PředmětyPředměty(verze: 861)
Předmět, akademický rok 2019/2020
Cultural Legacies and Developments in the Balkans: Modern and Traditional Entanglements - JMB057
Anglický název: Cultural Legacies and Developments in the Balkans: Modern and Traditional Entanglements
Zajišťuje: Katedra ruských a východoevropských studií (23-KRVS)
Fakulta: Fakulta sociálních věd
Platnost: od 2019
Semestr: zimní
Body: 6
E-Kredity: 6
Způsob provedení zkoušky: zimní s.:
Rozsah, examinace: zimní s.:1/1 Zk [hodiny/týden]
Počet míst: neurčen / neurčen (20)
Minimální obsazenost: neomezen
Stav předmětu: nevyučován
Jazyk výuky: angličtina
Způsob výuky: prezenční
Poznámka: předmět je možno zapsat mimo plán
povolen pro zápis po webu
při zápisu přednost, je-li ve stud. plánu
Garant: Maria Alina Asavei, Ph.D.
N//Je neslučitelnost pro: JTM266
Anotace -
Poslední úprava: doc. PhDr. Jiří Vykoukal, CSc. (19.08.2014)
This course focuses on various aspects of socio-cultural developments in the Balkans since the middle of the
nineteenth century until present. In line with its multidisciplinary character, it will put a strong emphasis on the
historical and political background of the region moving on to issues of transition and European (cultural-political)
integration, particularly in the second part of the course. The cultural diversity of the Balkans will be examined both
as a historical and as a contemporary phenomenon. Throughout the course we will make comparison between the
Balkan states, their cultural-political legacies and transformation processes. In addition to the secondary sources,
we will look at paintings, videos, film, short documentaries and other visual material. Students will become
proficient at using both primary and secondary sources in their assignments.
Cíl předmětu -
Poslední úprava: doc. PhDr. Jiří Vykoukal, CSc. (19.08.2014)

The course will highlight the important transnational aspects of cultural-social developments which often remain unaddressed in modern Balkan history when analysis is restricted only to individual nation states from the region. Apart from its clear thematic focus the purpose of this course is to equip students with the research tools and analytical framework required to systematically examine historical, political and cultural developments in the Balkans. At the end of this course students will be able to systematically analyze long term political and cultural developments in the Balkans since the late nineteenth century.

Požadavky ke zkoušce
Poslední úprava: Maria Alina Asavei, Ph.D. (03.10.2015)

Attendance and active class participation are required. Reading of all assigned texts is required.  For each text, a presenter will be selected in advance. Presentation and critical discussion of the assigned text should normally last for maximum 20 minutes. The presenter should summarize the text’s main argument and the key-concepts, identify what is unclear and what should be further investigated, and list questions for following discussion. It is advisable for presenters to supply handouts (1 page) with the basic points and questions of their presentation to all participants in order to facilitate the subsequent discussion. For those who don’t feel comfortable to present in class (although this is highly recommended) there is the option of a written short paper (1500 words) in which you are expected to explore one of the assigned readings.  A final  paper (2500 words) closely linked to the issues discussed in class is required. Your grade distribution for assignments is as follows:

presentation -20%

class participation -15%

final paper- 50%

other in -class assignments- 15 %


Sylabus - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Maria Alina Asavei, Ph.D. (28.09.2017)

Class Schedule:

1.      Introductory Lecture: general presentation of the course’s structure; questions; discussion of the assignments and the course’s rationale


Required Reading: none


2.      Balkan Culture: What do we mean by "Balkan Culture"? Can the Balkans be regarded as a homogeneous cultural space? 

-          TheBalkansencompasses a variety of cultures and people. Can culture help to understand and explain behaviors and political and social institutions? We will investigate various concepts of culture (normative concept of culture versus neutral, anthropological concept and so on), and the political instrumentalization of an essentialist and monolithic concept of culture which fosters nationalistic feelings and conflicts.


