Guest lecture - Yugoslavia after Yugoslavia: Graffiti about Yugoslavia in the Post-Yugoslav Urbanscape
Mitja Velikonja is professor of cultural studies and head of the Center for Cultural and Religious Studies at the University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Social Sciences in Slovenia.
About the lecture
Twenty-five years after the bloody collapse of socialist Yugoslavia, the urban walls in its successor states are still filled with pro- and anti-Yugoslav graffiti and street art. Based on my longitudinal research and on semiological (quantitative and qualitative) methodological approaches, the main questions of this presentation are how, where, and why Yugoslavia, its socialism, its anti-fascist roots, and its leaders are (de)constructed, praised, and condemned in this specific urban subculture. At the level of denotation, graffiti and street art can be divided into different types of pro-Yugoslav and anti-Yugoslav sentiment, often directly opposed in graffiti battles. At the level of connotation, three major ideological antagonisms appear: socialist federalism versus nationalism, Tito versus his opponents, and antifascism versus fascism. Before presenting the final findings of the research, expressive strategies of such urban production are analysed, such as provocation and criticism, affirmation and continuity, marking territory, constant antagonisation, and semiotic guerrilla warfare.
About the guest lecturer
Mitja Velikonja is a professor of cultural studies and the head of the Center for Cultural and Religious Studies at the University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Social Sciences in Slovenia. His main areas of research include central European and Balkan political ideologies, subcultures, and urban cultures, collective memory, and post-socialist nostalgia. His most recent volumes in English are Rock’n’Retro: New Yugoslavism in Contemporary Slovenian Music (Ljubljana, 2013), Titostalgia: A Study of Nostalgia for Josip Broz (Ljubljana, 2008; http://mediawatch.mirovni-institut.si/eng/mw20.html), Eurosis: A Critique of the New Eurocentrism (Ljubljana, 2005; http://mediawatch.mirovni-institut.si/eng/mw17.htm), and Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina (College Station, 2003). He is the coauthor of the book Nebeska Jugoslavija: interakcije političkih mitologija i pop-kulture (Celestial Yugoslavia: Interaction of Political Mythologies and Popular Culture; Belgrade, 2012) and the coeditor of the book Post-Yugoslavia: New Cultural and Political Perspectives (Houndmills, 2014). He has received four Slovenian awards and one international award for his achievements. He was a full-time visiting professor at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (2002 and 2003), at Columbia University in New York (2009 and 2014), and at the University of Rijeka (2015), and was a Fulbright visiting researcher at Rosemont College in Pennsylvania (2004/2005) and a research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in Wassenaar (2012).