Non-governmental Memory: Cultural Heritage and Political Activism in Post-Yugoslavia

Quadrant: Design, Architecture, and Culture

Cultural heritage was deeply enmeshed in the political violence that accompanied the break-up of Yugoslavia. Memorials, monuments, and historic sites were both invoked as a besieged patrimony necessary to defend, and criticized as a patrimony of abjected ethnic, national, and religious others. Postwar preservation programs have—not surprisingly—fixed on the very same heritage, posing it as the object of an array of governmental practices dedicated to the consolidation of national memory, identity, and history. With the framing of heritage preservation as a crucial dimension of postwar governmentality, however, preservation has also become contested by the governed. Professor Herscher's project is an exploration of this contestation. The project focuses on postwar heritage culture in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, and Serbia as a site of and means for rethinking the possibilities of public memory, political participation, collective identity, and post-conflict peace building and reconciliation. In so doing, Herscher will reflect on heritage not simply as a set of artifacts whose social life is defined by national, transnational, and international laws and conventions, but also as a figure by means of which constitutive cultural and political claims are articulated and negotiated.

On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, Professor Herscher gave a Quadrant lecture about his project. Video is not available.

University of Minnesota