Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory


Politics of History in Eastern Europe


Monday, 22. June

Cultural Centre of Belgrade, 16:00

The discussants will focus on how the relationship between history of socialism and imaginations of the future in Eastern Europe, and the region of former Yugoslavia specifically, reverberates today. We will address the issues of the relationship between differently narrated history and lived experience, in affective, museological, academic and activist vein. The discussants will tackle two streams of what in 1999 Katherine Verdery termed “a veritable orgy of historical revisionism, of writing the communist period out of the past”. What do phenomena such as lustration laws, opening of museums dedicated to the victims of communism, destruction of the modernist architectural heritage or pragmatic re-appropriations of Yugoslavia’s global prestige tell us about the region’s (in)ability to make sense of the past? The other stream will address the theme of historical revisionism in relation to 20th century gender and feminist history, discussing how to reassess Cold War left-wing women’s movements in our contemporary, post-Cold War capitalist times.

Chair: Adriana Zaharijević (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade)

Participants: Kristen Ghodsee (Bowdoin College, Brunswick), Chiara Bonfiglioli (Juraj Dobrila University of Pula)​, Danijela Majstorović (University of Banjaluka​), Tanja Petrović (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana), Ljubica Spaskovska (University of Exeter)


Participant biographies:

Kristen Ghodsee is a Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College and a current Senior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS).  She has held residential research fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC; the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey; the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Anthropology and Cultural Studies in 2012.  Ghodsee is the author of five books and dozens of articles on communism, postcommunism, and economic transition in Eastern Europe. Her latest book, The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe, is forthcoming with Duke University Press in 2015.

Chiara Bonfiglioli (Juraj Dobrila University of Pula)​ is currently Newfelpro post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Cultural and Historical Research of Socialism. From 2012 to 2014, she has been a research fellow within the framework of the CITSEE project at the University of Edinburgh. She has published extensively on women’s and feminist history in the European context. In the last two years, she has been researching the impact of post-socialist transition and deindustrialisation on gender relations in the former Yugoslavia.

Danijela Majstorović (University of Banjaluka​) is Associate Professor of Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Banja Luka’s English department where she teaches Discourse Analysis and Cultural Studies. She was a Fulbright fellow at UCLA in 2012-2013 and Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta in 2014. She ran numerous international and local research projects, among them University of Alberta Kuhle Institute for Advanced Studies funded “Direct Democracy and Activist Citizenship in the Western Balkans: The Case Study of Bosnia and Herzegovina” in 2015.

Tanja Petrović (ZRC SAZU) is a senior research associate at the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Ljubljana. Her research interests lie at the intersection of linguistic, social, and cultural phenomena in former Yugoslavia. She is the author and editor of several books (including her latest publication Mirroring Europe: Ideas of Europe and Europeanization in Balkan Societies, Brill, 2014) and a number of essays on linguistic and cultural identities and processes in post-Yugoslav societies.

Ljubica Spaskovska (University of Exeter) is a research fellow at the University of Exeter, UK. She completed her doctoral dissertation ‘The Last Yugoslav Generation: Youth Politics and Cultures in Late Socialism’ at the University of Exeter in 2014. Between 2009 and 2014 she was also part – both as a full-time research fellow and as a research collaborator – of the University of Edinburgh based project CITSEE. Her article ‘Landscapes of Triumph, Memory and Loss – on Yugoslav Supranationalism and Anti-Nationalism 1986-1991′ won the 2011 Best Doctoral Paper Student Award at the annual ASN convention at Columbia Univeristy.


From crises of capitalism to critiques of capitalism


Tuesday, 23. June

Institut français de Serbie, Belgrade, 18:00


In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels describe a capitalism in crisis of continuous development: “Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.” We are thus forced to ask: are not the crises of capitalism its very first critiques? To what extent can we even formulate a critique of a system that seems to have taken control of critique itself?

Chair: Igor Krtolica (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade)

Participants: Laurence Fontaine (CNRS, Paris), Anselm Jappe (Collège international de philosophie, Paris), G. M. Tamás (CEU, Budapest), Rastko Močnik (University of Ljubljana)


Participant biographies:

Laurence Fontaine (CNRS, Paris) studied history and sociology at the universities of Paris 1 and Paris 5, and as a historian she is “Directrice de recherches” at the CNRS (CMH, ENS-EHESS-Paris). From 1995 until 2003, she taught at the department of history and civilisations at the IUE in Firenze. Her first works focused on migrations and mountain societies. She then worked on the political, cultural and social aspects of the economy, mainly on market and debt/credit relations. She always conducts her research so as to confront European preindustrial societies with the contemporary world. She is the author of: Le Marché, Histoire et usages d’une conquête sociale (2014); L’Economie morale. Pauvreté, crédit et confiance dans l’Europe préindustrielle (2008) [English translation: The Moral Economy. Poverty Credit and Thrust in Early Modern Europe (2014)], for which she received the prize of the “Rendez-vous de l’histoire de Blois” in 2009. Alternative Exchanges: Second-Hand Circulations from the Sixteenth Century to the Present (2008); Histoire du colportage en Europe (1993) [English translation: History of peddlars in Europe (1996) ; Chinese translations in 2008 and 2011]. She received the medal of “chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur” for her scientific achievements.

