The Balkan Studies Research Group
A comprehensive research effort concerning the Balkans and South-Eastern Europe is being undertaken at the Hugo Valentin Centre since the 1990s. In January 2003, a working group for research on South-Eastern Europe was formed whose activities have formalised through the establishment of a Balkan Studies Research Group. Research spans a broad field and over the years included disciplines such as history, anthropology, peace and conflict research, sociology, literature, and sociolinguistics. The emphasis is on issues related to nation-building, nationalism, identity, conflict, ethnic violence and its consequences, and various aspects of social and collective memory. At present, research is concentrated on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Romania, but also Macedonia and Kosovo. Apart from conducting research, the members of the research group are involved in teaching on the Master Programme in Holocaust and Genocide Studies and other courses in the fields of ethnic relations and peace and conflict. They also have supervised a large number master students and several PhD-candidates.
The purpose of the research group is to
- develop cooperation and a creative research environment for scholars at The Hugo Valentin Centre researching the Balkans
- stimulate collaboration with researchers in the humanities and social sciences at Uppsala University that focus on the Balkans
- further the study of the Balkans and South East Europe at Swedish universities.
- stimulate cooperation with international specialists on the Balkans, inter alia through the invitation of guest researchers
- develop and conduct interdisciplinary research projects based on the subject expertise mentioned above through external funding
A major task of the BRG is to carry out a long-term research agenda focusing on the violent conflicts in the twentieth century, their background, character and consequences. Connected to this, several members of the group are currently working on the project Microfoundations of Violence: Western Balkans, which contains a large database used for the investigation of the dynamics of mass violence and its effects on societies in the region throughout the twentieth century. Specific projects deal with spatial analyses of local-level mass violence during the Second World War and the war of the 1990s through in-depth studies of the organisation of violence in local communities; post-conflict transitional justice; knowledge-production in times of conflict; social and collective memory about past atrocities; analyses of propaganda and its influence on violent interaction; and spatial analyses by the help of geographic information system (GIS) software.
The research group has attracted a large amount of external funds since its inception. The numerous projects have had the following research foci:
- National and religious mobilization ni former Yugoslavia (RJ)
- Language standardization in Bosnia and Herzegovina (RJ)
- Trauma and secondary traumatization among aid workers (RJ)
- Serbian youth and the war of the 1990s (VR)
- Local mass violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990s (RJ)
- State- and nation-building in Montenegro (SIDA)
- The microfundations of mass violence: Western Balkans (faculty financed "research node")
- Postdoctoral project o transitional justice i Bosnia and Herzegovina (VR)
- Yugoslav prisoners in Norway, 1942–45 (VR)
- Top-down and bottom-up reconciliation and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moçambique and Sierra Leone (RJ)