Snežana Žabić is the author of the short story collection In a Lifetime (KOS, Serbia, 1996), the memoir Broken Records (punctum books, USA, 2016), and the poetry collection The Breath Capital (New Meridian Arts, USA, 2016). She co-authored, with Ivana Percl, the poetry collection Po(jest)zija/Po(eat)ry (SKC NS, Serbia, 2013).
Mirna Šolić currently lives in Glasgow and teaches Comparative Literature at the University of Glasgow. She studied in Zagreb (B.A. Hons.) and Toronto (M.A.; Ph.D.). During the last twenty years she has lived and worked in a number of places, including Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland, and Slovakia (in alphabetical order). At this point she feels settled in Scotland and wonders what comes next.
Danijela Majstorović is Professor of Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Banja Luka’s English department teaching Discourse Analysis and Cultural Studies. After completing her MA at Ohio University in 2003 and PhD at the University in Banja Luka in 2006, she was a visiting researcher at Lancaster University in 2006, a Fulbright fellow at UCLA in 2012-2013, a Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta in 2014 and a visiting researcher at the University of Indiana’s Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures department in 2016. Her research interests involve critical discourse analysis, critical theory, feminist theory, post- and decolonial theory, and post- socialist studies. Currently, she is a Humboldt Experienced Research Fellow studying discourses and affects of social protests and third wave migrations in post-2015 Western Balkans at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.[*]
Saida Hodžić is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Cornell University. Her book, The Twilight of Cutting: African Activism and Life after NGOs (University of California Press, 2017) has won the Michelle Rosaldo Book Prize by the Association for Feminist Anthropology and the Amaury Talbot Book Prize for African Anthropology. She is currently working on two book manuscripts, Affective Encounters: Humanitarian Afterlives of War and Violence and For Whom is Africa Rising? Unsettling Transnational Feminism. In non-COVID summers, she studies post-war industrial toxicity and civic environmental activism in Bosnia.
Mila Dragojević is an Associate Professor of Politics at the University of the South. Her research and teaching are in the areas of political violence, identity politics, migration, as well as European and Latin American politics. She is the author of Amoral Communities: Collective Crimes in Time of War (Cornell 2019) and The Politics of Social Ties: Immigrants in an Ethnic Homeland (Ashgate 2014/Routledge 2016).
Mitja Velikonja is Professor of Cultural Studies, head of Center for Cultural and Religious Studies at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Dr. Velikonja’s main areas of research include Central-European and Balkan political ideologies, subcultures and graffiti culture, collective memory and post-socialist nostalgia. His most recent publication is Post-Socialist Political Graffiti in the Balkans and Central Europe (Routledge, 2020). His contribution to the symposium is a webinar he gave earlier this year at the European Studies Council at the MacMillan Center, Yale University, where he was Visiting Professor.
Native of Sarajevo, Amila Buturović is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada. Her research interests span the intersections of religion and culture in the context of premodern Islamic societies, with a focus on Bosnia and the Balkans. She is the author of Stone Speaker: Medieval Tombstones, Landscape, and Bosnian Identity in the Poetry of Mak Dizdar (2002), translated into Bosnian/Croatian as Kameni govornik: stećci, prostor i identitet u poeziji Maka Dizdara (2019); co-editor with I. C. Schick of Women in the Ottoman Balkans (2007), translated into Turkish as Osmanlı Döneminde Balkan Kadınlar (2009); guest editor of Descant: Bosnia and Herzegovina, between Loss and Recovery (2012); and author of Carved in Stone, Etched in Memory: Death, Tombstones and Commemoration in Bosnian Islam (2016). She is currently working on a study about health culture tentatively entitled Herbs, Stars, Amulets: Cross-confessional Health and Healing in Ottoman Bosnia.
Aleksandar Hemon is Professor in Creative Writing at Princeton University. Born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, he ended up in the United States in 1992, as the war in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo began. He is the author of award-winning work in fiction, non-fiction, journalism, and screenplays, including the novel The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. He has published three collections of short stories: The Question of Bruno; Nowhere Man, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Love and Obstacles. He published the novel The Making of Zombie Wars in 2015, and worked as a writer on the hit Netflix show Sense8. He co-wrote the script for The Matrix 4, currently in production. He has also published non-fiction, including his 2013 memoir The Book of My Lives and, in 2019, My Parents: An Introduction/This Does Not Belong to You, as well as pieces in The New Yorker, Esquire, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and BH Dani. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a “Genius Grant” from the MacArthur Foundation in 2004. He lives in Princeton, NJ with his wife and daughters.
Edin Hajdarpašić is Assistant Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago, where he teaches courses in Western Civilization; the modern Balkans; nineteenth-century Europe; and the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires. Edin has published extensively on Balkan history, conflict and memory, religious and ethnic relations, nationalism, and the Ottoman legacy in Southeastern Europe. His interests also include film, museums, and other visual representations of the past; ethnography; and political theory. More about him in AHA Today.
Una di Gallo, Žana Kozomora, Saša Rajšić, Bojana Videkanić, Tamara Vukov, and Sonja Zlatanova (bios below)
According to multiple contemporary dictionaries the verb ‘to splain’ or ‘splaining’ “is a form of condescension in which a member of a privileged group explains something to a member of a marginalised group — most particularly, explains about their marginalisation — as if the privileged person knows more about it.” Given its meaning in the current anglophone cultural and social context, it was amusing to think how a group of people coming from a country that no longer exists could share some splaining with the West. Indeed, the peoples and territories of the former Yugoslavia have had their own fair share of being splained to, especially since the 1990. We the Balkan barbarians are continually incapable of staying on the straight and narrow, always in need of corrective and paternalistic Western lessons in ‘how to,’ as. Moving away from simple paternalistic dichotomies, the question should be: Why are post-Yugoslav territories and peoples rarely understood in Western academic and political discourses? Indeed, they suffer from an imposed and highly regulated theoretical parochialism and erasure that has variably been called “balkanist” (Todorova 1997), balkanizing (Grubačić 2010), postcolonial (Videkanić 2020), neocolonial (Stiks and Horvat 2012), racializing (Boatca 2006, Arat-Koc 2009, Miškovic 2006), and/or a semiperipheral void (Blagojević 2009). Even recent attempts to connect the region to larger political debates around race and the nonaligned legacy often miss the political, economic, and geopolitical complexities that define postsocialist transition. The intensification of this parochialization combines global hypervisibility and erasure refracted through the lenses of (post)war “transition” and semiperipheral in/visibilities. Or as Alex Dajković once put it in the title of a never completed piece of writing (citing a speech of Tito’s), “the appendage of another’s politics” (privjesak nečije druge politike). The dichotomy of hypervisibility and erasure on the one hand, and of being a recipient of westernsplaining on the other, is the liminal space we in this group of artists and thinkers continually find ourselves in.