This lecture examines how various commemorative events have taken on new meanings and significance in post‐communist Croatia and other Yugoslav successor states. Politicized rituals at various “sites of memory” (Pierre Nora’s lieux de mémoire) symbolize the divided social memory and contested histories of World War Two. The nationalization of victims, and the manipulation of the number of victims, particularly at the emotionally powerful sites of Jasenovac and Bleiburg, characterizes the commemorations and debates surrounding them. In the context of Croatia’s painful post‐communist transition, bloody war for independence, and challenging democratization process, World War Two commemorations have been illustrative of how political rituals reflect (as well as influence) Croatian society’s understanding of the recent past and national identity. The challenge for ensuring a stable democracy in Croatia is in building a consensus regarding the past, or at least creating an atmosphere of open dialogue rather than the violence seen throughout the twentieth century.
Dr. Vjeran Pavlakovic (University of Rijeka)
Vjeran Pavlaković is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of Rijeka, Croatia. He received his PhD in History in 2005 from the University of Washington, and has published articles on the politics of memory, World War Two commemorations, the political impact war of the ICTY, and Yugoslavs in the Spanish Civil War. Recent publications include Twilight of the Revolutionaries: Naši Španci and the End of Yugoslavia (Europe-Asia Studies, 2010), Conflict, Commemorations, and Changing Meanings: The Meštrović Pavilion as a Contested Site of Memory (Tihomir Cipek, ed., Kultura sjećanja 1991, 2011), and “Symbols and the Culture of Memory in Republika Srpska Krajina” forthcoming in Nationalities Papers.
Time and location:
18.00 hr, Van der Leeuwzaal (Academy Building)
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