Prime Time Nationalism | The Role of Television Broadcasts/Archives in the Aftermath of the Yugoslav Wars

Prime Time Nationalism

A conference and workshop organized by the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (OSA) at Central European University (CEU) with support from CEU Conferences and Academic Events Fund (CAEF) 

May 13-14, 2016 | Budapest 

The manipulative role of state television during both the outbreak and duration of the Yugoslav wars has been widely explored in academia and acknowledged in numerous cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). In the hands of political leaders, who understood the influence and importance of propaganda, wartime television set the national agenda and framed the events, strengthened own identity while creating the image of and instigating against an enemy, silenced dissenting voices and masked own crimes committed during the conflict. Instead of being a powerful tool serving the public, it served the political powers of the establishment. 

The role of television broadcasts in the years immediately succeeding the Dayton Agreement deserve a careful examination and in this context, OSA now invites participants to a conference and workshop to assess its media monitoring collection, which includes state television broadcasts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and FR Yugoslavia from 1996 to 1999, and some Serbian independent television programs from 1993 to 1996. With the help of media studies professionals, social and cultural anthropologists, historians, sociologists, archivists, and visual artists, as well as graduate students across CEU, we will discuss how television influenced and shaped the postwar national identity, recovery and development of the signatory states, as well as the lasting effect on their contemporary evolution in the light of a regional reconciliation. Simultaneously, we will seek to understand and offer up new meanings to the broadcast archives by examining OSA’s recently introduced, self-reflexive (re)archiving method and the problems it brought up. 

The workshop aims at finding new and innovative ways of using the broadcast archives in historical and political science research, education and arts. During the half-day, interactive group-work, we will strive to come up with concrete, implementable project proposals that can be realized by participants upon their returning home. We will publish and follow up on the project proposals online.




Friday | May 13, 2016

12:00 – 13:00 Registration of participants | Buffet lunch

13:00 – 13:15 Opening remarks by the

Yugoslavia Archive Project (YAP) team | Katarina Kosmina (MA International Relations, CEU), Ana Ćuković (MA Nationalism Studies, CEU), Nikola Kosović (MA Political Science, CEU), Perica Jovchevski (MA Philosophy, CEU), Csaba Szilágyi (Project leader, Blinken OSA)

13:15 – 14:45 Television broadcasts as a historical and social science research source

Ildikó Erdei (Associate Professor, University of Belgrade, Serbia) | Ethnography of TV communication: what we have learnt from the nineties experience

Sabina Mihelj (Professor, Loughborough University, UK) | Approaches to television and nationalism: cross-country comparison, longitudinal analysis, popular culture and audience research

Snježana Milivojević (Professor, University of Belgrade, Serbia) | Mediatization of the past and accidental archiving

Isidora Ilić (Video artist and writer, Serbia) | In search of the repressed images

Chair: Oksana Sarkisova (Research Fellow, Blinken OSA, CEU)

14:45 – 15:15 Coffee break

15:15 – 16:45 Archiving, (re)using and ‘performing’ the archives of television broadcasts

Ivica Ðorđević (Author and editor, Media Archaeology Group, Serbia) | Media Archaeology

Mila Turajlić (Documentary filmmaker, Serbia) | Archival storytelling: rules of engagement

Šejla Kamerić (Artist, Bosnia and Herzegovina) | Ab uno disce omnes

Iva Kontić (Artist and curator, Serbia, Italy) | Mechanical dream catching in dormitory, 25 May & I whistle, you whistle, we whistle: reenactment of collective flashbacks

Chair: Csaba Szilágyi (Project leader, Blinken OSA)

16:45 – 17:00 Coffee break

17:00 – 18:00 Film screening Discussion

Room without a view: inside the processing of former Yugoslav television broadcasts | A film produced by the YAP team


Saturday | May 14, 2016

9:00 – 10:30 (Re)producing narratives of identity and victimhood, and memory

Novak Vučo (Assistant Prosecutor, Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor, Serbia) | Reporting after the arrest of the first ICTY indictees and at the beginning of the armed conflict in Kosovo in 1998 and early 1999

Katarina Ristić (Research Associate, Helmut Schmidt University, Germany) | War crime trials and nationalism in the Balkans

Hariz Halilovich (Associate Professor, RMIT University, Australia) | Reimaging and reimagining the war: the role of visual records in constructing memory and identity in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina

Elissa Helms (Associate Professor, CEU) | Gendered nationalism and narratives of victimhood after the Bosnian war

Chair: Nenad Dimitrijević (Professor, CEU)

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee break

11:00 – 12:30 The lasting effects of television propaganda on national discourses and reconciliation

Nidžara Ahmetasević (Journalist and independent scholar, Bosnia and Herzegovina) | Speaking the language of hate

Sven Milekić (Journalist, Balkan Investigative Report Network, Croatia) | Broadcasting petrified Croatian national narratives

Lazar Lalić (Journalist and film producer, ARHITEL, Serbia) | Consequences of media abuse

Chair: Endre Bojtár B. (Editor-in-chief, Magyar Narancs [Hungarian Orange])

12:30 – 14:00 Buffet lunch | Guided tour of OSA

14:00 – 15:30 Workshop | Part I

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee break

16:00 – 17:30 Workshop | Part II


For more information contact Csaba Szilágyi | 

Download the full description and the short program of the conference.

OSA Archivum / Galeria Centralis - 1051 Budapest, Arany János u. 32.