The Other Europeans: Yugoslav self-fashioning as the "Good European" in the Period of Non-Alignment
Gabika Bockaj (Institute for European Ethnology of the HU Berlin)
Paper short abstract:
This paper will discuss the ways in which Yugoslavs during the period of Non-Alignment struggled to fashion themselves as "good" Europeans without an imperial past, but ended up enmeshed in other European identity markers in the new world of decolonized nations.
Paper long abstract:
The Yugoslav region and the Balkans have been subject of malicious stereotypes and categories from those powerfully situated within European continent for centuries. There is a large literature about the creation/invention of the East of Europe, Europe's incomplete, backward and forever lagging cousin. But what happens when the gaze is returned? More precisely, how did Yugoslavs fashion their own European-ness? I plan to explore this question with examples from travelogues and memoirs during Yugoslav involvement with the decolonizing world and the Non-Aligned Movement. The question that drives the inquiry is whether the Yugoslavs through their involvement with the NAM managed to de-naturalize the dominant idea of European-ness (as "Christian" and "white") in the hegemonic Western European countries, who did not acknowledge the more transitory identities and unstable geographies that they created through their imperial adventures.