Vjeran Pavlaković

Associate Professor, Department of Cultural Studies, University of Rijeka

  • Former activities:

    Coalition for RECOM, Woodrow Wilson Center (Washington, DC), University of Washington

  • Examples of concrete activities I have organized/am organizing in the field of “dealing with the past”:

    1. Cres Summer School on Transitional Justice and the Politics of Memory (2013-2017) (

    2. Memory of War and Violence in the 20th-century northeastern Adriatic Study trip (2012) (,

    3.Workshop on Bleiburg Memory at the University of Graz (2016)

  • Concrete challenges I am facing in my “dealing with the past”-related work:

    Ultimately there seems to be little widespread impact of these programs despite a lot of international support. Individuals and small groups are affected, and there is a satisfaction from working with creative, enthusiastic, and interested young people. However, working in Croatia and the region over the past 10 years I don’t see much change at the political or broader societal level. In fact, there seems to be even more manipulation of the past, a creation of myths, and continuation of the war of the 1990s through symbolic politics.

  • My personal link to/interest for the topic of “dealing with difficult pasts”:
    As a traditional historian working in archives, I realized that the debates over the past rarely take into account systematic work on facts, but rather rely on media interpretations or other representations in the public space (commemorations, political speeches, memorial sites, etc.). I realized that memory studies could provide additional tools in my historical work in order to understand how societies construct, use, and reinterpret their pasts in the present. Teaching in the Cultural Studies department also provided me with new theories and views on cultural production of the past (films, visual art, literature, etc.).