Figuring out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations
Partners: IFDT, KZP Beton, individuals in Kosovo* and Albania team
Project Figuring out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations challenges Serbian-Albanian hostility by reinvestigating events and discourses from the past and recent times, seeking to give explanation and identify common views, ideas and traditions that undermine the present enmity and promote cooperation.
Project brings together scholars and researchers from Serbia, Kosovo and Albania from various fields of social sciences, humanities, literature and art theory who are determined to penetrate into the logic of Serbian-Albanian hostility and into its manifestations by using various analytic tools. It will cover several topics, including historical background, literature and history textbooks, artistic, literary and political discourses, media content, relations and collaborative plans.
Research efforts are divided in several thematic sections, which together explore the modes of a conflict that has lasted for centuries, with varying intensity. The introductory discussions are dedicated to researching the history(ies) and heritage(s) of both nations that aspire to the same exclusive territory. They explore memories that grew into myths, (re)construction of the past, but also of the recent key events, that become mutually nourished hostility hubs. This reconstruction continues with discourse analysis.
The research focuses on finding dominant narrative frameworks, discursive devices used to create coherent stories, but also on absent motives that potentially disrupt the coherence by questioning nationalism as the core ideology – from the official language of SFRY to present textbooks and media narratives. Following these analytical lines, the research will focus also on specific case studies (memoranda of the Academies, Kosovo independence proclamation, exhibition of Albanian artists, Brussels agreement, etc), exploring the cultural symbolical actions and key political and cultural events in mutual relations. Also, the research will focus on trends in respective media. It is argued that media narratives correspond to, and are fostered by the dominant political discourses in the recent period, which is still heavily dependent by the discourse of nationhood, victimization, and saturated by national myths and the traditions of romantic-nationalism. Researchers will deconstruct strategic rivalry, tending to explore what emerges from the historical and mental knot of the violence – “executioner and victim” narrative. This is the first joint initiative of scholars and intellectuals from Serbia, Kosovo and Albania, which includes the research endeavors and promotion of critically oriented findings outside the region. We tend to create international attention by publishing a collection in English and organizing several events planned on the project. The project aims to create lasting cooperation and a strong network between scholars, intellectuals and cultural institutions from Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. The research results will be presented during 3 round tables in Belgrade, Prishtina and Tirana. These workshops will provide dialogue and cooperation between participants, relevant academics and stake holders, and disseminate the research to the wider audience. We plan to present the project results at national book fairs and international book fair in Leipzig, Germany. Finally, it is our intention to close the project with large-scale international conference of highest relevance, with attendance of established scholars in the nationalism studies and relevant international stakeholders (EU Commissioner, ministers from Serbia, Kosovo and Albania, etc). this conference would be a spot of critical analysis and political influence, confirming the importance of joint cooperation and scholars network. Research results will be published in the book Figuring out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations. The book will be simultaneously published in Serbian and Albanian, while the English version is expected in the second year, with the aim to reach wider audience.
Figura e armikut: ripërfytyrimi i marrëdhënieve shqiptaro-serbe promoted in Tirana
The book Figura e armikut: ripërfytyrimi i marrëdhënieve shqiptaro-serbe had its promotion on Friday, July 1, at the Albanian Ministry of Culture. The book has been published as a part of the RRPP funded project „Figuring out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations“, implemented by the Institute for Philosophy and Socal Theory, University of Belgrade and KPZ Beton from Belgrade, as well as independent research teams from Albania and Kosovo. Its editors are Rigels Halili, Armanda Hysa, Adriana Zaharijević and Aleksandar Pavlović, and it has been published by Qendra Multimedia from Prishtina.
The book Figura e armikut represents the Albanian edition of a volume Figura neprijatelja: preosmišljavanje srpsko-albanskih odnosa, previously published in Serbian. The book gathers 24 articles written by Serbian and Albanian scholars, aimed at questioning the widespread assumptions and common prejudices between the two nations. The event held at the Albanian Ministry of Culture gathered a number of prominent intellectuals and public figures and officials, such as dr Odeta Barbullushi, Albanian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, mr Miroljub Zarić, Serbian Ambassador in Albania, and others. In the words of the editors and commentators, this is the most comprehensive account on Serbian-Albanian relation available in Albanian so far, and the one that brings the most welcome critical view of the previously held assumptions about the centennial hostility between the two nations.
As the book editors emphasized in the Preface, this publication evolved from a fundamental belief that theory is deeply politicized while being an integral part of the mind-set for discussion of political problems and ideas, and with the aim of presenting and promoting critical view on policy of friendship. According to the authors of the study, current hostility between Serbs and Albanians had been established in the last quarter of the 19th century. In the course of history, there had been many examples of a positive perception between Serbs and Albanians who shared similar patriarchal values. Weakening of the Ottoman rule and the formation of Albanian national movement fuelled mutual hostility between two nations. The group of intellectuals involved in the publication The Figure of the Enemy advocates thus for the reaffirmation of the positive examples and promote friendship between two nations.
For a more detailed reports about this event in Albanian press, please follow these links: http://www.balkanweb.com/gazetashqiptare/figura-e-armikut-si-u-bene-shqiptaret-nga-heronj-ne-torturues-ne-serbi/
Figuring Out the Enemy strongly welcomed in London
Figuring Out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations (IFDT & KPZ Beton, 2015) was presented among numerous audience at UCL Center for South East European Studies on April 15th. Editors Adriana Zaharijević, Gazela Pudar Draško and Rigels Halili gave introductory word on how project was initiatied and what was the main idea with such endeavour. The presentation was followed with panel discussion with Southeast European experts, Eric Gordy, Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, Bojan Aleksov and Gëzim Krasniqi. The focus of the discussion was the challenge of overcoming the present enmity and promote cooperation between Serbs and Albanians in the region. All discussants emphasized that the Figuring out the Enemy presents innovative and valuable contribution to researching mutual relations of two nations, as it aims to offer neutral overview of the processes in last two centuries on both sides.
Project Figuring out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations challenges Serbian-Albanian hostility by reinvestigating events and discourses from the past and recent times, seeking to give explanation and identify common views, ideas and traditions that undermine the present enmity and promote cooperation. It involves almost 30 researchers from Serbia, Kosovo* and Albania, from various fields of social sciences, humanities, literature and art theory who are determined to penetrate into the logic of Serbian-Albanian hostility and into its manifestations by using various analytic tools.
The project is supported through Regional Research Promotion Programme and implemented by the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory and KPZ Beton.