Mandatory Readings:

-Michael Keating, "Culture in Social Sciences", in Donatella Della Porta and Michael Keating (eds.), Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences: A Pluralist Perspective, Cambridge University Press, 2008, pp.99-118

-Boris Kremenliev, "Social and Cultural Changes in Balkan Music", Western Folklore, Vol. 34, No. 2, (April 1975), pp.117-136

 Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/149909





Additional (advisable) Readings:

-Ivan Colovic, The Balkans: The Terror of Culture: Essay in Political Anthropology, Baden-Baden: Nomos (South East European Integration Perspectives, 5), 2011. 




3.      Fault Lines: "High" Culture (Elite’s Culture) and Popular (Folk) Culture

Culture is often associated with the terms "high" and "low". In this class we will examine both "high"/elite’s culture and popular culture, in the past and in contemporary contexts. We will focus on the "high" (literary) and popular (folk) culture divide and on the emergence and consolidation of national literature and art; folklore’s role in the formation and development of the national literatures; the creation of a new folklore in the twentieth century under the communist regimes; the manipulation of folklore for political purposes (e.g. "the national folk culture" under communism) versusfolklore as a site of cultural refuge and resistance.


Mandatory Readings:



-Alice Mocanescu, "National Art as Legitimate Art: ‘National between Tradition and Ideology in Ceausescu’s Romania", pp. 1-16,

available at: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~oaces/conference/papers/Alice_Mocanescu.pdf


-Maria Alexe, "The Balkan Post-modern Writers-Between Story Tellers Tradition and Western Patterns", НАУЧНИ ТРУДОВЕ НА РУСЕНСКИЯ УНИВЕРСИТЕТ, том 50, 2011, pp. 132-136, available online at: http://conf.uni-ruse.bg/bg/docs/cp11/6.3/6.3-21.pdf


Additional (advisable) Readings:

-Peter Burke, Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe, London: Temple Smith, 1978.


4.      The Reassessment of the Balkan Epic in Contemporary Art and Culture: Aesthetic and Political Complexities

The epic traditions have been part of many different cultures from various parts of the world. In this course we will examine epics across the Balkan region, both as a historical and as a contemporary phenomenon. The genre of Modern Literary Epic (as the first stage in the development of modern Balkan literatures) emerged from oral epic. There are various interpretations regarding the functions of these early literary epics. But what is the significance of Balkan epic today? Is contemporary Balkan epic a genre of connections, cultural flows and intersections within and through the region or a source of nationalist imaginaries?


Screening and discussion: Marina Abramovic, "Balkan Baroque" (1997) and "Balkan Erotic Epic" (2005)



Mandatory Readings:

-Margaret Beissinger, "Epic, Gender and Nationalism: The Development of Nineteenth- Century Balkan Literature" in The Epic Traditions in the Contemporary Word: The Poetics of Community, Margaret Beissinger, Jane Tylus and Susanne Wofford, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999, pp. 69-83 (these pages will be distributed in class in advance).

-Maja Brkljačić, "Popular Culture and Communist Ideology: Folk Epics in Tito’s Yugoslavia", in Ideologies and National Identities: The Case of Twentieth-Century Southeastern Europe, John R. Lampe and Mark Mazower, Budapest: CEU Press, 2004, pp.180-210. Available also online at: http://books.openedition.org/ceup/2430.


Additional (advisable) Readings:


-Gregory Nagy, "Epic as Genre", in The Epic Traditions in the Contemporary Word: The Poetics of Community, Margaret Beissinger, Jane Tylus and Susanne Wofford, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999, pp. 21-29.


