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Předmět, akademický rok 2022/2023
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Contemporary Balkans - JMM018
Anglický název: Contemporary Balkans
Český název: Současný Balkán
Zajišťuje: Katedra ruských a východoevropských studií (23-KRVS)
Fakulta: Fakulta sociálních věd
Platnost: od 2019
Semestr: letní
E-Kredity: 6
Způsob provedení zkoušky: letní s.:
Rozsah, examinace: letní s.:1/1, KZ [HT]
Počet míst: neurčen / neurčen (15)
Minimální obsazenost: 5
Virtuální mobilita / počet míst: ne
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: doc. PhDr. Kateřina Králová, Ph.D., M.A.
Termíny zkoušek   Rozvrh   Nástěnka   
Anotace - angličtina
Poslední úprava: PhDr. Jiří Kocián, Ph.D. (03.02.2019)

Contact person for the course: Arban Mehmeti, MA (arban.mehmeti@gmail.com)

The aim of this course is to closely follow the often turbulent development of the Balkan region from the year 1989
until present days. The essence is to tackle various stereotypes and misinterpretations that are still hunting the
Balkan region. Chronologically, the course will follow the fall of communist regimes in the region, Yugoslav wars,
political transformations, the commencement and progress of the integration process into
the EU and also current political hindrances in the region.

Apart from observing the political and international context of the last 20 years in the Balkans, it is necessary to
understand the theoretical approaches and general context in which the region develops. Individual lectures will
thus combine factual approach with theoretical one - political transformation, EU integration, theories of
international relations, securitization, civic and national states, national "great ideas" or national and territorial
sovereignty etc.
Cíl předmětu - angličtina
Poslední úprava: PhDr. Jiří Kocián, Ph.D. (03.02.2019)

The objective of this course is to enable the students to approach the Balkan affairs in its complexity, 
understanding as well as applying theoretical context on contemporary Balkan affairs. 

Podmínky zakončení předmětu - angličtina
Poslední úprava: PhDr. Jiří Kocián, Ph.D. (03.02.2019)

Students will have an opprotunity to actively participate in classes as well to develop their writting, analytical and presentation skills. For this reason the assesments have been set as following: 

1) Presentation of a chosen topic  - 25 %
2) Final essay - 25%
3) Policy brief (600 words) - group work - 25 %
4) Active participation during the classes (including reading reflection) - 25 %
5) Compulsory attendance (one unexcused absence allowed)

Minimum of 80% is needed to pass (all of the above mentioned points have to be at least partially accomplished)


Contact person for the course: Arban Mehmeti, MA (arban.mehmeti@gmail.com)

Literatura - angličtina
Poslední úprava: PhDr. Jiří Kocián, Ph.D. (03.02.2019)


Specific readings will be supplied for each topic shared in the syllabus and distributed to the students via e-mail.

Metody výuky - angličtina
Poslední úprava: PhDr. Jiří Kocián, Ph.D. (03.02.2019)

Course description

The aim of the course is to firstly introduce and explain the theoretical backrgound of particular issues. Based on literature and lecturer's presentation the students will have an opportunity to look inside the theoretical background of social sciences. Following, the other part of the lecture will focus on understanding case studies from the Balkans based on the theoretical knowledge. One of the main goals is to practice the usage of different skills - analysis, argumentation, working with study materials etc.

Every student will have a presentation which he/she will present during one of the classes (as listed in the sylabus), after discussing it and submitting the presentation beforehand, latest by midnight of the Sunday preceding the presentation.

The final essay will be based around this topic as well.

Students will also participate in a collective task of preparing a policy brief.

All are required to actively discuss during the seminars and reflect on the assigned readings during these discussions.

Požadavky ke zkoušce - angličtina
Poslední úprava: PhDr. Jiří Kocián, Ph.D. (03.02.2019)

Students will have an opprotunity to actively participate in classes as well to develop their writting, analytical and presentation skills. For this reason the assesments have been set as following: 

1) Presentation on a chosen topic (selected by students)  - 25 %
Powerpoint (or other) presentation (maximum 15 - 20 minutes)
penultimate slide - literature reference
last slide - list at least one question for following discussion

2) Final Essay on the presentation topic  - 25%
Citation - Chicago style reference

3) Policy brief (600 words) - collective task - 25 %
Students' working groups will prepare policy briefs on current international, regional or national affairs

4) Active participation during the classes (including reading reflection) - 25 %
Students are expected to fully engage in duscussions during the seminars and reflect on the readings assigned for each class

