Nationalism and the Politicization of History in the Former Yugoslavia. Edited by Gorana Ognjenovic and Jasna Jozelic

    Explores how nationalists in the former Yugoslavia have politicized history and historical narratives for political gain

    Draws on examples from all of the former Yugoslav republics

    Gathers contributions from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives

“This book is very timely: the instrumentalization of history for political goals has become a pressing issue and worrisome feature of many polities, to the point of challenging even the most consolidated democracies. Focusing on Yugoslavia’s fragile successor states, the authors explore plurifold analytical levels, including local, regional, transnational, European and global perspectives. The authors comprehensively demonstrate how politicizing history, in the postwar and postcommunist societies of what was once Yugoslavia, has prevented both reconciliation and democratization.”

Sabine Rutar, Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Germany

“Ognjenovic and Jozelic focus here on the former Yugoslavia before and after its fragmentation to explore and evaluate the various uses of histories by nationalists, both those who promoted ‘federal nationalism’ and those who peddle specific local nationalisms in successor states. The book deals specifically with the Western Balkans, but these developments have their parallels in many other parts of the world, and the book will be useful well beyond the region on which the study is based.”

Paul Mojzes, Professor Emeritus, Rosemont College, USA

“The former Yugoslavia has become a battlefield for the ‘Memory Wars’, in spite of the wealth of judicially established facts and available evidences gathered about the atrocities in the region, and various initiatives aimed at dealing with the past and efforts at transitional justice. Focusing on three periods of Yugoslav history – the Second World War, socialist Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav wars of 1991–2001 – the contributors show that despite these efforts to deal with the past, sustainable peace and reconciliation across ethnic and religious groups remain a distant aim.”                                                         

Marijana Toma, Center for Cultural Decontamination, Serbia

This book analyzes how nationalists in the former Yugoslavia have politicized history to further their political agendas, retaining and prolonging conflict among different cultural and religious groups, and impeding the process of lasting reconciliation. It explores how narratives have been (mis)used, drawing on examples from all of the former Yugoslav republics. With contributors from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, it provides a vital assessment of how nationalists have attempted to (re)shape public collective memory and relativize facts.

Table of contents

        Introduction – Nationalism and the Politicization of History in the Former Yugoslavia

Ognjenovic, Gorana (et al.)

        Post-Communism and Recent History: The Case of Croatia

        Bing, Albert

        Reclaiming Illyria: The Notorious Usefulness of Archaeology to Communism and Nationalism Alike in Yugoslavia and After

        Prusac-Lindhagen, Marina

        The Europeanization of Memory at the Jasenovac Memorial Museum

        Radonić, Ljiljana

        The Political Instrumentalization of a Site of the Holocaust: Contested Memories of the Semlin Camp in Belgrade

        Byford, Jovan

        Thrice Plundered: The Politics of Restitution with Regard to the Jews of Bosnia and Herzegovina

        Friedman, Francine

        Himmler’s SS Handžar Division

        Andjelic, Neven

        The Highway of Memorial Symbolism: A Thin Red Line

Ognjenovic, Gorana

        Constructing a Truth Regime: The 1999 NATO Intervention in Serbian Political Memory

        Subotić, Jelena (et al.)

        National Manhood: Martyrs, Freedom Fighters, and Statesmen in Kosovo’s State-Making

        Luci, Nita

        The Politicization of History in North Macedonia (1941–2018)

        Skalovski, Denko

        Djilas Reconsidered: The Attitudes of Montenegro Toward Milovan Djilas After 1989

        Cˇagorović, Nebojša

        Slovenia: From the Best European Pupil to Perpetrator of One of the Most Egregious ECHR Violations

        Kogovšek Šalamon, Neža (et al.)

        Mass Myths to Mass Graves: Politicizing Memory in Serbia as a Prelude to Genocide in Bosnia

        Adams, Ron (et al.)

        YU Rearview Mirror: Ways of Remembering Yugoslavia

        Velikonja, Mitja

        Reconfiguring and Imposing Identity: Politicization of Identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina

        Jozelic, Jasna


        Jozelic, Jasna (et al.)


        Buturovic, Amila

    About the authors

    Gorana Ognjenovic is Research Fellow at the University of Oslo, Norway.

    Jasna Jozelic is a PhD candidate and research advisor at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo.

Copyright: 2021

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Number of Pages: XX, 377