Tea Sindbæk: Nationalizing the Past: Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia Rewrite the Shared History of Socialist Yugoslavia


In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2014. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 77–92.

After Yugoslavian communism was abandoned in 1990 and the Yugoslav Federation dissolved into years of warfare in 1991, the history of socialist Yugoslavia was widely rewritten to justify these changes and to support the political projects of the newly established nation states. This article investigates how the common Yugoslavian socialist past was represented in the new histories of Croatia, Serbia and, more briefly, Bosnia in the 1990s and early 2000s. Based on analyses of schoolbooks of contemporary history and history writing, especially works of historical synthesis, in Croatia, Serbia and, more briefly, Bosnia, the article argues that the early post-Yugoslav representations of Yugoslav history were characterised by a predominantly national framework of understanding. New histories downplayed periods of peaceful coexistence and relative prosperity, while narratives of internal conflicts were dominant. In this way, history writing and education contributed to explaining the break-up of the Yugoslav Federation, to legitimising new state structures and to naturalising national borders.

Über die Autorin

Tea Sindbæk, Assistenzprofessorin am Institut für Interkulturelle und Regionalforschung, Universität Kopenhagen. 2009–2011 wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Institut für Geschichte und Landeskunde in Aarhus, 2011–2012 am Zentrum für Europäische Studien in Lund. 2010 als Gastwissenschaftlerin am Institut für Public Understanding of the Past in York/GB. Forschungsschwerpunkte: Zeitgeschichte Südosteuropas, insbesondere Fragen zum Umgang mit Geschichte, kultureller Erinnerung, Identitätspolitik und Volkskultur. Veröffentlichungen: Usable History? Representations of Yugoslavia’s difficult past from 1945 to 2002, Aarhus 2012; Mithg.: Images of Imperial Legacy: Modern discourses on the social and cultural impact of Ottoman and Habsburg rule in Southeast Europe, Berlin 2011 (mit Maximilian Hartmuth); Autorin zahlreicher Artikel über den Umgang mit Geschichte und Volkskultur in Südosteuropa.