Remembering Socialism in Central and Southeastern Europe


Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)

Cultural History

Course code: 35

Year of study: Brez letnika

Course principal:
Prof. Tanja Petrović, Ph.D.


Workload: lectures 60 hours, seminar 30 hours

Course type: general elective

Languages: Slovene

Learning and teaching methods: lectures, discussion classes

Objectives and competences

More than a decade and a half after the end of socialism, in post-communist societies we are witnessing processes that attract the curiosity and attention of both their actors and outside observers. This course approaches remembering socialism as a cultural and discursive practice that is intrinsically connected to present-day reality and enables negotiation and justification of social positions, strategies, and moral values in the period of post-communist transformations. The emphasis is on personal experiences, interpretations and narrations of these memories, their relation to prevailing collective and “official” interpretations, and their political relevance.



None required.


Content (Syllabus outline)

Remembering socialism as a cultural and discursive practice:

  • Why study memory?
  • Why study post- socialism?
  • Terminological issues: post-socialism, post- socialism, transition, transformation
  • Characteristics of approaches to post-communist societies
  • Forms of remembering socialism: web pages, museums, narratives, literature, film, etc.

Nostalgia for socialism: between justification and accusation:

  • History of nostalgia
  • Nostalgia as socially relevant phenomenon
  • Functions and actors of nostalgia for socialism
  • Forms of nostalgia for socialism
  • Nostalgia for socialism and consumerism

Remembering socialism in the former Yugoslavia:

  • Characteristics of Yugoslav socialism and post-Yugoslav post- socialism
  • Remembering socialism between the national and supra-national
  • Dialogue between “official” and private memories

Yugo-nostalgia as a social and cultural phenomenon:

  • Functions and forms of Yugo-nostalgia
  • Characteristics of Yugo-nostalgic discourses
  • Forms of Yugo-nostalgia among former Yugoslavs
  • Yugo-nostalgia and diaspora

Remembering socialism in the arts and other performative forms:

  • Remembering socialism and cinematography
  • Remembering socialism and literature
  • Remembering socialism and other artistic forms

Remembering socialism and shaping collective identities:

  • Remembering socialism and the working class
  • Remembering socialism and former soldiers
  • Remembering socialism and partisans
  • Remembering socialism and women
  • Remembering socialism and members of minority communities



  • Boym, Svetlana. 2001. The Future of Nostalgia, New York: Basic Books.
  • Hann, Chris M. ur. 2002. Postsocialism: Ideals, Ideologies and Practices in Eurasia, Routledge.
  • Forrester, Sibelan, Zaborowska, Magdalena in Gapova, Elena ur. 2004. Over the Wall/After the Fall: Post-Communist Cultures Through an East-West Gaze, Indiana University Press.
  • Berdahl, Daphne. 1999, Where the World Ended: Re-Unification and Identity in the German Borderland, Berkeley – Los Angeles – London: University of California Press.
  • Stewart, Kathleen. 1988. Nostalgia – A Polemic, Cultural Anthropology, 3/3.
  • Nostalgia, Balcanis, 12-16, letnik 5, pomlad-zima 2004.
  • Yuniverzum, Časopis za kritiko znanosti, 2006.



  • Active participation in discussion classes and an essay (5–8 pages) in which students analyse an issue and support their arguments with excerpts from relevant reading.
  • An oral exam in which the student must demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the overall course content.
  • Assessment:
    1. The written essay demonstrates students’ ability to concentrate on a particular issue, to choose relevant reading, and to engage in analytical reasoning, argumentation, and expression in writing.
    2. The oral exam assesses what students learned during lectures and their ability to understand, articulate, and present relevant issues.


Cultural history of violence

Assoc. Prof. Petra Svoljšak, Ph.D.,


History, Identity and Popular Culture

Assoc. Prof. Ana Hofman, Ph.D.,


Media, memory and history

Assoc. Prof. Petra Svoljšak, Ph.D.,


Memory and History

Prof. Oto Luthar, Ph.D.,


National Memory in Historical Perspective

Prof. Oto Luthar, Ph.D.,


Remembering Socialism in Central and Southeastern Europe

Prof. Tanja Petrović, Ph.D.,