All staff members and students welcome.
This is the third seminar in the Social Science Seminar Series.
Wednesday 18th November 2015, Poole House, P411, 2-3 pm.
Organiser: Dr Mastoureh Fathi, FHSS
Title: Ethnographies of Memory – the cultural reproduction of militancy in Kosovo
Based on life-history interviews with former KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) leaders, some of them leading politicians today, and on ethnographic research at memorial sites after the 1999 war, Dr Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers explores the production and reproduction of a ‘militant spirit’ in Kosovo. Her research identifies the specific repository of cultural knowledge and the common social experiences which underpinned its authors’ radicalisation and traces the ways in which this spirit was effectively disseminated for purposes of Albanian mass mobilisation. Her analysis identifies simultaneous processes of self-professionalisation and ideological sacralisation, their impact on political legitimacy and public morality as well as the scope for contestations in Kosovar society. The paper aims to illuminate the apparent paradoxes of on-going resistance to international peace-building efforts in the region today as well as motives for self-sacrificial radicalism beyond the case study.
Dr Schwandner-Sievers, principal academic at FHSS (Sociology+), is a social anthropologist specialised on the Western Balkans and Albanian cultures and societies in particular. After research and teaching appointments at UCL, University of Bologna and University of Roehampton (London) as well as serving as director of the academic consultancy company, Anthropology Applied Limited, she joined BU in autumn 2013. She has recently completed a historical-anthropological research project on ‘Ilegalja’, the transnational Albanian militant movement of the pre-1999-war decades in Kosovo. This research was hosted by Free University, Berlin and funded by Thyssen Foundation. Currently, as a founding member of BU’s conflict transformation studies group, she is PI of the cross-faculty Fusion co-creation project ‘Designing a Story Line and Game based on post-war Memory in Kosovo’.