Made in YU: How nonhumans activated Yugoslavia

Basic Info


Nationalism – that stubborn global phenomenon – is omnipresent. It hides in canned fish, parties with distilled spirits and drives down the road. But despite the professional attention that this omnipresence of nationalism has enjoyed in recent times, the materiality of nationalism remains something that is discussed marginally if at all. In this project we will study nationalism in the light of its material expression, scope and persistence. This will be done by tracing humble things of the quotidian – woven immanently into daily life, a locus of objectification, and promiscuous things – constantly finding their way into new economic, political, cultural, technological, artistic and other connections and networks. The study will focus on one of the many national projects of the 20th century, which despite the changed political landscape lives on in the present day through things – Yugoslavia.

We will rewrite the history of Yugoslavia using the methodological approach of bricolage – an alternative to the conventional structured “planner” approach, a synthesis of a wide range of research methods (analysis of various texts: written, oral, audio-visual, hypertext; interviews, participant observation etc.).

Scientific impact of the project: a) the emancipation of things that have been silenced through historiography could result in a reconceptualization of historiography; b) the reassembled concept of nationalism (i.e. the focus on stuff-nationalism) could affect studies of nations and nationalism; c) the integrative conceptual approach to things will be useful to studies of material culture and other approaches to the role of nonhumans in social processes.