The Book of My Lives

by Lisa Beiswenger, PhD candidate in Anthropology, GAA for The Global Mobility Project

On Wednesday, October 11, I joined Dr. Dragostinova’s History 4650 class.  On this day, the class was visited by Tomislav Longinovic (University of Wisconsin), Scholar-in-Residence for The Global Mobility Project, to discuss Aleksandar Hemon’s The Book of My Lives.  Both Longinovic and Hemon were born in Yugoslavia and watched from the United States as their homeland dissolved into war.


The students, Longinovic, and Dragostinova touched on many themes in their discussion.  After briefly explaining Longinovic’s personal journey to America, they discussed the value of memoir in providing a unique personal narrative that offers context to statistics and cold data that come along with global mobility and immigration.  This book provided the unique perspective of describing the experience of war vicariously through friends, family, and through the television screen.

Next, they discussed the atmosphere of Yugoslavia prior to the war.  Following World War II, Yugoslavia was set up as a federation of six republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. Two autonomous provinces were established within Serbia: Vojvodina and Kosovo.  In the 1950s, Josip Broz Tito, Prime Minister of Yugoslavia (1953-1963) and later President for Life (1963-1980), was ejected from the communist block by Stalin.  Unlike Stalin, he believed that politics should not dictate aesthetics, and thus abandoned socialist realism which demanded that all writers and painters followed certain guidelines.  Yugoslavia allowed writers to write whatever they wanted.  Also in contrast to other countries in the Communist bloc, uncensored American movies were permitted, presenting audiences with additional perspectives.

In the 1960s, joint ownership of companies allowed foreign capital into Yugoslavia.  This and other economic reforms led to high unemployment forcing workers to leave the country to find other employment opportunities, leading to student demonstrations in 1968.

Throughout the following decades, revolution continued on the margins and became mainstream.  Young people were trying to present alternatives to Communism.  It was part of the youth subculture that moved as the culture changed.  These youths, took political symbols and played with them out of a desire to provoke without necessarily thinking about the consequences of toying with such powerful symbols.  One example was the band Laibach, an avant-garde music group which was part of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) collective.

Following Tito’s death in 1980, federal government was left unable to cope with economic and political challenges, including increasing nationalism and a demand for more autonomy by the republics within Yugoslavia.  In the early 1990s, Yugoslavia broke up along its republics’ borders leading to increased ethnic tensions and the Yugoslav Wars.

For both Hamon and Longinovic, watching the war from a distance took an emotional toll.  Footage from the war-torn country showed areas that should have been familiar but were left unrecognizable.  Ultimately, reading the account from Hamon and hearing the experience of Longinovic demonstrated how the past and present can meld together into multiple lives.

Research Update: Citizenship and The Birthright Lottery

by Andreas Moghimi-Danesh 
Faculty Mentor: Alexander Wendt

As a sophomore in Spring of 2016, I was given the opportunity to begin developing an undergraduate research thesis with the assistance of Professor Alexander Wendt. While I began my research developing a constructivist theory of international relations with regards to Crimes Against Humanity, my research tangentially evolved into a research project on a completely different topic. After reading Ayalete Shachar’s book, The Birthright Lottery, which draws an analogy between most common routes to citizenship and inherited property, I was shocked by the economistic legal terms by which many human experiences are dictated. In search of a greater understanding of this phenomenon, I enrolled in Philosophy 3410, Philosophical Problems in Law, which specifically discussed various jurisprudential theories of property and the just acquisition of property. It was at that point when I decided to pursue developing a research thesis with regards to the jurisprudential implications of the movement of peoples across state borders and the institution of citizenship as a predominantly inherited property.

Thanks to the Global Mobility Project at The Ohio State University, I was able to pursue this interest to the highest level, as I was given the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. and work with various professors of law at the Georgetown University School of Law over the summer. My work with Professors Munshi and Luban not only gave me a wonderful opportunity to connect with two experts in the field, but also provided me invaluable advice and guidance in furthering my research aspirations. Additionally, throughout meetings with these law school professors, I had the opportunity to ask them all about their experiences with law school as well as my career goals of working in immigration and citizenship law. Again, I cannot begin to sufficiently express my gratitude to the Global Mobility Project as well as Professor Theodora Dragostinova, who connected me with the Global Mobility Project, for allowing me such an amazing opportunity to further my research and career goals.