-Alice Blackwood, "Adapting Tradition: The Role of Epic Poetry in Communist Bulgaria and Yugoslavia", Balkan Folklore, 2011, pp.1-12,

Available: https://www.academia.edu/4457193/Adapting_Tradition_The_Role_of_Epic_Poetry_in_Communist_Bulgaria_and_Yugoslavia


-Shinya Watanabe, Comparison of Marina Abramovic’s Performance at the Venice Biennale, and Sanja Ivekovic’s Performance Miss Croatia and Miss Brazil Read Zizek and Chomsky at the Sao Paolo Biennale

 available at: http://www.shinyawatanabe.net/nationstate/thesis5.htm


5.      Balkan vernacular style and its influences in modern architecture: the relationship between tradition and modernity and between politics and aesthetics



Mandatory Readings:


-Chiko Ncube, Vernacular and Modern Architecture: Lessons from Corbusier, pp. 1-18

Available at: http://www.slideshare.net/chikoNcube/vernacular-and-modern-architecture-lessons-from-corbusier


-Sibel Bozdogan, "Politics of Vernacular: The Turkish House: Nationalism and Postmodernity", History/Theory/ Criticism, 1995, 171-176.


Additional (advisable) Readings:


-Milica - Jovanovic -Popovic, Vesna Sunjkic and Radmila Tomovska, "Aesthetics of Vernacular Architecture: Comparative Analysis of Context Aesthetics in Balkan Region", 2012.

Available at: http://www.plea2012.pe/pdfs/T11-20120130-0071.pdf


6.      Contemporary Balkan art and its institutions: Art worlds and Art Practices in the Balkans

The artistic production of the Balkans entered into Western history of art after the fall of Communist regimes. As many theorists claim the Balkans had to wait until the end of the 1990s to be welcomed in the community of contemporary art.How are the artists from the region negotiating this delay? Is there really a peculiar form of art in the Balkan region or the term "Balkan art" indicates the incapacity of the "West" to examine and evaluate specific artworks by using criteria developed for the assessment of the mainstream art production?


Mandatory Readings:

- Srdja Pavlović, "Does Balkan Art exists?" Kakanien Revisited, 2003, available at:



-Diane Amiel, "Specifically Balkan Art: Does it Exist?", Third Text, The Balkans, Vol. 21 Issue 2, 2007, Published by Routledge, pp. 137-144.



7.      The negative images of the Balkan "other" in the Western gaze and how this stigmatization is resisted, internalized or coped with in the cultural production of the region

Maria Todorova’s canonical text "Imagining Balkans" (Oxford University Press, 1997) dispels the noxious connotations of the term "Balkans". This book’s influence for the cultural and political studies of the area is tremendous. During this class we will examine how art from the Balkan region can be understood/evaluated and to what extent the contemporary artists from the region resist, internalize or cope with the negative images of the Balkan "other" in their art. Does the term "Balkan art" leads to a better understanding and advancement of the artistic production of the region or merely perpetuates the negative image?



Mandatory Readings:



- Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 7-20, 184-189.

-Dusan. I. Bjelić, "Immigrants as the enemy: psychoanalysis and the Balkans' self-orientalization’, The Slavonic and East European Review , Vol. 87, No. 3, 2009, pp. 488-517 Stable URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/40650409



Additional (advisable) Readings:



-Alexander Kiossev, "The self-colonizing cultures," in Cultural Aspects of the Modernization Process, Oslo, 1995.


-Edward Said, Orientalism, London and Henley: Harmondsworth, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978, 19-28.



-Suzana Milevska, "Balkan Subjectivity as Neither", Third Text, Vol.22, Issue2, March, 2007, pp. 181-188.



8.      Exhibitions from the Balkans: Purpose, Display Reception and Politics

In the recent past a considerable number of transnational large-scale exhibitions were dedicated to the concept of "the Balkans" (In Search of Balkania, 2002; In the Gorges of the Balkans, 2003; Blood and Honey: The Futures in the Balkans, 2003; Balkan Fiber Art, 2008 and so on). We will discuss the major exhibitions’ rationale, thematic clusters (alienation, transition, war, violence, displacement, precarity, backwardness) and reception. Are the thematic clusters displayed in these expositions the common denominators of all works created in the Balkans? What is emphasized and what is overlooked?


