Bosnian Past in Debate: Cosmopolitan or Nationalist? – part 2

January 17, 2020

Responses to our multiplier events

Through our previous blog, we brought you an interview with a few of the piloting teachers for the last phase of this project. Now, at the end of the project, we are happy to bring you to offer you interviews with three piloting teachers on what they have to say about the project, the lesson plans that they piloted, and their topics.

The moment when tolerance in Yugoslavia disappeared, when it was thrown out of the political speech, and when the exclusivist concepts gained primacy — that was the end of the country. First and foremost, Yugoslavia was a cultural project.

Looking at people under 30 today, things that link to Yugoslavia are the links of culture, built through things like music, books, language, and sports. This idea of deep connections that exist in this region does not exist anymore in politics; however, it still exists in culture.

It was very difficult to prepare a multidisciplinary lecture and to lead professors through a history in which the persistence of Yugoslavia itself was a problem both internally and externally.

In addition, Bosnia and Herzegovina existed as part of a country that consisted of several peoples and religious groups that had to be brought into a common context in a particular way. And it all functioned in the form of “Brotherhood and unity”, which over time weakened and led to the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Professors who participated in the event, gave their opinions on the lectures:

Snjezana Melunovic, history professor, Fifth Gimnasium Sarajevo:

I am especially pleased to attend this seminar because the lecturer critically pointed out to us the eternal problem of political elites and centers of power towards social reality and historical narratives. Yugoslavia and B&H in this period of 1945 – 1992 were no exception. Through lectures, we can see the developmental path of socialist Yugoslavia. Communist ideology changed from world models of centralism to democratization through the 1980s and 1990s, where party and state frameworks weakened. I think that is the quality of today’s socializing and lecturing, and I would particularly like to point out this set of photographs that we had the opportunity to see. It is a first-class historical source, and I will certainly use them in my work with students.

Hajrulahovic Samir, Professor of History, Medicine school Sarajevo

I was amazed at how aware participants are of the importance of this topic. More work needs to be done on the study of historical material, and aspects of both cosmopolitan and nationalist discourses have their place.

Following the loosening of ideological strands, it is the national programs that have prevailed in social reality and historiography, and they broke through the Yugoslav question and provoked and generated the Yugoslav crisis and dissolution. The facts in the lectures helped participants to understand the importance of critical thinking about the recent period and to better understand the materials presented so they can include them in presentations on the theme in the future.

Dr. Enes Omerovic, Law faculty Zenica

During the closing remarks, participants successively compared the relations between the state and religious communities and nationalist movements at the end of the 1980s. I can say that participants have acquired knowledge of the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina and different systems of government. Participants got a clear picture of what repression and totalitarian systems are. I believe that this project has contributed to the study of all post-socialist states.