Project

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Memory, History and State-Building in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Critically Assessing and Re-Thinking the Teaching of Memory Politics in Bosnian University Curricula

Applicant Cheneval Francis
Number 137374
Funding scheme SCOPES
Research institution Philosophisches Seminar Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.10.2011 - 30.09.2014
Approved amount 93'800.00
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All Disciplines (6)

Discipline
Philosophy
Sociology
Religious studies, Theology
Political science
Other languages and literature
General history (without pre-and early history)

Keywords (9)

Memory Politics; State-Building; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Dealing with the Past; Teaching; Political Philosophy; History; Transitional Justice; Gender

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

The SCOPES Institutional Partnership project “Memory, History and State-Building in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Critically Assessing and Re-Thinking the Teaching of Memory Politics in Bosnian University Curricula” is designed to strengthen educational capacities, to facilitate exchange of ideas and experience, as well as to provide space for critical debates on the core issues at stake.

Memory and history can be highlighted as two amongst the most divisive elements in the landscape of contemporary Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH). Used by many, especially ethno-political elites in power, for the purpose of homogenizing ethnic communities within the context of the recent war and its aftermath, the politics of memory directly contributes to further division of contemporary Bosnian society along ethno-political lines, to the detriment of state-building. To a large extent, Bosnian academic institutions reproduce this tendency, if only by not promoting epistemological reflections on ways of dealing with the past, and by not developing new methodologies for addressing the plethora of issues related to this area. This situation leaves many other ‘communities of memories’ invisible, in addition to leaving unexplored memories of the socialist past. This project however rejects the divisive and ethno-national construction of the past in BiH and supports the need for Bosnian academia to think critically about the different ways in which it can be constructed in order to support greater respect for difference, pluralism and deliberative democracy.

The primary aim of this project is to introduce a more critical outlook on the use of history and memory within Bosnian academia (primarily Sarajevo University) by undertaking the following range of activities: the development and implementation of modular two-day workshops with regional and international experts dealing with issues of history and memory in their research and teaching activities, a three-day international workshop that will take place in 2012 in Sarajevo and a critical assessment of the existing ways of researching and teaching, as well as the development of proposals for new approaches to history and memory in Bosnian higher education. While relying on works and concepts developed by authors such as Ricoeur, Winter&Sivan, Todorov, Nora, Halbwachs or Assmann&Asssmann, the different planned activities shall provide opportunities for more closely working with authors of recent studies developed in political science, history, sociology, ethnography, or gender studies. This should facilitate closer examination of the ways in which contemporary Bosnian politics, but also higher educations systems, deal with the past of the recent war, as well as the Second World War and the subsequent socialist era, thus providing a clear indication of the possible intentions in terms of state-building, as well as with regards to imagining, or not, a shared polity that would include all the different social groups of the country.

The secondary aim of the project is to strengthen and develop cooperation and exchange between Bosnian and Swiss academic institutions, and beyond. Indeed, while the two main stakeholders are the Centre for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies (CIPS) of the University of Sarajevo and the Chair of Political Philosophy of the University of Zurich, the project in fact directly builds on an existing international network of researchers. They initially came together for the interdisciplinary workshop “Identity Politics and Political Identities in post-Dayton Bosnia-Herzegovina” in June 2009 at the European Institute of the University of Geneva. This was followed, in May 2010, by the international workshop “Bosnia: Looking beyond the Institutions”, in Brussels. A third meeting will take place in November 2011, at the University of Oxford.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Scientific events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Perspectives in (post)conflict academia and society: Opening spaces for critically assessing and rethinking history and memory 14.03.2013 Centre for Postrgraduate Studies, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina
“Justice, Memory & History” 20.09.2012 Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnia-Hercegovina
“History and Gender” 07.06.2012 Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnia-Hercegovina
“Socialist Past” 29.03.2012 Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnia-Hercegovina
“Narratives of War and Political Violence” 26.01.2012 Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnia-Hercegovina

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Memory Politics, Political Mobilization and the Role of Academics in Bosnia 13.03.2014 University of Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract

Overall, the project “Memory, History and State-Building in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Critically Assessing and Re-Thinking the Teaching of Memory Politics in Bosnian University Curricula” is designed to strengthen educational capacities, to facilitate exchange of ideas and experience, as well as to provide space for critical debates on the core issues at stake.The primary aim of this project is to introduce a more critical outlook on the use of history and memory within BiH academia (primarily Sarajevo University) by undertaking the following range of activities: the development and implementation of modular two-day workshops with experts dealing with issues of history and memory in their research and teaching activities, a three-day international workshop that will take place in March 2012 and a critical assessment of the existing and the development of proposals for new ways of researching and teaching issues related to history and memory in Bosnian higher education.The secondary aim of the project is to strengthen and develop cooperation and exchange between Bosnian and Swiss academic institutions, and beyond. Indeed, while the two main stakeholders are the Centre for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies (CIPS) of the University of Sarajevo and the Chair of Political Philosophy of the University of Zurich, the project will take place in collaboration with other institutions and researchers, in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Switzerland, as well as other countries, in South-Eastern Europe and the European Union. A group of young researchers/faculty staff from BiH academic and cultural institutions (primarily the University of Sarajevo) will participate in all phases of the Project. They shall be participants, but also agents of change through their own teaching and research activities in BiH universities.Furthermore, the project in fact directly builds on an existing network of researchers who initially came together for an interdisciplinary workshop in June 2009 at the European Institute of the University of Geneva. Entitled “Identity Politics and Political Identities in post-Dayton Bosnia-Herzegovina”, this workshop was mainly financed by the SNF (Decision 10CO12-125706/1) and has resulted in the publication of a double issue of the journal Transitions . This interdisciplinary network of researchers once again met in Brussels in May 2010, at the international workshop “Bosnia: Looking beyond the Institutions” . A third meeting is currently in preparation for the autumn 2011, at the University of Oxford, on the occasion of a lecture and round-table launching of the aforementioned publication.
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