Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




The Politics of Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Serbia by Jelena Đureinović

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live.

Please join us for a presentation by Jelena Đureinović (University of Vienna), author of The Politics of Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Serbia: Collaboration, Resistance and Retribution (Routledge, 2020), and a discussion moderated by Tanya Domi (SIPA/Harriman Institute).

Exploring the concepts of collaboration, resistance, and postwar retribution and focusing on the Chetnik movement, The Politics of Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Serbia analyses the politics of memory.

Since the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević in 2000, memory politics in Serbia has undergone drastic changes in the way in which the Second World War and its aftermath is understood and interpreted. The glorification and romanticisation of the Yugoslav Army in the Homeland, more commonly referred to as the Chetnik movement, has become the central theme of Serbia’s memory politics during this period. Jelena Đureinović traces their construction as a national antifascist movement equal to the communist-led Partisans and as victims of communism, showing the parallel justification and denial of their wartime activities of collaboration and mass atrocities. The multifaceted approach combines a diachronic perspective that illuminates the continuities and ruptures of narratives, actors and practices, with in-depth analysis of contemporary Serbia, rooted in ethnographic fieldwork and exploring multiple levels of memory work and their interactions.

Jelena Đureinović is a postdoctoral researcher and scientific coordinator of the Research Platform for the Study of Eastern Europe and Transformations at the University of Vienna. She holds a PhD in History from Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, where she taught in Eastern European History. Her main research interests include memory and nationalism studies, postsocialism, history of Yugoslavia and the post-Yugoslav space. She has published on Europeanisation and memory politics, memory laws and discourses of victimhood under communism. She was a visiting researcher at the Moore Institute for the Research in Humanities and Social Sciences at the National University of Ireland in Galway, the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz and the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. She also works with the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade, Serbia as a Memory Activism Program Coordinator.

Event Video