Title: Confronting Serbia‘s Past: The Feminist Memory Politics of Women in Black

Author(s): Luka Lazović
Final project
Year of publication:
Gender and Memory Politics
Number of pages:
Supervisors: Valur Ingimundarson


This essay is about the intersection of gender and memory politics in Serbia. Focusing on the Belgrade-based Women in Black (WiB), it analyses the forms of their mnemonic mobilisation as part of their efforts to offer counter-narratives to state-sponsored memory projects designed to uphold the continuity between the past and present. This anti-war, anti-patriarchy, anti-nationalist and anti-capitalist movement is a unique phenomenon in the regional and global political arenas. By exploring WiB’s use of calendar to contest dominant commemorations and national identity constructions, the work devotes specific attention to the dynamic interchange of memory resistance, the public space and the state. The essay demonstrates how the engagement in the struggle over interpretations of the past may be used to deconstruct narratives of masculinised, war-related memory politics. While the influence of WiB on government policies has been marginal, it has had far greater influence on Serbian society through activism and staging of symbolic commemorative events. WiB has played a crucial role in breaking the politics of silence and denial around the recent war past. This has been extremely difficult due prolonged state oppression, but it has been achieved through WiB’s ideological and political consistency.

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