Carna Pistan is a Comparative Public Law scholar with an interest in the emerging field of law and memory. Dr. Pistan obtained a Ph.D. in Constitutional Law from the University of Bologna (2010) after graduating in Political Science from the University of Trieste (2005). In February 2020 she was awarded the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellowship for the project: “Illusions of Eternity: the Constitution as a lieu de mémoire and the problem of collective remembrance in the Western Balkans” to be carried out at the Harriman Institute and EURAC research.
While at the Harriman Institute Dr. Pistan will explore the complex relationship between collective memory and national identity by introducing a ground-breaking perspective: the study of the constitution as a lieu de mémoire. The aims of Pistan’s research are to better understand how and to what extent contemporary constitutions may be used as tools for bringing the past in the present, and analyze the ways in which configurations of memory and identity through the constitution can obstruct reconciliation and democratization processes especially in post-conflict deeply divided societies. The pivotal objectives of Pistan’s research are to elaborate a new theory of constitutional interpretation, and an innovative strategy for dealing with the past in post-conflict societies marked by deep cleavages. Pistan’s research is genuinely interdisciplinary as it bridges three fields (legal studies, nationalism studies, and memory studies) and one area studies (Balkan studies), and uses an innovative multimethod approach that integrates empirical research into comparative law methodology.
Before coming to the Harriman Institute, Pistan was Adjunct Professor at the University of Udine, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Udine (2016-19) and University of Bologna (2010-16). She is also an Affiliated Research Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development of the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe, and the coordinator of the subgroup on Eastern Europe and Eurasia of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) research group on Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies. Dr. Pistan is the author of several book chapters and articles focusing on democratic transitions, constitutional justice, hybrid regimes, illiberal constitutionalism, nationalism, collective memory and national identity, with particular reference to Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union sphere, and the author of the monograph “Between democracy and authoritarianism: experiences of constitutional justice in Central and Eastern Europe and post-Soviet Union countries” (BUP, 2015).
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