS Fellows Mónica Cano Abadía and Olimpia Loddo, focused on the role played by poetry in the testimony of the Yugoslav war. A first-hand testimony was offered by the Bosnian writer Asmir Kujović, while Lidija Dimkovska, a Macedonian writer based in Slovenia, paid a moving tribute to a long list of writers that are the voice of a post-Yugoslav languages. Andrijana Kos-Lajtman analyzed the influence of Dadaism on Manifest Mlade Bosne by Darko Cvijetić. Senadin Musabegović described the role played by poetry in testifying the real face of nationalism.

In the panel “Rhetoric, Politics and Poetry after Yugoslav Wars,” Jay Surdukowski showed how Radovan Karadžić used poetry to justify his war crimes. In her presentation To War or to Write, Elizabeta Šeleva described poetry as a means to redesign reality through the creation of an alternative “literary ought.” Goran Lazičić described the rhetoric and politics of testimony in the novels of the Serbian writers Svetislav Basara and David Albahari.

During the third day of the conference, with panels chaired by CAS Fellow Davide Pala, Olivera Marković-Savić showed the use and misuse of the term ‘veteran’ after the end of the Yugoslavian war, and she stressed the legal misrecognition of veterans by the Serbian state. Šeherzada Džafić talked about poetry focussing on war as a powerful form of both testimony and ethical learning, while Selma Zilić Šiljak presented the clash between dominant narratives of war and the horizontal and private accounts of it in Velika Kladuša.

In the first panel of the fourth and last day, chaired by CAS Fellow Mišo Kapetanović, Cornelia Grabner gave voice to the Movement for Peace in Mexico, while Robert von Hallberg focused on the relationship between testimony and poetry in the US. Danijela Majstorović shared her research on the construction of the Yugoslav new woman and the role of the Women’s Antifascist Front (AFŽ). Marzuq Al Halabi talked about Mahmoud Darwish, the prophet of the Palestinian revolution who created a bridge between Palestine and other international movements.

The last panel, chaired by Marco Abram (Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso), revolved around memorial sites in Rwanda (Matthew Boswell) and the role of women poets in the peace process in Colombia (Cherilyn Elston). Afterwards, Djurdja Trajković moderated a roundtable in which the role of poetry as a form of testimony was discussed. A poetry reading about conflicts in peripheral capitalism closed the conference.

After the conference, the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory of Belgrade hosted one workshop and two lectures. The workshop consisted in a critical discussion of the important book “Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities” by Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein. Fourteen commentators highlighted different aspects of it, e.g., the relation between race and nation (e.g., Carlo Burelli, Davide Pala), on the one hand, and the link between race and gender, on the other hand (e.g., Mónica Cano Abadía). Djurdja Trajković closed the workshop by stressing the strict historical connections between nationalism, racism, and classism. The first lecture, given by Manuela Bojadžijev and entitled “Is (neo-)racism a form of violence of the past?”, provided a conceptualization of the distinctive features of racism and a great overview of the main literature analyzing racism from the 50’s onwards. The second lecture, given by Sanja Milutinović Bojanić and entitled “Rhetoric of Emancipation vs. Rhetoric of Misogyny”, showed the central traits of the rhetoric of both emancipation and misogyny and illustrated them through the analysis of several historical occurrences of both emancipation and misogyny.

– CAS SEE Fellows

“Race, Nation, Class’: Ambiguous Identities” international seminar with CAS SEE fellows

The coming year will mark three decades since the publication of Immanuel Wallerstein’s and Etienne Balibar’s seminal work Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. The book, characterized by a specific ”dialogical” structure, has become influential in the study of racism and in the interdisciplinary school of cultural studies. The publication of the work was preceded by a series of Wallerstein’s and Balibar’s debates at the Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris between 1985 and 1987. In the course of these encounters, the two authors developed the unique dialogical method, the ”practice-of-theory”, which consisted in the gradual elaboration and intertwining of the three fundamental concepts – race, nation and class – through simultaneous historical-empirical and theoretical analyses.

Wallerstein and Balibar formulate in this study a complex analysis of the roles that the classificatory schemes of race, nation and class played in the process of the genesis and global spreading of capitalism, above all their role in legitimizing the extreme social inequalities that capitalism produces and deepens. Upon the analysis, the authors’ central theoretical claim is that one can identify fissures, ruptures and contradictions in the fabric of the conceptual and empirical inter-imbrication of the three categories, suggesting that any strategy of resistance to forms of social domination grounded in the race-nation-class nexus must identify and exploit these contradictions. The authors finally draw our attention to the fact that the race-nation-class constellation is constantly being reinforced in global capitalism, which also requires constant reflection about new strategies of resistance.

The seminar at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory aims to comprehensively reflect on the relevance and heuristic value of Wallerstein’s and Balibar’s study for the present day. Within its temporal limits, the seminar will try to employ the ”practice-of-theory” method of the book in its analysis and attempts at re-actualization. The participants are invited to engage in forms of critical reconstruction, either of particular aspects of the book or its whole, and to explore avenues for the possible application of Wallerstein’s and Balibar’s perspective in analyzing manifold ways in which the fundamental categories of race, class and nation are (individually or synthetically) today used to legitimize or challenge capitalism, globally as well as in the region of former Yugoslavia.

Time: December 18th 2017 at 14:30

Venue: Belgrade, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory (address: Kraljice Natalije 45, 4th Floor)

Program

14:30 – 14:40  | Welcome Word – Petar Bojanić (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)

14:40 – 15:00  | Introductory Remarks – Manuela Bojadžijev (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations-und Migrationsforschung, BIM)

15:00 – 15:20  | Regional Reception – Marjan Ivković i Djurdja Trajković (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)

15:20 – 15:35  | Coffee break

15:40 – 19:00  | Reflections on the Book

Participants

Rastko Močnik (University of Ljubljana and Faculty for Media and Communication, Singidunum University, Slovenia and Serbia), Gordan Maslov (Center for Social and Humanities Research, Croatia), Valida Repovac Nikšić (Faculty of Political Science, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Nataša Sardžoska (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Vedran Džihić (University of Vienna, Austria; Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Petar Bojanić (IFDT), Marjan Ivković (IFDT), Srdjan Prodanović (IFDT), Djurdja Trajković (IFDT), Jelena Vasiljević (IFDT), Adriana Zaharijević (IFDT), Carlo Burelli (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Mónica Cano (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Davide Pala (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia)

Organizing Committee

Petar Bojanić (Center for Ethics, Law and Applied Philosophy; Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)

Djurdja Trajković (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)

Marjan Ivković (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)

Partners

Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade

Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe (CAS SEE), University of Rijeka

Support

Seminar is supported by Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKV), Berlin