5) Compulsory attendance (one unexcused absence allowed)

Minimum of 80% is needed to pass (all of the above mentioned points have to be at least partially accomplished)

Sylabus - angličtina
Poslední úprava: doc. PhDr. Kateřina Králová, Ph.D., M.A. (04.02.2019)

1. Course Introduction 

Course description and assesment
Introduction to readings and course activities
Selection of presentations
Introduction to Balkan contemporary affairs


2) Introduction into the Balkan History

This class will offer a basic overview of the historical and political development in the Balkan peninsula during the 19th and 20th century. Acquirement of such a knowledge background offers a perspective to understand long term processes of the (re-)formation of South-East European states as well as historically entrenched principles of nation- and identity building. Following this introduction, the course will further deal in depth with specific contemporary issues which nevertheless find referential points in the historical setting.

Presentation topics:

1) Hitler's complicit allies? Romania and Bulgaria in World War II

2) The first breakup of Yugoslavia

Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, pp. 4-20.


3. Myths and stereotypes in the Balkans

The aim of the lecture is to define terms myth and stereotype and to classify main categories of myths and stereotype that we can find in the Balkans while focusing on these which have fully (re)emerged after  1989, e.g . national and religious myths and stereotypes and stereotypical picture of the Balkans in the West.  Which role did myths and stereotypes play in the process of (re)creating national identities in postcommunist era. How did they influence the conflicts in the Western Balkans in the 1990’s? Which were the triggering mechanisms and mobilizing agents that extensively contributed to their activation after the collapse of communism? These questions will be discussed during this lecture.

Presentation topics:

Myths and stereotypes in Bosnian war

Dichotomy West/East, Balkanism and their projection in the former Yugoslavia


Hayden Bakić, Milica. "Nesting Orientalisms: The Case of Former Yugoslavia". Slavic Review 54, No. 4 (Winter, 1995), 917-931.

(Optional) Gerrits, André a Nanci Adler, eds. Vampires Unstaked, National Images, Stereotypes and Myths in East Central Europe. Amsterdam: Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen. Afd. Letterkunde. Nieuwe Reeks; Deel 163, 1995. 


4. Politics of memory

The seminar will deal with how representation of history and collective memory are molded into tools of social mobilization, sources of legitimacy for the ruling elites and drain their power from past and existing  conflicts. Finding different forms, political use/shaping of commemoration penetrates officially sanctioned and institutionalized platforms as well as pop-culture and different subcultures.

Presentation topics:

Commemoration of the Holocaust in SEE

World War II memory in Greece


Droumpouki, Anna-Maria. 2016. "Shaping Holocaust memory in Greece: memorials and their public history". National Identities. 18, no. 2: 199-216. 


5. Democratic Transition in the Balkans

Transition to democracy has been approached by many theories and concepts. With their basic understanding we may reveal the aims of the Balkan politicians during the different phases of transformation and their specifics to applying democratic standards. The aim is to closely analyse the process of transition to democracy in the former Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria, that has started in the late 1980‘s and fully progressed into the beginning of 1990‘s.

Presentation topic:
Example of a "democratic transition" in practice (choose one Balkan country)


Crawford Beverly. Lijphart Arend. (eds.) Liberalization and Leninist Legacies: Comparative Perspectives on Democratic Transitions (Berkeley: University of California at Berkeley, 1997): 1-39.


6. Guest Lecture I - TBA

In collaboration with the University of Sarajevo, our colleagues from among their academic ranks will join our course with their lectures.


7. Policy briefs: International, Regional and Internal Affairs of the Balkan countries

Students' working groups will present their analyses of selected issues. The format will be defined and discussed in advance (see Policy Brief Guide and examples in the Syllabus).


8. EU and the Balkans

Countries of the Balkans have constituted a specific group in the process of European association compared to other post-socialist states. Deriving from the experience of more complicated transitional period and wars in the western part of the peninsula, the European association process and relations to the EU have played an important role in their internal policies and constructing regional cooperation with varied success. This session aims at analyzing past experiences with these as a whole and their current implications.

Presentation topics:

Romania and Bulgaria: Premature accessions?

EU with a "stick": Serbian accession policy after 2008


Aneta Spendzarova, Milada Vachudova. "Catching up? Consolidating Liberal Democracy in Bulgaria and Romania after EU Accession". West European Politics 35 (2012), pp. 39-58.

