Interpretations of Yugoslav Conflicts and its Consequences

The academic conference “Interpretations of Yugoslav Conflicts and its Consequences: From Radical Disagreement to Dialogue” is a joint project by forumZFD and its partners, Nansen Dialogue Centre Serbia and the Center for Peace Studies (Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade). It took place on the 13–14 November 2015 at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade.

Two decades after the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, very limited success has been achieved in the reconciliation process in the post-Yugoslav region. This is most evident in the continuous clash between radically different interpretations of the causes of conflict and responsibilities of actors. In fact, the conflicts did not end in 1995, but rather only the violent phase. Most of the contradictions are still present and some of them are even amplified by the ‘clashes of narratives’. Coding and framing of a conflictual and violent past can become quite important factors of conflict transformation and peace building. Academics and researchers of the Yugoslav wars play an extremely decisive role in these ‘clashes of narratives’, not only in the region, but also the wider academic community. In the past twenty years, a vast number of studies on the Yugoslav wars have been published, often with reductionist and prejudicial approaches. Beside scientific and academic consequences, these interpretations have a wider political and social impact.

The aim of this conference is to bring together well-known academics and civic society representatives from the region and to provide a space for a discussion on the aforementioned issues. All the papers from the conference will be compiled in an edited publication, which will constitute a guide for a multiperspective (multipartial) understanding of the Yugoslav wars. The publication will be distributed to relevant NGO and academic organisations in the region. It will be also included as compulsory literature in the curriculum of the Regional Master's Program in Peace Studies, which will guarantee lasting project results.

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