Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Family Heirlooms: Reframing Yugoslavia Through Personal Histories
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Please join the East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute for a lecture by writer Lura Limani, moderated by Elidor Mëhilli (Hunter College).

The legacy of socialist Yugoslavia remains heavily contested in contemporary Kosovo, no less because the communist takeover is seen as yet another historical injustice to the Albanians who were left outside the borders of Albania proper. Having been raised in a family with close-knit ties to the partisan struggle during the Second World War, Lura Limani approaches this historical period from a personal perspective— that of her own grandmother. In a recent and hotly-debated essay published by Kosovo 2.0, Limani ventures into her grandmother’s memories of the Second World War and post-war Yugoslavia in an effort to tease out what the socialist period meant to her and her generation. Limani, who interviewed her late grandmother Myrvete Hoxha Limani, a teacher, a party activist and the sister of Kosovo’s partisan commander Fadil Hoxha, before she passed away, will talk about the struggle of mapping the social and cultural history of Kosovo Albanians in Yugoslavia and the tensions between what is remembered in private and what can be publicly commemorated.



Lura Limani is a writer and researcher based in Prishtina, Kosovo. She is one of the founders of the independent literary zine and publishing house Lirindja and the former editor-in-chief of Prishtina Insight. Her short fiction, essays and journalistic work have been published in Beton, Balkan Insight, Osservatorio Balcani i Caucaso, Kosovo 2.0, Fabrikzeitung, and other publications. She is the co-author of BOOM (2020), a publication chronicling Kosovo’s pop and rock scene in the 1980s, and currently works as program director at the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society.



Elidor Mëhilli is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of History and Public Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and has held research fellowships at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. He has published widely on dictatorships, authoritarian regimes, geopolitics, technology, and the diplomatic, economic, and cultural dimensions of the Cold War. His book From Stalin to Mao received three prizes. He is a frequent commentator on current affairs for a number of Albanian televisions, and his opinions have also appeared in The Washington Post, the BBC, the Voice of America, The Conversation, Salon, and elsewhere.



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