(Optional) Timo Summa, The European Union’s 5th Enlargement - Lesson Learned (Fellowship report, Harvard University, 2008), 5-34.


9. Contested Statehood: “The competing narratives and the implications on Kosovo – Serbia relations in the 90s”

The lecture on “The competing narratives and the implications on the Kosovo – Serbia relations in the 90s”, is a general reflection on the actions taken by the Serbian and the Kosovar actors to create (invent and reinvent) the narrative about Kosovo after the fall of Yugoslavia. These efforts on both sides were intended to claim the right to Kosovo’s past and certainly the right to decide about its future.  The “engineers” of such attempts were not only official state institutions but also cultural institutions, religious institutions, the media, and the international actors. The second part of the lecture deals with the impact these competing narratives had on the relations between Kosovo and Serbia in the 90s and today. 

Presentations topics:

The Kosovar Diaspora as an actor in the struggle for independence in the 1990s

The Kosovar Diaspora role in supporting Parallel structures (especially Education) 


Clark, Howard. Civil Resistance in Kosovo. London: Pluto Press, 2000. pp. 15 – 20; pp. 39 – 41; pp. 66 – 69.

Judah, Tim. Kosovo. What everyone needs to know. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. pp. 64-74

(optional) Malcolm, Noel. Kosovo. A Short History. London: Macmillan, 1998.

(optional) Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. London: Vintage, 1994. Introduction xii – xiii.


10. Guest Lecture II - “Remembering Srebrenica: Comparing US Congress and European parliament Commemorations”

In collaboration with the University of Sarajevo, our colleagues from among their academic ranks will join our course with their lectures.


11. Religion, churches and the breakup of Yugoslavia

The breakup of Yugoslavia accompanied by the greatest military conflict in Europe since the Second World War has been often interpreted in a simplified way as inevitable because of the extreme ethnic and religious heterogeneity of the region. The bloody disintegration of the region has been also understood as a conflict of three dominant creeds: Islam, Catholicism and Christian Orthodoxy. What was the actual role of the churches representing these faiths in the conflicts and in the process of national mobilization? Were religions and religious communities used by nationalist politics in their nationalist and political schemes? Or, conversely, did churches exploit nationalist euphoria and policies in achieving their own goals? Did they play an active or passive role in the 1990’s? The lecture examines the issue focusing mainly on the case of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Islamic Community.

Presentation topics: 

Serbian Orthodox Church and Slobodan Miloševic’s regime: allies or enemies?

Islam Community and its role in the process of establishment of Bosniak national identity


Perica, Vjekoslav. Balkan Idols. Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, Chapter 10 Religion as Hallmark of Nationhood

(Optional) Velikonja, Mitja. "Religious Symbolism in the Balkan Wars 1991-1995". International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 17, No. 1, Studies in the Social History of Destruction: The Case of Yugoslavia (Fall, 2003), pp. 25-40.


12. Contested Borderlands: Between the “Northern Epirus” and “Chameria”: Discursive life of the Greek-Albanian borderzone

The border area of the Albanian-Greek frontiers as well as the broader symbolic transnational space in between presents a vivid example of conflicting national discourses as well as of human life-stories unfolding in a dialogue with those. This lecture offers a brief overview of the Albanian-Greek borderland’s history and deals with the political, social and cultural transformations that took place after the fall of the communist regime in Albania. A special focus is made on combining the macro- and micro-level perspectives and on analysis of local discursive practices.

Presentation topics:

a) Migration from Albania to Greece from 1989 till today and/or return-migration

b) The “Issue of Northern Epirus” and the Greek speakers of Albania today

c) Chameria as a historical region and a symbolic construct


Nitsiakos, V. (2013). Brothers becoming others. In Fotini Tsibiridou & Nikitas Palantzas (Eds.), Myths of the Other in the Balkans. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/5771825/Brothers_becoming_others

(optional) Kretsi, G. (2002). The Secret Past of the Greek-Albanian Borderlands. Cham Muslim Albanians: Perspectives on a Conflict over Historical Accountability and Current Rights. Ethnologia Balkanica, (6), 171–195.

(optional) De Rapper, G. (2004). “We are not Greek, but…”: dealing with the Greek–Albanian border among the Albanian-speaking Christians of Southern Albania. Southeast European and Black Sea Studies4(1), 162–174.


13. Final Session

The final session will be dedicated to discussing the issues of academic writing and reflection on the topics dealt with during the semester.

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