Stefano Petrungaro

State Institutes of Contemporary History in ex-Yugoslavia countries. An Overview

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This article offers a critical overview of historiographical institutions in post-Yugoslavian countries, focusing on an important and particular aspect of Eastern and Southeastern Europe and former Yugoslavia, i.e. the multidimensional reality of the so called "State institutions" of historical studies - among these, the historical sections of the Academies of Sciences and Arts, the National Institutes of History and university departments of history. The general idea is that what happened after 1989-91 recalls certain developments which took place in Europe after World War Two. Once again several "national institutes" were newly established or re-founded in order to preserve historical sources on the last wars and more in general to investigate contemporary national history. The need for patriotic narratives of national history led post-Yugoslavian governments to maintain and sometimes reshape the institutional structure of historical studies. This development was coherent with the process of nationalization of Yugoslavian historiographies started as early as the 1960s. Every national post-Yugoslavian historiographical "area" is signed by internal tensions between different "poles": the conservative, traditional and nationalistic one on one side, the open and innovative one on the other. The same can be observed in those institutions where post-Yugoslavian historians work, with widespread contrapositions between academic and extra-academic institutes of contemporary history.


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