“Humanities in Transition” Seminar

Group 484 and Book Factory organised a three-day seminar “Humanities in Transition” in Andrevlje (Fruska Gora), in the period October 18 to 20. It was attended by 25 students of social sciences (political science, sociology, literature…). The seminar organisers wanted to encourage students to think about and explore the role of education and culture in the transformation of society (and the possibility to influence the establishment of a value system that would support the transitional justice policy and the constitutionalisation of a democratic system). During the three-day seminar, participants gained an insight into the basic concepts concerning the transition, and the ways these concepts could be applied in explaining the cases of Serbia and neighbouring countries, with the aim to give a clearer picture of the situation in society. The seminar also stressed the importance of social sciences and humanities for the transition processes, both for their understanding and their success. 

During the first day of the seminar, the speakers were: Dejan Ilic (editor of the “Book Factory” publishing house and chief editor of “Word”, journal for literature and culture and social issues), Djordje Pavicevic (Faculty of Political Sciences, Belgrade) and Predrag Brebanović (Faculty of Philology, Belgrade). They examined the basic concepts and main approaches to political transition, transitional justice and transformation of society, as well as the theoretical introduction to the humanities (genesis and subject field of the humanities) and the role of the humanities in the interpretation of social reality. Moreover, they emphasised the need for constant review of dominant theories of the “desired point” society should “reach” after the transition is over, as well as the need for nurturing critical reflection of reality at social sciences departments.

On the second day of the seminar Viktor Ivancic (writer and journalist) and Svetlana Lukic (editor in chief of the multimedia portal “Peščanik (Hourglass)” talked about the need for engagement in the public and media space, in order to point to the authoritarian and nationalist policies detrimental to society and its citizens, and the establishment of a “decent” country. Furthermore, by explaining the cultural context of the Dinko Sakic court trial from the late 90’s in Croatia, Viktor Ivancic pointed to the inability to achieve the desired effect of transitional justice by judicial instruments if the trial takes place within the nationalist cultural milieu and in the media-controlled conditions. 

On the final day of the seminar, Srdjan Milosevic (historian, Institute for Recent History of Serbia) talked about the processes of historical revisionism in Eastern Europe and in Serbia, starting from the beginning of the nineties of the twentieth century.
The authors of the seminar program were: Dejan Ilic (editor and program leader), Ana Kolarić (program associate) and Neda Radulovic-Viswanatha (program associate).

Project: Our New Neighbours – strengthening capacities for understanding cultural diversity
Objective: contributing to the development of openness and tolerance in our society
Implementers: Group 484 (“We and the Others” educational program), Book Factory
Support: CCFD – Terre solidaire and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

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