Starting April 2023, I will be a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut für Film-, Theater-, Kultur- und Medienwissenschaften at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. In the course of the next six years, I plan to further develop methodological and theoretical insights into the ‘public face of memory’ and, crucially, ‘memory abuse’, that is, the use of historical narratives to justify present (and future) violence. I am also a freelance editor and German–English translator – more information on my services can be found on my business website, korrektur.me.
I completed a PhD in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh in 2020 and was an International Fellow at the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main from 2019 to 2021 and a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz from 2018 to 2019. My four-year research project focused on the links between memory, identity, power and violence by suggesting how the intentional manipulation, if not abuse, of memory feeds into mechanisms that perpetuate social divisions brought about through violent means.
Using the spaces formerly populated by ethnic Serbs in Croatia as a context for this research, and Croatian cultural memory more widely, I explored the role of memory manipulation in maintaining previously non-observed or non-existent social divisions that have emerged as a result of the Homeland War/Croatian War of Independence and the impact of these actions on Croatian self-imagination.
As well, my dissertation examined the construction of Croatian national identity through the commemorative process and the tensions that emerge between the predominant “defender”/”branitelj” narrative and those of the victims of the Homeland War, both Croat and Serb.
My data derived from field visits across Croatia, particularly in Lika, Dalmatia and Slavonia, where I documented 614 monuments, memorial placards, museums and commemorations. As well, I owe a debt of gratitude to the FRAMNAT research team for their transcripts of commemorative speeches in Knin and Vukovar, among other events. I triangulated the data from these sources using press articles from both Croatia and Serbia published around key commemorative events in Croatia.
I submitted my thesis for examination on 3 July 2020 and passed my viva with minor corrections on 9 October 2020. My examiners were Siniša Malešević (University College Dublin) and James Kennedy (University of Edinburgh). My degree was awarded on 17 November 2020.