Lecture -- A War over Genocide: Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina Facing/Faking Their Past

01 Dec 2015


One of the core assumptions underpinning the EU’s operations is that the implementation of the human rights principles is crucial for democratization processes and for coming to terms with the past, in particular in post-conflict settings. However, despite these efforts, nationalism, which opposes the uniform standardization of global rights, still remains the most potent ideology across the globe, in particular in conflict and post-conflict settings. In this lecture I will analyze the uses of the genocide discourses in Serbia, Croatian and Bosnia-Herzegovina to provide a critical perspective on the impact that the human rights regime has on nationalist ideologies. I will question the usefulness of the human rights agenda which is based on the assumption that the standardization of memory, i.e. a proper way of remembrance, is effective in promoting universalist human rights values in conflict and post-conflict settings. In so doing, it will address the fundamental questions asking kind of national memories are being enforced via human rights infrastructures among post-conflict states and how are those memories re-figuring and transforming the potency of nationalism.

Presenter: Lea David, PhD, Fulbright-Rabin postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh

Lea David finished her PhD at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben Gurion University, Israel. Her work examines how a transition to democracy is changing a content of a collective memory in Serbia and is producing new social categories. She explores how a contested past is managed through the clashes of the local and the global memory cultures. She has been lecturing on the memory studies, conflict in the Former Yugoslav countries, Holocaust, genocide, and human rights at various Israeli Universities and Colleges. Her postdoctoral research at the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research, Haifa University deals with Memory Politics and Human Rights regime in International Relations. As the Fulbright- Rabin postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, in the coming year she is about to broaden her research to various forms of nationalism produced through memory politics and human rights in the Former Yugoslav states as well as in Israel and Palestine

Event Date: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - 12:00pm
Sponsored By: 
University of Pittsburgh Global Studies Center, Center for Russian and East European Studies
4217 Posvar Hall
Presenter Type: 
Graduate Student