Dissertationsprojekte (Betreuerin Univ.-Prof. Dr. Miranda jakiša)
Alvir Olja: Liberation afoot: Movement(s) in Partisan Film (2022-laufend)

From the beginning, artistic production was a key component of the Yugoslav resistance struggle during WWII, encouraged by the partisan liberation front and circulated in their publications. Partisan art and its mythologization of partisan struggle would become foundational for the newly erected socialist project. What is striking about all of these artworks is the narrative and aesthetic focus on constant ground contact as well as perpetual collective movement – strictly by foot. Quasi-idyllic marching scenes are, therefore, a must in any partisan narrative; entire units and villages hide in the thickets of the Bosnian forests or become one with the Dalmatia’s limestone formations, literally as well as figuratively.

The Yugoslav Partisan Art’s staging of resistant nature(s), ground adhesion and collective mobility is an effort of (re-)creating the place of Yugoslavia and the Yugoslavs as citizens of the new state and therefore an effort in topography (Jakiša, 2011) and ethno-demographic consolidation. The single-file march which emerges out of the thicket and retreats back into it serves to literally stitch together the country in its new borders while translating the many different regional groups and ethnicities into one populace. Re-reading Yugoslav Partisan Art – poetry, prose and cinema – while focusing on its depictions of fortified nature, its spatial properties and mobility structures reveals how it serves to connect spaces (Iordanova, 2006) and peoples. It also prompts an analysis on a general „telluric“ (Schmitt, 1963) or spilt aesthetic of the landscape of European partisan arts. Furthermore, it reveals how Yugoslav self-fashioning is based on „revolutionary temporality“ (Kirn, 2020), localizing this socialist project as neither here nor there, but rather always on the move.

Tijana Koprivica: Textual and Visual in Serbian Avant-garde Literature (2021-Laufend)

The title of Tijana Koprivica’s doctoral research in the narrow scientific field of Serbian Literature is Textual and Visual in Serbian Avant-garde Literature. The main issue that will be addressed in this research is the status of the visual elements in the works of Serbian avant-garde literature, due to Avant-garde’s distinctive intermedia and multimedia character. By identifying and typologyzing works that, in addition to the text, contain visual elements as media of communication with the audience, a representative corpus will be singled out as a source for examining this problem. In the course of the research, the intention is to find, describe, analyze and interpret all those works that contain components of the visual and which, along with the traditional reading experience, at the same time require observational approach. Finally, the aim of this research will be to present the consequences of including visual elements in the work and also to show the effects of excluding these elements from some of the works in their different editions, as well as to present the impact of such practices on the reception of the avant-garde works in the tradition of interpretation. Taking into consideration the above, the doctoral thesis intend to show what the key features of the intermedia achievements of the Serbian literary Avant-garde are, what their mutual relations and influences are like, and to put them in the comparative context of the intermedia works of the European Avant-garde.

Adrian Pelc: Aspects of the Archaic in the Yugoslav Cinema of the 1960s (2020-Laufend)

This dissertation deals with the archaic as it appears on the 1960s Yugoslav screen. The archaic is understood as a set of motifs and discourses which stand in opposition to modernity, while discreetly granting grand teleological narratives their identity at the same time. It is my claim that the archaic acquires three distinct figures through this interplay with representations of progress: it can appear as a) backwardness or a flaw within modernity, b) a source of preserved, raw, vital strength and c) that which takes on itself the meaning of non-meaning (“desymbolization” in the vocabulary of the philosopher Radomir Konstantinović) through symbolizing a pre-discursive, precultural state.

These three figures of the archaic communicate intensely with the Yugoslav cultural context of the 1960s. Although it might seem that a predominantly Marxist ideology can only enter a negative relationship with the archaic, this is not the case: through a system of revolutionary “anticipations”, the archaic in its guise of essential vitality forms the backbone of phenomena as diverse as Krleža’s writings on cultural politics or Trajče Popov’s epic movie Makedonska krvava svadba (1967). This process of self-fashioning through the positive archaic can, however, always be reverted through a chiasmic movement which re-evaluates the “good” archaic as the bad, backwards archaic and thus creates representations which strongly communicate with a discourse of Balkanism. The dissertation’s first block of case studies analyses this chiasmic movement with relation to films by Zdravko Randić, Trajče Popov, Antun Vrdoljak, Aleksandar Petrović, Dragoslav Lazić and Mića Popović.

At the border of this symbolic struggle over the archaic stands its third figure, which – through it contesting the very possibility of meaning-production – attempts at exposing the violence inherent in the acquisition of symbolic capital through praise of vitality or critique of backwardness. This last figure is studied in relation to films by Dušan Makavejev, Miša Radivojević and Želimir Žilnik. It is my claim that the game of the archaic forms an essential part of the Yugoslav cinematic culture of the 1960s and that its dynamics could be of relevance for any surrounding where a political as well as artistic movement which whishes to present itself as avant-garde appears in a context contaminated by a discourse appointing it a time-lag.

Aleksandar Ranković: Transformation at the Margins. (Anti-)Militarism and Sexuality in late Yugoslavia (Betreuung gemeinsam mit Claudia Kraft, 2021-laufend)


Uroš Ristanović: The Motif of the Cosmic Journey in Serbian Poetry (2020-Laufend)

The dissertation The Motif of the Cosmic Journey in Serbian Poetry focuses on Serbian poetry featuring the motif of extraterrestrial, cosmic journeys. Besides serving to present the authors’ visions of the cosmos, the poems featuring this motif also function as a means of displaying, challenging, justifying or exploring various religious, metapoetic and subjective beliefs and paradigms. As such, these poems form the central line in the cosmic tradition of Serbian poetry, which is to this day one of the most underrated and neglected poetic traditions of Serbian literature.
The exploration of the poems with the motif of the cosmic journey centres around two main questions: first, what are the peculiarities of the motif of the cosmic journey on the structural and semantic level, and second, what functions does this motif assume in particular renderings in Serbian poetry? To answer these questions, it is necessary to tackle several others, such as: where does this motif come from, how does it fit into the broader cosmic tradition of world literature and Serbian literature, what influences can be seen in the works of poetry with the motif of the cosmic journey, what concepts are inscribed in the poetic visions of the cosmos, etc.
Conducting this research requires close reading of a selected corpus of texts comprising poetic works of Serbian literature from the beginning of the 19th century to the present day. The authors whose works will be the focus of interpretation are Sima Milutinović Sarajlija (1791–1847), Petar Petrović Njegoš (1813–1851), Branko Radičević (1824–1853), Laza Kostić (1841–1910), Stanislav Vinaver (1891–1955), Vasko Popa (1922–1991), Miroljub Todorović (b. 1940), and Goran Korunović (b. 1978).