"Myths and stereotypes of nationalism and communism in the area of the former Yugoslavia"
The scientific meeting “Myths and stereotypes of nationalism and communism in the territory of the former Yugoslavia” was held in Novi Sad. CHDR brought together historians and political scientists from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Prof. Dr. Darko Gavrilović in his introductory speech pointed out the need to gather scientists from the region. He emphasized the importance of discussions and reaching common conclusions in order to demystify the past. This helps us to understand and overcome the stereotypes that arose from nationalist and communist ideology in these areas.
Dr. Igor Graovac , a historian from Zagreb, spoke about the stereotypical opinion when it comes to the problem of war victims. Dr. Graovac believes that it is necessary to define exactly what a victim is and make a clear distinction between a victim and a sufferer. He defined the victims as civilians who did not actively participate in the war, while he called the victims active participants in the conflict who also have their own responsibility. Existing stereotypes also overemphasize the victims of their own belligerent side, while downplaying the victims of the opposing side. Political resistance to the true establishment of facts, as well as political abuses of victims from the Second World War still exist today. Dr. Graovac pointed out the need to form a regional network for investigating the problems of victims.
Dr. Ranka Gašić , a historian from Belgrade, spoke about the Serbian stereotypes about the Germans, as a great neighbor in the West, which are very complex and contradictory due to the long life in the neighborhood and the war experience. She pointed out the need to study this stereotype because of its importance for the image of Europe and the European Union in today’s political moment.
Dr. Zoran Jevtović , a political scientist from Belgrade, spoke about the myths about Serbia that existed in the past, but still exist today, among its neighbors and great powers.
Dr. Adnan Jahić , a historian from Bosnia and Herzegovina, spoke about stereotypes in understanding the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the interwar period. He appealed for greater caution in making judgments when it comes to the history of this period in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Dr. Vjekoslav Perica , a historian from Croatia, spoke about churches in Serbia and Croatia as architects of myths. Dr. Perica presented the thesis that the national churches in these countries are at the same time state-building. He advocated a dialogue that could overcome ethnic nationalism in the sphere of religion.
Prof. Dr. Ljubodrag Dimić , a historian from Belgrade, proposed to approach the impartial study of historical sources. Their unbiased analysis of historical sources is necessary. After the analysis, start publishing the sources so that they become a guide for younger generations of historians.
Prof. Dr. Darko Gavrilović claimed that the creators of myths offer seductive ideas about the greatness of their own people. In this way, they easily find their way to ordinary readers. He suggested that because of this, professional historians should approach the writing of scientific popular literature that would more easily find its way to the public. This would reduce the space for quasi-history, which produces and encourages nationalism.