Dear Reader, welcome to the first issue of Contemporary Southeastern Europe! This peer-reviewed journal is published as an open-access academic journal, by the Centre for Southeast European Studies. We are firmly committed to the highest standards of academic publishing, including rigorous, double-blind, peer review and making research available, free of charge, to an interested audience. As subscription costs rise and many libraries have to save resources, we are committed to making high quality research available for researchers without cost.
This paper focuses on childhood memories of exile over time. While researching commemorative practices of the Croatian post-WW2 émigré community in Argentina, we mainly find adult (and predominantly male) voices on the trauma of the military and political defeat. It is therefore essential to analyse how the 1.5 generation—those who arrived in Argentina as children—narrate their childhood memory of exile. This research employs qualitative methodological tools of discourse and narrative analysis, studying personal testimonies, gathered through semi-structured interviews with members of the 1.5 generation, combined with written, photographic, and audiovisual material.
Local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) were held on 15 November 2020. These were the seventh local elections since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement in December 1995. Only in Mostar were the elections held at a somewhat later date, on 20 December 2020, and for the first time after twelve years. These local elections were organised and took place under complex circumstances marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic turmoil. Nevertheless, the elections brought major political changes, mainly in urban areas. Opposition politicians (in the period before and after the elections) emphasised that these elections are just an introduction to events and changes that will take place during the 2022 general elections. Similar views were voiced by political analysts and the media.
On the night of 10-11 March 2020, several Romanian news outlets filmed and photographed hundreds of vehicles in long queues trying to enter Romania from Hungary at the border in Nădlac. The COVID-19 outbreak that had officially begun a few months earlier in China was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation the next day, as it was clear that many countries in Europe and in the rest of the world were starting to be severely affected by the new coronavirus. That was not the case in Romania yet, but the level of alert in the country was rather high, mostly because of the strong links between Romania and Italy, the country that was most affected at the time, with more than 10,000 cases and 631 deaths.
Some years ago, the Romanian writer Mircea Cartarescu was approached by a German publisher at the Frankfurt book fair, who said he was interested in Eastern European writers. Cartarescu immediately responded that he did not consider himself an Eastern European writer. “Of course,” the publisher con-ceded, “as a Romanian you are from Southeastern Europe.” For Cartarescu this simple spacing had the following direct message: “Stay where you are,” the publisher was telling me in a friendly manner. “Stay in your own ghetto. De-scribe your tiny chunk of (South) Eastern European history. Write about your Securitate, about your Ceausescu, about your People’s House. About your dogs, your homeless children, your Gypsies. Be proud with your dissidence during the communist days. Leave it to us to write about love, death, happiness, ago-ny, and ecstasy.
Two recent books on Kosovo offer some compelling insights and answers as to why international state-builders stumbled in Kosovo: Elton Skendaj’s, Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions and Andrea Lorenzo Capussela’s State-Building in Kosovo: Democracy, Corruption and the EU in the Balkans. Both books are welcome additions to the growing discourse on state-building and touch on some of the more important themes that have recently dominated the literature, including the principle of local ownership, the limitations of technocratic approaches to state-building, and the dilemmas of political corruption and state capture in postwar societies.