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#025 – KLAUS BUCHENAU: Discussing corruption in Yugoslavia, 1918-2000
Historians can offer a perspective on corruption that goes beyond a normative and simplistic dimension. Approaching past discourses and events related to corruption allows to underline the transformation of its connotation through different periods and different socio-political systems. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918-1941) offers a particularly interesting case study for reflecting on how debates on corruption intersected with the process of state formation, itself consisting of a centralist pattern on the basis of Ottoman and Habsburg imperial legacy. After 1945, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia redefined power and property relations with a clearly different ideological repertoire. However, corruption remained a relevant element for negotiation of power, elite circulation and generational dynamics until its dissolution and beyond.


#024 – ERIK JAN ZÜRCHER: Kemalism and the making of modern Turkey
In this episode, we discuss the emergence of the Turkish nationalist movement under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the establishment of a sovereign Republic of Turkey in 1923. As our guest Prof. Erik-Jan Zürcher notes, Kemalism can be studied both as a political transformation from armed struggle to a one-party state administration system and as a repertoire of discursive symbols based on the imaginary of nation, civilization, and modernity. This installment is structured along a series of lectures that Prof. Zürcher has given at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, in which he has framed Kemalism’s activism and worldview within its contemporary international context as well as along a broader chronological axis continuing into the 1950s.


#023 – IŞIL ERDINÇ: Turkish labor unions under AKP rule 
Since 2002, when the Party of Development and Justice (AKP) seized power in Turkey, the relationship between state institutions and unions has changed toward polarization and fragmentation. Increasing interference of the government in unions’ internal affairs, explicit favoring the pro-AKP unions, has marginalised dissident confederations of workers, while former trans-union shared initiatives and platforms for defending workers’ rights have faded. In this episode, we approach the historical background of this setting in terms of economic and social transformation of Turkey during the last decades. Secondly, some patterns of union activism and the profiles of the actors involved are discussed. Thirdly, we provide an insight into some local configuration that show a limited, yet existing room for resistance against the AKP policies and state interference.


#022 – MILICA POPOVIĆ & JOVANA PAPOVIĆ: A look at Vučić’s Serbia and the emergence of new social movements
On 2 April 2017 Alexander Vučić became President of Serbia, winning the first round of the elections, obtaining a score of 55%, and leading in all districts of the country. The public perception and representation of Vučić within Serbia is biased by wide constraints on mainstream media, whereas foreign commentators have difficulties in defining his profile in between his former far-right party affiliation, his being “pro-European”, and the concerns about an authoritarian drift in the country. In this episode, we approach the background and the output of this event. By expanding the discussion beyond the domain of party politics and voting tendencies, we explore some aspects of Serbia’s economic landscape after the fall of Yugoslavia and embed more recent trends in a regional context. Most important, we discuss some emerging forms of social movements and their claims by introducing the impact of some factors such as the attitude of the youth, the perspective of the diaspora and the role that “Yugonostalgia” plays in contemporary politics.


#021 – NORAH BENARROSH-ORSONI: On the road with Romanian migrants and traders
After 1989, Romania’s economy and its labor market experienced dramatic changes. One of the most common strategies to survive in a state of precariousness was emigration abroad. In this episode, we discuss two case studies based on based on transnational migration and cross-border informal trade. Firstly, we look at the Parisian suburb of Montreuil, where Roma families have settled in squats in different moments since the late 1990s, and from where they still often travel to Arad, in Transylvania, using mini-busses provided by informal travel agencies. Secondly, we move to the Laleli neighborhood in Istanbul to discuss suitcase trade mostly practiced by Romanian women.


#020 – ALI YAYCIOGLU: Space, wealth, and power in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Studies offer several unexplored fields of research for the perspectives introduced by the so called “spatial turn” in historiography. “Space” can be investigated as a constituive element in an abstract imaginary of power and agency, but also as a repository which engenders diverse, more directly experienced “places” where knowledge is produced and power structures become visible. After some theorietical remarks, in this episode we discuss some ongoing projects focused on the spatiality of the Ottoman Empire in the early modern era. Secondly, we introduce some concrete example of how actors moved through space in configurations which included state structures and translocal networks, increasingly integrated into the Ottoman polity. This complex interplay is an occasion to reflect on some dynamics of accumulation of power and wealth through loyalty building, and how this accumulation was characterised by high volatility.



Cover Photo by Julian Sandhagen