Serbian Heritage

posted by ush on 2010/02/01 11:34

[ Workshop ]

Workshop (February 6, 2010; London): Serbian 'Heritage' as Value, Structure, and Product

The aim of this workshop is to critically address the concept of "heritage" in the case of Serbia and the Serbs. While customarily identified as a value, a given that is inherited (as the very term suggests) and handed down from one generation to the next, a body of literature emerged in the 1980s – authored by, inter alia, scholars like Pierre Nora, Eric Hobsbawm, David Lowenthal, or Svetlana Boym – which insists on the factor of agency by which objects, events, or thoughts from the past are made relevant to/in the present. Heritage, history, tradition, or identity, it is now claimed, are not "just there".
Instead, they are constructed and reproduced to serve certain functions in a given society at a certain point in time. What is understood by these concepts is flexible and constantly modified in accordance with perceived necessities in a given situation, though it is in their very nature to downplay this instability. As it is through discourse that songs, objects, monuments, or ideas are turned into "heritage", this process is necessarily accompanied by a practice of selection.

This workshop seeks to track this process, the making of "heritage", in various periods in the Serbian case, and to identify agents, motivations, and contexts. It views "heritage" as a project on one hand, as a (social) product on the other. A number of scholars from the UK,
Serbia, and from elsewhere but working on Serbia, will be asked to present investigations on aspects of this problem: the production (of canons) of “heritage” in the fields of literature, music, the visual arts, popular historical consciousness, or other structures and complexes perceived as tradition. In shedding light on the relationship between past and present in the present, it seeks to shift the debate from "myths", "truth" and "fact" to a discussion of meaning and the social function of the culture-historical canon.


11.00-12.30 Session 1

Maximilian Hartmuth (Sabanci University, Istanbul): From ‘Slavic art’ over ‘Byzantine monuments’ to ‘Serbian heritage’

Tatjana Markovic (University of Arts, Belgrade): A Serbian National Identity in Music: a Diaspora Construct

Bojan Aleksov (University College London): Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj, Serbia’s Most Loved Poet and Lis legacy


12.30-13.30 Lunch break

13.30-14.30 Session 2

Jelena Todorovic (University of Arts, Belgrade): The Shifting of the Past and the Obliquity of Time: the Concepts of History and the Past in the Baroque Culture of the Serbian Orthodox
Archbishopric of Karlovci

Marija Petrovic (Oxford University): Resistance to the 'Union’: a Defining Factor in the History of the Habsburg Serbs?


14:30-14:45 Coffee break

14.45-16.00 Session 3

Claske Vos (Aarhus University): Appropriating ‘European Heritage’ in Serbia: implementing the Regional Heritage Programme for Cultural and Natural Heritage in Southeast Europe

Bojan Mitrovic (University of Trieste), The Kosovo and Maritza Battles and the Paradigm Shift in Serbian Historiography around 1900


Closing remarks

11AM-4PM at University College London, Pearson Building Lecture Theatre. Gower St, London, WC1E 6BT. A map of the conference venue can be found at

The workshop, convened by Maximilian Hartmuth and Tatjana Markovic, takes place within the framework of the Serbian Week in Great Britain (January 30–February 6, 2010, organized by the Serbian Council of Great Britain), and has been made possible thanks to financial support by the Ministry for the Diaspora of the Republic of Serbia.



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