Identities, Categories of Identification, and Identifications between the Danube, the Alps, and the Adriatic

National Museum of Contemporary History in the Cekin Mansion, in Tivoli Park
Prof. Rok Stergar (Department of History at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana), Dr. Marko Zajc (Institute of Contemporary History, Ljubljana), Dr. Tamara Scheer (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Historical Social Science), Dr. Kaja Sirok (National Museum of Contemporary History)
20.04.2017 - 21.04.2017
Scheer, Tamara

In recent years, the notion of contingency and situational nature of group identities has been gaining wider recognition among historians. Additionally, social anthropology has introduced the notion that historical identities should be understood from the “perspective of natives” and contemporary categories of identification should not be imposed on the past. Therefore, in recent decades, we have seen a revision of the interpretations that saw modern nations as a necessary result of history. These days, many historians see group identities as a result of non-determinate processes which always had alternatives. The current state of affairs, then, is not a historical imperative, but rather, the result of coincidences, twists and turns, failures … Research has also shown that, even after the rise of nationalisms, nation-ness most definitely was not (and is not) relevant for the entirety of the populace and has not been relevant in all situations.

The aim of the conference is to answer these challenges with historical case studies. We’ll be taking a look at how the inhabitants of the region between the Danube, the Alps, and the Adriatic identified, and how they reacted to the introduction of new categories of identification – such as, for example, nations – and the relationships between various categories of identification; how they appeared, disappeared, and transformed. We’ll also be interested in the factors, which influenced these changes.

However, we are not interested in ethnic or national categories of identification only, but also professional, social, religious, gendered, and other categories which served as the basis for the formation of groups and proved to be relevant in particular situations and under particular circumstances. We will endeavour to interpret historical sources through the perspective of »multiple identities«, which more accurately represents an individual’s identity choices and strategies, all so readily available, particularly in our modern societies.

The conference language is English.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

8.45: Morning coffee

9.15: Opening remarks

9.30: Keynote speech:

Stefan Donecker (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Medieval Research), Identity and Identification in Premodernity: The State of the Debate 35 Years after John Armstrong's Nations before Nationalism

10.30: Coffee break

11.00: Panel 1: Before the Nations, Beyond the Nations

Chair: Marko Zajc (Institute of Contemporary History, Ljubljana)

- Ümit Eser (Necmettin Erbakan University, Konya),Before Becoming Bulgarians: Pre-National Identities of the Orthodox Christian Communities in Eastern Rumelia, 1878-1908
- Jernej Kosi (University of Ljubljana, University of Graz), When the Slovenes Encountered the Slovenes: Ethnic Boundaries and the Process of Nationalisation in Prekmurje after the Dissolution of Austria-Hungary
- Daniel Heler (Charles University, Prague), Ethno-Genesis of Gorani People and ‘Deviant’ Contemporary Histories of Kosovo

12.30: Coffee break

12.45: Panel 2: Imperial, National, Non-National

Chair: Rok Stergar (University of Ljubljana)

- Tamara Scheer (University of Vienna) and John Paul Newman (Maynooth University), Donations Requested: The Imperial, National, and Transnational Identities of The Ban Jelačić Association for Disabled Veterans and their Families in Vienna and Zagreb
- Robert Shields Mevissen (Georgetown University), Identification in the Danube Empire: Shaping Riverine Transformations in the Late Habsburg State
- Igor Vranić(European University Institute, Florence), Political Patriotism in the Late Habsburg Empire: The Case of Izidor Kršnjavi

15.45: Panel 3: Defining, Performing, and Staging Identities

Chair: Kaja Širok (National Museum of Contemporary History, University of Ljubljana)

- Susanne Korbel (University of Graz), Staging Similarities, Staging Differences: (Jewish) Volkssänger and Their Performance of Habsburg Identities
- Clemens Ruthner (Trinity College,Dublin), Colonial Habsburg: The Bosnian Foreigner in Literary Texts of Imperial Austria, ca 1900
- Luka Lisjak (Central European University, Budapest), “Changing the Nation’s Character”: The Slovenian Tradition of Critical National Characterology and Its Role in the Intellectual Definitions of National Identity in the 20th Century
- Anita Buhin (European University Institute, Florence), “Naše malo misto” (Our Small Town): Yugoslav Mediterranean Dream

Friday, April 21, 2017

9.00: Morning coffee

9.30: Keynote speech:

Pieter M. Judson (European University Institute, Florence), People and their Categories: Creating Difference from Below and from Above in the Context of Empire

10.30: Coffee break

11.00: Panel 4: Peasants, Professionals, Workers

Chair: Veronika Bajt (The Peace Institute, Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies)

- Daniel Brett (Open University), It’s Not About the Nation or Ethnicity: Identity, Politics, and Society in the Romanian and Irish Countryside 1900-1947
- Ivan Jeličić (University of Trieste), The Typographers' Community of Fiume: Between Spirit of Category, Class Identity, Local Patriotism, Socialism, and Nationalism(s)
- Martin Jemelka and Jakub Štofaník (Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague), Being Modern Christian and Worker in the Czechoslovak National State 1918-1938

12.30: Coffee break

12.45: Panel 5: Identities in Transition

Chair: Borut Klabjan (Science and Research Centre Koper, European University Institute, Florence)

- Marta Verginella and Irena Selišnik (University of Ljubljana), The First Publicly Active Slovene Women on the Intersection of National Identities and Multinational Space
- Martina Salvante (University of Warwick), Renegotiating Identity: Disabled Veterans in Trentino and South Tyrol
- Marco Bresciani, Country for Nationalists? State- and Nation-Building in Post-Habsburg Interwar Istria

14.15: Lunch for participants (at the venue) 
15.45: Panel 6:

Chair: Irina Marin (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies)

- Karin Almasy (University of Graz), Postcarding Identities in Lower Styria (1890–1920): The Linguistic and Visual Portrayal of Identities on Picture Postcards
- Etienne Boisserie (Inalco, Paris), Family Networks and "Generation Key" in the Renewed Approaches of Social Questioning of the Slovak Elite at the Beginning of the 20th Century
- Nikola Tomašegović (University of Zagreb), Statistical Nation-Building in Civil Croatia and Slavonia during the Second Half of 19th Century
- Filip Tomić (Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences, Zagreb), Serbs in Croatia and Slavonia 1908 – 1914: The Contested Construction of an Ethnic Category, Conditions of its Deployment and the Issue of Its Reception

17.45: Coffee break

18.00 Concluding remarks

Tomasz Kamusella (Universityof St Andrews)


Rok Stergar

Department of History, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana

Identities, Categories of Identification, and Identifications between the Danube, the Alps, and the Adriatic, 20.04.2017 – 21.04.2017 Ljubljana, in: H-Soz-Kult, 28.03.2017, <>.