Tomislav Z. Longinović: The Balkan Route: Space, Translation, Imagination

 

Tomislav Z. Longinović: The Balkan Route: Space, Translation, Imagination
Date: October 9, 2017, 1:30-3:00 pm
Location: Knowlton Hall 190

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East into Europe has challenged the existing notion of national boundaries and demonstrated an increased need for a public policy that would take into account problems arising from the forced movement of population on such a large scale. Media reporting of the crisis focuses on the plight of miserable migrants who are using Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary as transition points to reach the wealthier countries in Europe. Needless to say, countries comprising the European Union have had vastly differing responses to the issue of national boundaries and their permeability in the ongoing migration crisis.

This paper uses the innovative methodology of cultural translation to analyze this phenomenon by calling for a new understanding of trauma, space and identity in the Balkans in particular and Europe in general. Translation is understood here not only as a practice that transfers meaning in the narrow linguistic sense of the word, but also as the process by which broader social and political formations are carried over from one culture to another. Or, as the eminent Spanish language translator Gregory Rabassa said: “Every act of communication is an act of translation.” As global subjectivity becomes increasingly dominated by communication across languages and cultures, as well as between geographical and virtual spaces, the universe emerging among the interacting economies is characterized by processes of translation that alter the simplified imaginary perceptions of “others” that are currently built into the cultural unconscious of particular national imaginaries.

Posted by The Global Mobility Project at Ohio State on Monday, October 9, 2017

Tomislav Z. Longinović: The Balkan Route: Space, Translation, Imagination

Tomislav Longinović (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
The Balkan Route: Space, Translation, Imagination
Date:
October 9, 2017, 1:30-3:00 pm
Location: Knowlton Hall 190

Watch the lecture

Sponsors: The Office of International Affairs, The Global Mobility Project

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East into Europe has challenged the existing notion of national boundaries and demonstrated an increased need for a public policy that would take into account problems arising from the forced movement of population on such a large scale. Media reporting of the crisis focuses on the plight of miserable migrants who are using Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary as transition points to reach the wealthier countries in Europe. Needless to say, countries comprising the European Union have had vastly differing responses to the issue of national boundaries and their permeability in the ongoing migration crisis.

This paper uses the innovative methodology of cultural translation to analyze this phenomenon by calling for a new understanding of trauma, space and identity in the Balkans in particular and Europe in general. Translation is understood here not only as a practice that transfers meaning in the narrow linguistic sense of the word, but also as the process by which broader social and political formations are carried over from one culture to another. Or, as the eminent Spanish language translator Gregory Rabassa said: “Every act of communication is an act of translation.” As global subjectivity becomes increasingly dominated by communication across languages and cultures, as well as between geographical and virtual spaces, the universe emerging among the interacting economies is characterized by processes of translation that alter the simplified imaginary perceptions of “others” that are currently built into the cultural unconscious of particular national imaginaries.

Christiana Botic Fulbright-National Geographic Presentation

In this film, Christiana Botic shares her year in Serbia and Croatia. In it, she explores the relationship between migration and identity by discussing her own family’s history as well as the current refugee crisis. You can learn more about her work on the National Geographic Website and on her personal website.

Christiana Botic Fulbright-National Geographic Presentation from NGS Impact Media on Vimeo.

Research Methodology Workshop

Date: Tuesday, November 14, 1:00-2:30
Location: Enarson, Room 160

On Tuesday, November 14, 1:00-2:30 we will be hosting a discussion on Research Methodology.  The workshop will feature presentations from our faculty affiliates and team members.

Join the GMP affiliated faculty, Robin Judd (History), Hannah Kosstrin (Dance), Yana Hashamova (Slavic), Arati Maleku (Social Work), and Ryan Skinner (Music), as they discuss research methodologies related to questions of global mobility and migration.