On Thursday, May 30th, 2024 at 12:00 (CET), we are hosting the CAS SEE Seminar with Aida Kapetanović on The River Guardians: Local Environmental Struggles in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia in conversation with the RECAS Fellow Josef Djordjevski.

Hana Ćurak

Aida Kapetanović

Aida Kapetanović is a PhD candidate in Political Science and Sociology at Scuola Normale Superiore (Florence, Italy) and a member of COSMOS, the Centre on Social Movement Studies of Florence. Her doctoral research investigates the recent environmental struggles in defense of the rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Her focus is on the cultural and symbolic dimensions of collective action. She holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Research and Studies on Eastern Europe (MIREES) from the University of Bologna. Her research interests include social movements, environmental activism, cultural and symbolic dimensions of mobilization, nationalism and identity building in Southeastern European contexts.

About the Seminar

Neoliberal responses to the global climate crisis have spurred a wave of investments in small hydropower plants across the Western Balkans. Spanning hundreds of pristine rivers and streams, these projects faced opposition from inhabitants in peripheral rural areas, gaining support from environmental activists, NGOs, and experts. Exploring the cultural repertoires of the mobilizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, this research aims at understanding the evolution of localized struggles into broader environmental movements. It argues that collective action was triggered by place-based collective identities mediated by locals’ attachment to the rivers. However, in challenging ideas of exclusive local belonging, the River Guardians embraced all those who felt deprived of their rivers, identities, and sovereignty. The rivers emerged as a unifying force propelling a collective struggle for environmental justice.

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Fellowships are supported by OSF Western Balkans, ERSTE Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

UNIRI The Moise Palace: Cres Island

An education center of the University of Rijeka. A five-hundred-year-old patrician townhouse and the largest Renaissance palace on the Croatian islands. A venue and forum for various scientific and research activities, it welcomes visiting academics, students and scholars.