Memories of a Balkan Childhood: Wayne Vucinich in Hercegovina in the 1920s

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
12:00pm - 1:30pm
Room 1219 International Affairs Building

Please join the School of International and Public Affairs, the Harriman Institute, the European Institute and the East Central European Center of Columbia University in welcoming Larry Wolff of New York University.

For four decades, Professor Wayne Vucinich of Stanford University was perhaps the leading academic specialist on the Balkans in the United States. This lecture will discuss Vucinich’s memoirs, especially his recollections of his early life as a goatherd in the mountains of Hercegovina in the 1920s, and offer anthropological reflections on his childhood as he later looked back upon it from his perspective as a distinguished professor of Balkan history in the United States. Vucinich provided a detailed account of "the world we have lost" in the Balkans, and of the the traditional society of the Serbian village and zadruga as that society was beginning to be transformed by modernity in interwar Yugoslavia. The lecture will reflect on the connections between this early life and Vucinich's later academic career.

Larry Wolff was a doctoral student of Wayne Vucinich at Stanford. Wolff is now professor of history at NYU and director of the NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies. His books include "Inventing Eastern Europe" (1994), "Venice and the Slavs: The Discovery of Dalmatia in the Age of Enlightenment" (2001), and the forthcoming "The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture" (2010). Professor Wolff is also the editor of the Vucinich memoirs: "Memoirs of My Childhood in Yugoslavia" (2007).