Interviews and Discussions

14 May 2012

Peter Vermeersch talks with Weschler about his new collection, Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative (Counterpoint Press 2011). In this book Weschler writes about digital animation, human rights, paintings, writer’s block, stories and their political importance, and, above all, faces.

Yugosphere revisited
14 March 2012

I never said that the ‘Yugosphere’ was an exclusive one-way option. I always said that it was a sort of roof and underneath it you have a kind of ‘Serbian sphere’, a ‘Croatian sphere’, an ‘Albanian sphere’ (which is half in and half out of the ‘Yugosphere’), and even a ‘Bosniak sphere’. So you can simultaneously have a foot in both. For example, you can be a Serb living in Drvar (in the federation part of Bosnia and Herzegovina), your son goes to university in Belgrade, you do business with people in Croatia or Sarajevo, and you visit your aunt in Macedonia.

Political Demobilisation
7 October 2011

One of the really impressive things about Yugoslavia in the 1980s is the degree of political mobilisation throughout the area. People organised, people demonstrated. It takes a lot of organisation to get the kinds of protests that we saw in Serbia, for example, or the Sarajevo anti-war protests in 1992. So the very fact that citizens were mobilising is incredibly threatening to elites. The demobilisation strategy takes a lot of work though, but it is really not a long-term strategy. It’s a short-term strategy and in both Croatia and Serbia it bought time for the elites to shift their basis of power.

A brighter future for Europe?
3 February 2012

Whenever Rome conquered a new territory, not only its residents were granted Roman citizenship, but the statues of their local gods were added to the imperial Pantheon. The frame of thought behind such a strategy was kept alive through part of the modern era in parts of Central Europe which stayed away from the west-European religious wars, nation-state building and Westphalian settlement. One can suppose today that the past of Central Europe is the future of an increasingly diasporic Europe…

A boat with no direction?
24 July 2012

Jacques Rupnik, professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), on unfinished states, hollow democracies in Eastern Europe, and EU enlargement.

City and citizens
27 June 2011

I would prefer to disaggregate the idea of citizenship. I always felt that wherever I went I sort of carried a notion of citizenship with me no matter where I was and no matter what city I was staying in. I always felt that I was a citizen of that city. And I think actually this is kind of a nice feeling because you feel like you belong anywhere and I think it would be a great idea if cities would declare themselves free zones of citizenship.

A different vision in 1984 by Jarrett Blaustein
27 June 2011

So, what was interesting to me as a journalist was the conflict between prevailing narratives: the narrative of ‘all sides are equally guilty’, which believes that these people have been living like this in the Balkans for centuries, versus what I believed was the case, which was that this is a battle between two different kinds of political aspirations, one which is similar to our own in Western Europe, and the other one, which is much darker in the European tradition.