The use and misuse of textbooks by ethnic entrepreneurs in the Western Balkans has been extensively documented by the literature. In this presentation, I summarize the main ways in which history textbooks were re-written through the wars of the 1990s, and the history textbooks in the post-Yugoslav countries today, over two decades after the war. Despite the fact that the overt nationalist propaganda from the 1990s has been mostly removed from textbooks across the region, textbooks are still wrought with messages specifying who belongs to “us” and who is the Other. I examine the strategies history and geography textbooks use to define identities, both implicitly – through maps, borders, images, and the appropriation of particular authors, artists, and popular culture references – as well as explicitly – through overt strategies, such as selective representations of the past, presenting the nation as the ultimate victim, and shifting responsibility for wrongdoings. I examine the common elements in textbook identity politics throughout the region, and point to the ways in which they differ, both within and across countries.
Lecture by Tamara Pavasović Trošt, Univeristy of Ljubljana
Schubertstr. 51 / HS 31.11