Francesca Rolandi

CAS SEE Seminars with Guests: Pamela Ballinger

On Thursday, February 11th at 3:30 pm (CET), we hosted CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Pamela Ballinger. After a brief introduction on the ‘Unlikely refuge?’ project by Michal Frankl (principal investigator), Pamela Ballinger (University of Michigan) presented her book ‘The World Refugees Made: Decolonization and the Foundation of Postwar Italy’ (2020), in dialogue with Doina Anca Cretu and Francesca Rolandi (members of the ‘Unlikely refuge?’ project).

The seminar was organized in cooperation between the Center for Advanced Studies Southeastern Europe and the ERC project ‘Unlikely refuge?. Refugees and citizens in East-Central Europe in the 20th century’ (, hosted by the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences.  

In her recent book, The World Refugees Made: Decolonization and the Foundation of Postwar Italy, Pamela Ballinger recuperates the histories of so-called “national refugees” who arrived on the Italian peninsula from the various possessions in Africa and the Balkans that Italy lost as a result of defeat in World War II. Locating these migrants within the vast population of displaced persons in Europe after 1945, the study analyzes the emergence and consolidation of distinctions between “national” and “foreign” refugees, together with respective regimes of humanitarian assistance (those run by states for their own displaced citizens, those under the aegis of international UN agencies). The exclusion of Italian and other national refugees from classification as international refugees proved complex and laborious, involving a wide range of international, intergovernmental and state actors who sharpened their categories for eligibility and relief through such debates. Simultaneously, assuming the burden of care for its own refugees served as an instrument through which the new Italian Republic asserted its sovereignty and reframed citizenship after empire. Ultimately, the Italian state’s experience of resettling migrants from its former territories reinforced restrictive policies towards foreign refugees, for whom Italy became an unlikely (i.e. rare and difficult) refuge for much of the Cold War. 

Pamela Ballinger is Professor of History and the Fred Cuny Chair in the History of Human Rights in the Department of History at the University of Michigan. She holds degrees in Anthropology (B.A. Stanford University, M. Phil Cambridge University, M.A. Johns Hopkins University) and a joint Ph.D. in Anthropology and History (Johns Hopkins). She is the author of History in Exile: Memory and Identity at the Borders of the Balkans (Princeton University Press, 2003), La Memoria dell’Esilio (Veltro Editrice, 2010), and The World Refugees Made: Decolonization and the Foundation of Postwar Italy (Cornell University Press, 2020). She has published in a wide range of journals, including Austrian History Yearbook, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Contemporary European History, Current Anthropology, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Journal of Refugee Studies, Journal of Tourism History, and Past and Present. Her areas of expertise include human rights, forced migration, refugees, fascism, seaspace, and modern Mediterranean and Balkan history.


Watch the CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Pamela Ballinger:

CAS SEE Seminars With Guests – Federico Giulio Sicurella

On Thursday, January 21st at 10 am (CET), we hosted CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Federico Giulio Sicurella in dialogue with Dimitris Serafis (University of Malta), and Francesca Rolandi (Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences – Center for Advanced Studies Rijeka).

The seminar was dedicated to the presentation of Sicurella’s new book – Speaking for the Nation. Intellectuals and nation-building in the post-Yugoslav space that explores the nexus of intellectual activity and nation-building from a critical discourse-analytical perspective. By examining how public intellectuals from Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina commented on key national events in editorials and opinion pieces, it offers unique insights into contemporary nation-building discourses in an enlarging Europe. Through a detailed reconstruction of the debates concerning the selected events, the book also provides fresh empirical evidence of the implications and challenges of post-socialist transition, post-conflict reconciliation, democratization, and European integration in the post-Yugoslav region. Its versatile framework, which innovatively combines sociological and linguistic approaches to the discursive positioning of intellectuals, may be readily applied to the analysis of intellectual engagement with current affairs and public life in general.

Federico Giulio Sicurella is a researcher, lecturer, and consultant in critical discourse studies. He holds an MA in democracy and human rights in South East Europe (University of Sarajevo & University of Bologna) and a PhD in linguistics (Lancaster University). His research focuses on intellectual activity in post-socialist transitional societies, the discursive construction of national history and identity, as well as on media and public discourses on EU enlargement, democratization, and human rights. He is currently a research fellow at the University of Milano-Bicocca, working on issues of tolerance, solidarity, and migration in Europe.

