UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Dr Borut Klabjan: ‘Growing Stones’: Memory Cultures in the Northern Adriatic Borderland

20 March 2018, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Dr Borut Klabjan: 'Growing Stones’

Event Information

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South-East European Studies Seminar Series


Room 433, 4th Floor, UCL SSEES, 16 Taviton Street, London, WC1H 0BW

This presentation focuses on the memorial landscape and on the ongoing reinterpretations of the traumatic events of World War II in the Northern Adriatic borderland. Today part of the European Union and shared between Slovenia, Croatia and Italy, the area has typically figured in both scholarly and popular imaginations as either a transitional zone, an area of cultural cross-fertilization, or as a site of violent, "tectonic" civilizational shifts. In the 20th Century it often functioned as a powerful symbolic boundary, one in which several key axes of European and global symbolic geography intersected: the West and the East, German, Latin and Slav Worlds, Europe and the Balkans, fascism and anti-fascism, liberal democracy, capitalism and communism.

After World War II, the so-called Trieste Question turned the region into one of the hotspots of the Cold War. Even as tensions between Italy and Yugoslavia abated, contrasting interpretations of the past and rival memorials characterized the period and shaped the landscape. The paper highlights grassroots memory cultures in order to overcome dichotomous ideological and ethnic/national explanations. The politics of memory were not merely imposed by the state in a unilateral top-down direction; indeed, state-sponsored initiatives had to negotiate in a border context. This paper uses the Italo-Slovene borderland as a lens through which to investigate global aspects of memory politics and to challenge the supposed specificity of Central and Eastern European processes of remembering.

Bio: Borut Klabjan is Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Senior Research Fellow at the Science and Research Centre in Koper and teaches as Associate professor at the Department of History of the University of Ljubljana. He graduated from the University of Trieste and received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Ljubljana. He enhanced his studies at universities in Bratislava, Venice and Prague. In 2011 he was Humboldt Fellow at the Institute for South-East Europe of the Humboldt University in Berlin and in 2014 at the Institute for South-East Europe in Regensburg.

He is the author of two monographs, editor and co-author of four multilingual volumes, and the author of numerous articles, which were published in journals, such as East European Politics and Societies and Cultures, Acta Historiae, Austrian History Yearbook, Nationalities Papers. He participates in several national and international projects dealing with themes of political, diplomatic and cultural history, memory, border and minorities issues in nineteenth and twentieth century Europe.

This event is hosted by UCL SSEES and made possible by the generous support of the University of Ljubljana and the Slovene Embassy.

Slovene wine will be served, courtesy of the Embassy of Slovenia in London.

All are welcome, registration is not required.