CfP (Workshop): (De)Constructing Yugoslavia: Migrants, Exiles, and Refugees

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Migrations played a major role in the history of Yugoslavia – its creation, evolution and final collapse. Yugoslavia came into being after the First World War, but émigrés in Europe and communities of settlers of South Slav origins in the Americas played an important role in its creation. Considerable new diasporas came into being in the Americas and Western Europe, and affected the country’s evolution in the interwar period, in economic, political and cultural terms. They once again played an important role in campaigning for different groups vying for political power during the Second World War and after. In the Cold War, policing diasporas became a major challenge for the Communist authorities, who had to combat new diasporas of fleeing political dissidents. To this was added the large worker emigration to Western Europe and Australia from the 1960s, a proportion of which returned to Yugoslavia following the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s. Moreover, other forms of movement came into play, like the transfer of Yugoslav experts and workers to the Eastern bloc and developing countries in the Global South, the so-called Third World, as Yugoslavia navigated the Cold War as a leader of the non-aligned world.

Yugoslav developmental aid was a major showcase not just of Yugoslav socialism in the world. The commitment to an alternative world order to the Cold War divisions was, along with socialism and multi-cultural (federal) coexistence, one of the pillars of the Yugoslav national identity. Towards the end of the Cold War and during the wars of the 1990s, hundreds of thousands left, creating new diasporas alongside the old. ‘Yugoslavs abroad’ once again played a major role in the home country, this time in the dissolution of the common state, the wars of Yugoslav succession, and the creation of new nation states.  

This CFP invites contributions which critically discuss how Yugoslav nation- and state-formation were imagined, re-imagined and contested globally by ‘Yugoslavs on the move’. Contributions should offer a new understanding of the controversies/debates which have surrounded the evolution of Yugoslavism as the idea of a political unity of the South Slavs/Yugoslavs. 

Contributions can offer a long-term view or cover any period from the middle of the 19th century to the 2000s; and adopt a micro, meso or macro perspective. Proposals can focus on individual migrants, social groups or other subgroups. Proposals can offer comparisons between, or analysis of, economic migrants, political migrants, refugees, diasporas, exiles. Proposals can analyse or compare domestic and/or international migrants. 

Please send an abstract of 300/500 words, a title and short bio by 15th July to sara.bernard@glasgow.ac.uk    

You will receive a notification of acceptance by 31 August. 

Selected papers will be presented at a workshop in Glasgow in late February 2023 (date to be announced). 

The workshop will be the first of a series of workshops which will lead to the production of an edited volume in 2024. Therefore papers should be based on original research which has not been published. Early stage/work in progress papers are welcome. 

For any queries, please contact Sara Bernard  sara.bernard@glasgow.ac.uk . 

Contact Info: 

Sara Bernard, University of Glasgow