Anselm Jappe (Collège international de philosophie, Paris) was born in 1962 and raised in Germany. He then studied philosophy in Italy and France. He is the author of Guy Debord (Denoël, 2001), Les Aventures de la marchandise. Pour une nouvelle critique de la valeur (Denoël, 2003), L’Avant-garde inacceptable. Réflexions sur Guy Debord (Lignes, 2004), Crédit à mort (Lignes 2011). He contributed to German reviews such as Krisis and Exit ! (founded by Robert Kurz), contributing to the development of the « critic of value », better known as the Wertkritik Schule. He was a visiting professor at many European and Latin American universities. He currently teaches at the Collège International de Philosophie (Paris) and at the Academia di Belle Arti de Sassari (Italy). His main concerns include the history of the development of contemporary capitalism, as well as the history of the artistic avant-garde and the relations between aesthetics and politics.

M. Tamás (CEU, Budapest) is a Hungarian philosopher and public intellectual. Born in Cluj, Romania. Forced to emigrate to Hungary in 1978, he taught for two years at the University of Budapest (ELTE), then he was fired for having published illegal tracts in samizdat. He had subsequently become a leading figure in the East European dissident movements. His views on political philosophy and political theory shifted gradually to the left. He is said to belong to the company of heretical European Marxists. He is a visiting professor at CEU, Budapest.

Rastko Močnik (University of Ljubljana) is a Slovenian sociologist. He publishes in the fields of historical materialism, sociology of culture, theory of ideology and epistemology of the humanities and social sciences. In 2005 he became a doctor honoris causa at the Plovdiv University “Paisiy Hilendarski”. He currently teaches at the Faculty for Media and Communications at the University of Singidunum in Belgrade.



How (not) to Own: From Commons to Property


Wednesday, 24. June


Rectorate of the University of Belgrade, 17:00

Capitalism is often seen as a system relying on an exclusive conception of private property whilst commons are, by the same token, seen as relating to collective wealth. But, to what extent are these definitions taken for granted? This round table will address several issues related to the topics: the destruction of the ”first“ commons in early capitalism and the need to broaden their definition to social relations, as well as the need to include notions of wealth beyond the market; the critique of the ways in which property relations are conceptualized today and of how their control is conditioned by the contradictions of contemporary capitalism. The panel will also touch upon more specific question like the distribution of food and its role as a commons.


Chair: Маrjan Ivković (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade)

Participants: Giuseppe Mastruzzo (International University College Torino), Tibor Várady (CEU, Budapest), Mladen Lazić (University of Belgrade), Toni Prug (Queen Mary University of London), Jovan Babić (University of Belgrade)


Participant biographies:

Tibor Várady (CEU, Budapest) earned his law degree at the Belgrade University School of Law, and received an S.J.D. at Harvard Law School.  The major part of his publications is devoted to Private International Law and International Commercial Arbitration.  He acted as an arbitrator in approximately 200 cases, and as an agent, counsel and advocate in 10 cases before the International Court of Justice.  He also published literary books in Hungarian, Serbian and English, and acted as the editor of the Hungarian language literary magazine Uj Symposion that became well known in Yugoslavia in the seventies, as a magazine voicing dissident authors. He is currently a University Professor at the Central European University in Budapest, and a Professor Emeritus at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta.

Toni Prug (Queen Mary University of London) has a PhD and a BA from the University of London, in business and management (Queen Mary, 2014) and sociology (Goldsmiths, 2007). He researches emancipatory and egalitarian human development, focusing on non-commodity production – public health, education, care, infrastructure, household, digital outputs – and its relations with the dominant commodity production and the social reproduction as a whole. His past activities include various fringe political engagements, a brief career in music and a longer one in networks and software. He runs an amateur basketball team as a player-coach in London/UK where he lives.

Giuseppe Mastruzzo (International University College Torino) is the director of the International University College of Turin. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kent at Canterbury and focuses on researching the self-mythologization of narrative forms and historical periods. Among other institutions, Giuseppe lectured at the Universities of Kent and East London in England, Delta State in Nigeria and the Italian National School for Public Administration. From 2003 to 2007 he was Head of Studies and Research at Confservizi Lazio, the association of utilities and public-service companies in Rome.

Mladen Lazić (University of Belgrade) is Professor at the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade University. He coordinated many research projects in former Yugoslavia and Serbia, and participated widely in international research projects, mainly in the fields of social stratification, economic and political elites, value changes and ethnic relations. He is the author and editor of thirteen books (in Serbo-Croatian and English), and published articles in numerous books and journals in Serbo-Croatian, English, German, French and Russian.

Jovan Babić (University of Belgrade) is Professor of Ethics at the University of Belgrade and Visiting Professor at Portland State University. He is author of Kant and Scheler (1986), and Morality and Our Time (1998, 2nd ed. 2005), both Serbian, and numerous articles, including: (2000) “Justifying Forgiveness”, Peace Review Vol 12. no. 1; (2000) “Die Pflicht nicht zu lügen – eine vollkommene, jedoch nicht auch juridische Pflicht”, Kant-Studien Vol 91, no. 4; (2003) “Foreign armed Intervention: Between Justified Aid and Illegal Violence”, in A. Jokic, ed.Humanitarian Intervention: Moral and Philosophical Issues, Broadview Press; (2010, Paperback 2013) World Governance, edited by Jovan Babic and Petar Bojanic, Cambridge Scholars Publishing; (2012) “On State, Identity and Rights: Putting Identity First”, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, Int J Semiot Law (2012) 25;  (2015) “Die Struktur des Friedens”, Friedensgesellschaften – zwischen Verantwortung und Vertrauen, Verlag Karl Alber; Auflage.