Watch the CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Federico Giulio Sicurella:

CAS SEE Seminars with Guests – Dominique Kirchner Reill

On Thursday, January 14th at 10 am (CET), we hosted CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Dominique Kirchner Reill, in dialogue with Natka Badurina (University of Udine), Ivan Jeličić (Institute of Political History Budapest), and Francesca Rolandi (Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences – Center for Advanced Studies Rijeka). The seminar was dedicated to the presentation of Reill’s new book – The Fiume Crisis.

The Fiume Crisis recasts what we know about the birth of fascism, the rise of nationalism, and the fall of empire after World War I by telling the story of the three-year period when the Adriatic city of Fiume (today Rijeka, in Croatia) generated an international crisis.

In 1919 the multicultural former Habsburg city was occupied by the paramilitary forces of the flamboyant poet-soldier Gabriele D’Annunzio, who aimed to annex the territory to Italy and became an inspiration to Mussolini. Many local Italians supported the effort, nurturing a standard tale of nationalist fanaticism. However, Dominique Kirchner Reill shows that practical realities, not nationalist ideals, were in the driver’s seat. Support for annexation was largely a result of the daily frustrations of life in a “ghost state” set adrift by the fall of the empire. D’Annunzio’s ideology and proto-fascist charisma notwithstanding, what the people of Fiume wanted was prosperity, which they associated with the autonomy they had enjoyed under Habsburg sovereignty. In these twilight years between the world that was and the world that would be, many across the former empire sought to restore the familiar forms of governance that once supported them. To the extent that they turned to nation-states, it was not out of zeal for nationalist self-determination but in the hope that these states would restore the benefits of cosmopolitan empire.

Against the too-smooth narrative of postwar nationalism, The Fiume Crisis demonstrates the endurance of the imperial imagination and carves out an essential place for history from below.

Dominique Kirchner Reill received her PhD with Distinction from Columbia University and is currently Associate Professor of Modern European History at the University of Miami. Her first book, Nationalists Who Feared the Nation: Adriatic Multinationalism in Habsburg Dalmatia, Trieste, and Venice, was published by Stanford University Press in 2012 and received the 2014 Book Prize from the Center for Austrian Studies, as well as Honorable Mention from the 2012 Smith Award. Her new book, The Fiume Crisis: Life in the Wake of the Habsburg Empire, comes out December 1, 2020 with Harvard University’s Belknap Press. She is an Associate Review Editor for the American Historical Review, editor for the Purdue University Press book series Central European Studies, and member of the editorial board for the Cambridge University Press journal Contemporary European History. Currently, she is a Visiting Scholar at the European University Institute, Fiesole, where she is working on her next book tentatively titled The Habsburg Mayor of New York: Fiorello LaGuardia.

Photo by Lia Avant Photodesign

Watch the CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Dominique Kirchner Reill:


CAS SEE Seminars with Guests: Rijeka in Flux

On Thursday, November 26th, at 6 pm CET, we hosted CAS SEE Seminar with Brigitte Le Normand, Jon Corbett, Vanni D’Alessio, and Francesca Rolandi; the talk revolved around Rijeka in Flux project.

In addition to coordinating a team of historians researching the history of postwar Rijeka, the project Rijeka in Flux, supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, explores innovative ways of communicating history to a larger public. Elaborating on the concept of space, and bringing together historical and geographical knowledge, as well as expertise from the digital humanities, the project has produced two digital tools. An interactive map based on crowdsourcing, developed between 2015 and 2017, allows the user to upload and share contents on the city’s history, thus giving space to different memories and narratives. More recently, an augmented reality mobile phone app, which will be soon released, provides the user with the opportunity to have an embodied experience of the past, either autonomously, or guided by a historian. How can public history benefit from the digital humanities? What challenges has the project encountered, and what has it learned from them?


Brigitte Le Normand (University of British Columbia Okanagan)

Jon Corbett (University of British Columbia Okanagan)

Vanni D’Alessio (University of Naples – Center for Advanced Studies South East Europe)

Francesca Rolandi (Center for Advanced Studies South East Europe – University of British Columbia Okanagan)

Brigitte Le Normand is Associate Professor of History, and Academic Director of the Public Humanities Hub at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.  Since 2015, she has been exploring the potential of interactive maps for changing our understanding of the past, using Rijeka as a case study.

