Online seminar #2: The memory of the People's Liberation Struggle in Yugoslavia and beyond

Gal Kirn in conversation with Lana Lovrenčić

PoSoCoMeS online seminar series: session #2

Monday, 2 August, 5.30 pm CET

Zoom link:

In the monthly online PoSoCoMeS seminar, Gal Kirn will present his recent book The Partisan Counter-Archive: Retracing the Ruptures of Art and Memory in the Yugoslav People's Liberation Struggle (2020). In conversation with Lana Lovrenčić and the audience, he will reflect on the People's Liberation Struggle as a phenomenon of collective memory in Yugoslavia and beyond.

Gal Kirn's book examines the fate of the rich (counter-)archival material that told the story of the People's Liberation Struggle in the Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav contexts. It discusses the making of partisan memory in Yugoslavia and its un-doing by the present-day revisionists.

Kirn looks at partisan poems, graphic works, photography, monuments and films as manifestation of the once-shared memory of victory over fascism. By analysing these numerous creative works as a body of (counter-)archival sources, the book highlights the symbolic power of artistic works that echo and envision partisan legacy and rupture.

In the post-Yugoslav context, historical revisionism and nationalist propaganda have tried to eradicate the legacy of partisan and socialist struggles. These recent revisionist attempts, the book claims, contribute to the Yugoslav politico-aesthetic ‘history of the oppressed’ as an alternative journey to the partisan past.

Gal Kirn is a specialist in political science, cultural analysis and philosophy. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI) in Berlin and a participant in the international research project Partisan Resistance(s): Visual culture, collective imagination and revolutionary memory (Grenoble University, 2019-2021). Gal holds a PhD in Intercultural Studies of Ideas from the University of Nova Gorica (2012), and has contributed to numerous research projects. His previous book Partisan Ruptures. Self-Management, Market Reform and the Spectre of Socialist Yugoslavia (Pluto Press, 2019) addresses the rise and demise of socialist Yugoslavia.

Lana Lovrenčić is an art historian working at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb and co-founder of the PoSoCoMeS working group. She has published on the memorialization of the Yugoslav people's liberation struggle in authentic historical localities and discussed methodological approaches to a private archive in her work on the Petar Dabac Archive. In 2015 and 2017 she co-organised highly acclaimed international academic events on socialist monuments and modernism and the memory of post-war monuments in post-communist Europe.