2017 Summer School Courses

2016 Jelena Tosic

This course will explore different processes and patterns of imagining and constructing “the Other” with a special focus on the way these relate to (violent) conflict, discrimination and marginalisation. The discourses of Orientalism and Balkanism – originally strongly grounded in travelogues and art – figure as hegemonic cognitive patterns of constructing the “other” up to the present. Moreover, as explored in the seminal work of Edward Said (1995 [1978]) and Maria Todorova (2009), the very self-image of the “West”/the “Occident“ is crucially based on the construction of the „Orient“, respectively the „Balkans“. The analysis of occidental discourses (e.g. Carrier 2003) of imagining “the West” also reveals analogous and intertwined patterns of “othering”.

Apart from a thorough theoretical assessment, this course will pay special attention to relevant contemporary socio-political developments and conflicts from a comparative perspective. Namely, particularly after the break-out of violent conflicts in the Balkans, the attacks of 9/11, as well as in the course of EU-Enlargement (Turkey, Eastern Enlargement), the aggravation of the migration policies (xenophobia, debates of “honour killings”, Islamophobia etc.) and the most recent interface of the rise of militant groups in the Middle East and European security policies, the pronounced strength of orientalist, balkanist, and occidentalist patterns of thought and the necessity of their critical assessment by social sciences has become more than apparent.

Grounded on close readings of key and contemporary texts from a transdisciplinary perspective the course will offer the students the framework for comparatively exploring different forms of “Othering” in relation to cases of conflict, discrimination and marginalization. Furthermore this course will provide the setting for a systematic and interdisciplinary (re)assessment of crucial notions such as: the construction of the „other“, forms of identity grammars, boundary-making, “integration”, postcolonialism, essentialisation, exotisation, “fundamentalism”, terrorism etc.

Dr. Jelena Tošić talks about her course

dr jelena tosic talks about her course



tosic jelena

Jelena Tošić is currently a research fellow and lecturer at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology (Vienna) and the Institute of Social Anthropology (Bern). She is a research fellow at Centre for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS), FMK Belgrade. She was Junior Professor for Ethnology and Political Anthropology at the University of Konstanz and interim Professor (Anthropology of State and Transnationalism) at the University of Bern.  Her research interests include (forced) migration and border studies, political anthropology, diversity and multiculturalism, anthropology and history/memory, and religion. In her current research she explores the history and socio-cultural diversity of the Albanian-Montenegrin borderland through the lens of migration and "Anti-Extremism/Deradikalisation" in Europe.

She is the co-editor of “Memories on the Move. Experiencing Mobility, Remembering the Past” (Palgrave MacMillan 2017) and “Localized Islam(s): Interpreting Agents, Competing Narratives And Experiences Of Faith” (Special Issue in the Nationalities Papers, forthcoming 2017). Her recent publications further include “Travelling Genealogies: Tracing relatedness and diversity in the Albanian- Montenegrin Borderland” (Manchester University Press 2017) and “From a Transit Route to the “’Backyard of Europe’? Tracing the Past, Present and Future of the ‘Balkan Route’” (Facultas 2017).



  • Karadjordjeva 65
    11000 Belgrade, Serbia


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