Jon Corbett is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. He the director of the Spatial Information for Community Engagement (SpICE) Lab. His work explores how digital maps can be used by communities to document, store and communicate their spatial knowledge.

Vanni D’Alessio teaches Modern and Contemporary History at the Department of Social Sciences of the University of Naples, where he also leads the Digital History Laboratory. He is one of the authors of the digital historical map “Rijeka-Fiume, a Historical Narrative” and one of the researchers involved in the elaboration of the texts for the smartphone application “Rijeka Fiume App”

Francesca Rolandi is a joint fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies South East Europe and the University of British Columbia Okanagan. She has contributed to the mobile phone application “Rijeka Fiume App” with markers and a guided tour, and took part in the related communication activities and strategies.

Spring – Autumn 2019 CAS SEE Fellowship Recipients

The Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe (CAS SEE) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Spring – Autumn 2019 CAS SEE Fellowship Awards at the University of Rijeka. The purpose of the CAS SEE Fellowship Programme is to further the research and creative work in the fields of the humanities and humanistic social sciences in the Balkans. Fellows will present their work within the CAS-Collegium, creating an intellectually heterogeneous atmosphere and fostering a productive self-examination or even friction, which may lead to new and unexpected ideas and innovation.

Please join us in congratulating the following CAS SEE Fellowship Awards, University of Rijeka recipients:

Bojan Baca (York University, Canada)

Project – title: “Digitalization of the Marketplace of (Reactionary) Ideas: The Alt-Right as a Political Ideology, Social Movement, and Counter-Culture”

Monica Cano Abadia (University of Zaragoza, Spain)

Project – title: “New Materialist Cartographies of Patterns of Exclusion in Digital Environments”

Guglielmo Feis (University of Milan, Italy)

Project – title: “Channeling Social Justice through the Blockchain? A Critical Review of the Potentiality of Distributed Ledger Technology (DTL) in Reducing Financial Inequalities and Improve the Access to Financial Information”

Ivan Flis (Utrecht University, Netherlands)

Project – title: “Open Science as a Movement of Digital Disruption”

Greta Favara (University of Milan, Italy)

Project – title: “Normative Political Theory and the Public Role of the Theorist”

Natasha Jankovic (University of Belgrade, Serbia)

Project – title:Rijeka: an experimental field of concrete utopia”

Nilay Kilinc (University of Surrey, UK)

Project – title: “Highly-Skilled Turkish Migrants’ Search for Alternative Diaspora Spaces in Europe: How They Build (Digital) Social Networks Beyond the ‘Culture of Rejection’”

Dragana Kovačević Bielicki (University of Oslo, Norway)

Project – title: “Mapping the anti-migrant protests in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina through their online media coverage (2015-present)”

Massimo Leone (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)

Project – title: “Democracy and Trolling in Internet Threads (DETROIT)”

Andrey Menshikov (Ural State University, Russia)

Project – title: “Unequal Distribution of Religious Freedom in the Discourse on Human Rights”

Valentina Moro (University of Padova, Italy)

Project – title: “Deconstructing Languages of Rejection: a Political Theory Analysis of Feminist Discourses and Methodologies”

Sabino Paparella (University of Bari, Italy)

Project – title: “Political Disintermediation in the Digital Era”

Roberto Roccu (LSE, London, UK)

Project – title: “Comparative Political Economies of Lost Hope: Subaltern Trajectories of Inequality, Transformation and Rejection from the Arab Uprisings to Crisis Europe”

Oszkar Roginer (University of Graz, Austria)

Project – title: “Cultures of Rejections – (self)perception of minorities and knowledge production”

Francesca Rolandi (University of Milan, Italy)

Project – title: “Doš’o sam u grad iz pasivnog kraja. Internal Migration, Settlement Dynamics and Social Practices in post-World War II Rijeka”

Snezana Vesnic (University of Belgrade, Serbia)

Project – title: “Positive European Futures: Creating New Concepts for the Transformation and Redefinition of Digital European Values Case study: Rijeka Between Analog and Digital”


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”


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”


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