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Essays

Which Way to Peace?

Dubravka Kalac Zadar, Croatia >Sometimes, when I walk the streets of my city, late in the evening, when there's only silence present, pictures of  not so distant past strike me, and I...

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Hierarchy and canonization of memory

Course: Memory and its role in conflict and conflict transformationLecturer: Orli Fridman Hierarchy and Canonization of Memory: Adaptation of Historiography to Socio-political Identity Construction Course participant: Jasmina Gavrankapetanović-Redžić, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina In...

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Courses

What Can We Learn From Peace Movements? Lessons of the Past for the Present and Future

Course facilitator:
Brian Phillips

Peace activists are by nature often preoccupied with the present and future - and perhaps only vaguely aware of the extraordinary history of past campaigns and movements that have generated non-violent strategies for social and political change. Exploration of this frequently neglected tradition is no purely academic exercise, but a vital dimension of preparation for contemporary practice. Rigorous reflection on this diverse body of experience and witness to peace can provide today’s activists with a durable foundation for sustained action. In testing our current visions and techniques against the ideas, principles, and approaches of previous movements for peace and social justice, we can both enrich our own initiatives and remind ourselves continually that our efforts to promote a non-violent transformation of society are part of much larger historical narrative. Recognising that the space in which we situate ourselves today has in part been opened for us by activists and witnesses of the past can be an inexhaustible source of inspiration - and a vehicle for the development of the kind of long-term perspective so crucial for a lifetime of peace activism.

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Civilizing Nationalism – Pacification of the Region

Lecturer: Ugo Vlaisavljevic
Assistant: Faris Cengic

Course objectives:

The main objective of the course is to expose the militant nature of the ruling forms of party politics in the region, which are understood as ethnopolitics (i.e. the politics of self-aware, state-building ethniei – nations). A critique of their militant character is undertaken as “the critique of the ideology of ethnic community”. Accordingly, it demonstrates that the experience of a millennial struggle for survival of “small Balkan peoples”, particularly the very tragic experience of the last war, is also formative for the current dominant politics and for the current form of collective identity. It will be shown that all recent politics of whole-nation support were actually war politics of collective identity forged in a bloody conflict against an enemy. This is precisely what makes these politics “ethnic” ones, and what prevents them from adopting the true form of modern politics, particularly its civic character. The militancy of ethnopolitics will be deciphered in contrast to the civility of civic politics, particularly in its differences from the typical politics and sociability of civil society. We will strive to show that a necessary condition for a lasting peace in the region is transforming the dominant ethnopolitics into politics in the true meaning of the word, namely, its civilizing and demilitarization.

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Understanding social and political elements of collective violence and mass crimes (with the Yugoslav and Rwandan case)

Instructors: Vlasta Jalusic, Tonci Kuzmanic

Course description:

The course aims at a deeper understanding of conflict escalation in the transitional periods, how they eventually cumulate in massive violent events and what consequences these events have for the later forms of citizenship and political responsibility. The course will focus on the massive collective violence accompanied by mass atrocities, their preparation and implementation, and the post-conflict de-escalation periods in cases such as former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. It is based on the premise that discourses of collective identity and the intersections of gender, race/ethnicity and religion are key to understand the legitimizing ideologies of violence. Along with this, the course pays special attention to ways of coming to terms with past massive collective crime, the issues of collective guilt and responsibility, and the framing of the present and the future.

The empirical base of the course – cases from the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda – are selected by virtue of being characterized by violent, “community” conflict (within a state or in the process of state dissolution and reformation) with strong gender and ethnic/race dimensions in the process of preparation. They both symbolically reflect the ideological claim that certain groups, constructed as essentially different cannot live together, each thus denying the “other's” citizenship and the fundamental “right to have rights” (Arendt).

Read more: Understanding social and political elements of collective violence and mass crimes (with the Yugoslav and Rwandan case)