A Microhistory of Socialist Memorial and Heritage Practices

As part of program of public lectures of the Centre for Cultural and Historical Research of Socialism Sanja Horvatinčić will give lecture on the microhistory of memorial and heritage practices in socialist Yugoslavia based on research within the international interdisciplinary project Heritage from Below / Drežnica: Traces and Memories 1941-1945“, conducted at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb (2019-2022).

The lecture will be held online in English on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, starting at 18:00.

This talk is based on the research done as part of the project Heritage from Below / Drežnica: Traces and Memories 1941-1945 which, since 2019, has been gathering researchers of different backgrounds – archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, architects and visual artists – interested in a community-based, critical engagement with local narratives, memorial practices and materialities of the recent past, and its contested histories in the present moment. Drežnica, an isolated village located between Gorski kotar, Lika and Hrvatsko Primorje, was one of the hotspots of the antifascist uprising in the summer of 1941, where local Serbian peasantry and working class activists, met with Spanish Civil War volunteers and members of basically all major belligerents armies of the global conflict. Having been such an important WW2 stage, Drežnica’s landscape was permanently marked by material traces (remains of hospitals, printing houses, or refugee shelters) and countless stories and memories related to this traumatic and in many ways foundational event for the local community. Combining the knowledge collected on site (material evidence and oral sources) with the archival sources, I have gained a far more complex and comprehensive understanding of how these and other factors influenced the prolific production of postwar monuments, and how changes within the Yugoslav socialist system – from the administrative, to the level of cultural and memory politics – were reflected on memorialization strategies, as well as local social and economic practices related to it. Through this case study, I will show that the production of monuments and their formal aspects were not only a mirror of socialist hegemonic memory discourse, but that they reflected – and continue to do so – a diverse array of voices on the micro-historical level. Finally, I will argue that the community-based and interdisciplinary practices are crucial for developing critical tools and methodologies in approaching contested heritage of the 20th century social, revolutionary and military history.

For more information visit here.

Contact: Sanja Horvatinčić