Mandatory Readings:


-Raluca Voinea, "Geographically Defined Exhibitions: The Balkans between Eastern Europe and New Europe", Third Text, (Routledge), Vol.21, Issue 2, 2007, pp. 145-151


- Nicole Haitzinger, "BAL-KAN: The Irritation of Lingua: A Few Notes on the Exhibition "Blood and Honey"-The Future’s in the Balkans", in Artmargins (online), MIT Press, 2003.Available at: http://www.artmargins.com/index.php/archive/277-bal-kan-the-irritation-of-lingua-a-few-notes-on-the-exhibition-qblood-and-honey-the-futures-in-the-balkansq




Additional (advisable) Readings:


-Magda Carneci, In Search of Balkania,

available at: http://www.worldofartmagazine.com/CARNECI.htm

-Dusan I. Bjelic, The Balkan: Europe’s Cesspool, Agora8 Reader (Contemporary Art from Eastern Europe), 2006

available at: http://www.agora8.org/reader/Bjelic_Europes_Cesspool.html


9.      Romani’s Cultural Participation and Representation: Poetics of the "Other" and Performative Approaches to Identity


Until the end of the 20th century, cultural and art historical studies have never focused on art produced by Romani artists. Romani people were represented by non-Roma artists as subject-matters in traditional painting and as objects of cinematic representation.


Mandatory Readings:


-Iulia Hasdeu, "Imagining the Gypsy Woman: Representation of Roma in Romanian Museum" in "Picturing "Gypsies": Interdisciplinary Approach to Roma Representation", Paloma Gay y Blasco and Dina Iordanova (eds.), Third Text, Vol.22, No.3, 2008, pp. 347-357


 -Timea Junghaus, "Forward: Roma Art Does Exist", in Meet Your Neighbors: Contemporary Roma Art from Europe, published by the Open Society Institute in 2006, pp.6-9.


Additional (advisable) Readings:


- Judith Okely, "Constructing Culture through Shared Location, Bricolage and Exchange: The case of Gypsies and Roma", in Multidisciplinary Approaches to Romani Studies, Michael Stewart and Márton Rövid (eds.), CEU Press, 2010, pp. 35-55.


- Sean Homer, "The Roma Do not Exist: The Roma as an Object of Cinematic Representation and the Question of Authenticity"

available at: http://www.enl.auth.gr/gramma/gramma06/homer.pdf



10.  The Balkans between National-Cultural Identities and Interculturalism


Mandatory Readings:


-Nada Švob-Đokić, "Interculturalism and National Identities in the Balkans", International Meeting on Interculturality, Barcelona: CIDOB, 2001, pp. 195-202.


-Dina Iordanova, "Intercultural Cinema and Balkan Hushed Histories", New Review of Film and Television Studies, Volume 6, Issue 1, 2008, pp.5-18




11.  Cultural policies in the Balkan states and EU’s "joint heritage" project


On the one hand, the national cultural policies’ main aim is to protect national/cultural identity (especially in post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav countries). On the other hand, "Europeanization", "the joint European heritage" and cultural diversity policies are on the official agenda of many particular countries. To what extent can we speak of the cultural policies of the specific countries from the Balkans (already member states) as supporting cultural diversity, interculturalism or transculturalism?


Mandatory Readings:


-Milena Dragićević Šešić, "Cultural policies, cultural identities and monument building - new memory policies of Balkan countries" in Cultural Transition in Southeastern Europe: Cultural Identity Politics in (Post)Transitional Societies, Aldo Milohnić and Nada Švob-Đokić (eds.), Zagreb: Culturelink, 2011, pp. 31-45.


- Will Guy, "Cultural Policy and Cultural Diversity: the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe", The Challenge of Transcultural Diversities: Transversal study on the theme of cultural policy and cultural diversity, Kevin Roberts (ed.), Council of Europe Publisher, 2006.









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