This project is the result of a one-year research project funded by Tandem Western Balkans as an initiative of European Cultural Foundation and MitOst e.V. The Tandem consists of a collaboration between Aleksandar Obradović from Philopolitcs, based in Belgrade, and Lejla Odobašić Novo from International Burch University, based in Sarajevo.
The project maps the names of streets in the central areas of Belgrade and Sarajevo during and after the fall of Yugoslavia. The research aims to examine the impact of war on the post-conflict context and the continued fragmentation of the common Yugoslav narrative through the act of renaming of the toponyms in both cities. It also brings into question the role of the capital cities in the transition from Socialist state to present-day ethnocentric nations, examining whether any points of overlap and common past remain.
The first part of the research was the mapping of all the changes in toponyms in the two cities from 1990 until 2020, which was followed by an analysis of the historical undercurrents and political shifts that defined the trends of these name changes. Furthermore, this publication highlights the ways in which the same tools were used in both cities to create and define new national identities through the changes of toponyms since the breakup of Yugoslavia.
The renaming of streets was also indicative of post-communist power shifts. These changes were seen as a reconfiguration of space and history, which was a fundamental and essential element of the post-communist transformation. Thus, new street names became a means of creating new public iconographic landscapes in accord with the principles of the new regimes. By examining these changes, this study might offer some comprehension of the ways in which post-communist countries altered the contours of national identities and national pasts.
This research had been published into a book by International Burch University while there is also a digital platform for the project hosted by Philopolitics. To accesses interactive maps, with toponyms changes for both cities, as well as the e-book please visit: www.remakinghistory.philopolitics.org.
This research project was supported by Tandem Western Balkans, an initiative developed by European Cultural Foundation and MitOst e.V. with additional financial support from Open . Society Foundations. It is implemented together with Balkan Museum Network (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Balkans, let’s get up! Organisation (Serbia), Czkd Centar Centar za kulturnu dekontaminaciju (Serbia), LUMBARDHI Foundation (Kosovo) and Jadro Association | Јадро Асоцијација | Jadro Asociacioni (North Macedonia).