Education PYPA 2009


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Lessons in Dissent: The Principles of the "Others"…

Marina Vasilj "Nothing is more unworthy of a civilized people than to allow itself to be "governed" by an irresponsible ruling clique motivated by the darkest instincts" (The White Rose leaflet, summer...

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Peace Academy Reflection

Tory Tevis I would like to begin my reflection on the Sarajevo Peace Academy by first stating how difficult it was to settle on a topic to write about.  All the...

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Memory: Remembering and Forgetting

Course facilitators:
Stef Jansen
Alenka Bartulovic

Through discussions, readings, lectures, films, individual and group exercises, and mini-expeditions in the city of Sarajevo, this course aims to provide students with an insight in some ways in which the social sciences help us understand the topic of memory, as well as with a forum to discuss what role remembering and forgetting may play with regard to different forms of violence and their alternatives.


The starting point will be straightforwardly anthropological: leaving aside neurological or psychoanalytical approaches, we will consider memory—in its modalities of both remembering and forgetting—as a social practice. Firstly, saying that memory is a practice means we will approach it not as something people have, but as something they do: we will speak of ‘memory work’ and trace a series of ways in which human beings engage in acts of remembering and forgetting. Secondly, if we understand that practice as social, this means that we are interested in how people collectively engage in such acts through a variety of social institutions. Related to this, as anthropologists, we are also keen to try to draw lessons from comparison. So while also relying on some examples from the post-Yugoslav states, we will embed those in studies of memory work in different social institutions amongst different people in different continents of the world. In the latter case, since both of us work in the post-Yugoslav context, we then plan to relate those patterns from around the globe to the students’ specific regional interests in the discussions and in the exercises.

In addition to a broad introduction to the social study of memory, the course will be organised around a set of themes. Precise decisions will need to be made on the basis of available materials and in the context of the actual organisation of the exercises (it is our intention to include some small group projects that will relate the course directly to its setting in Sarajevo, where both of us have research experience). We expect to make a selection out of the following: nationalism and ‘the invention of tradition’; monumental remembering and sites of memory; ceremonies and memorialisation; memory work in art; cities, landscapes and the politics of amnesia; history text books; bodies, objects and family histories; postsocialist nostalgia; violence and memory; refuge and memory; remembering and forgetting in the question of reconciliation.