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Ulf Brunnbauer (U Regensburg, Germany)

Spaces of Movement and of Control: Migrants and the State in 20th-century Southeastern Europe

SFB Colloquium | Wednesday, 29 June 2016  | 05:15 pm
Date: Wednesday, 29 June 2016  | 05:15 pm - 06:45 pm
Location: GWZO | Specks Hof, Entrance A, 4th Floor | Reichsstraße 4–6 | 04109 Leipzig
Organization: Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199: “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition” (Germany)
Centre for Area Studies (U Leipzig, Germany)
Centre for the History and Culture of East Central Europe (at U Leipzig, Germany)
Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (Leipzig, Germany)

Ulf Brunnbauer, a professor of the history of Southeastern and Eastern Europe at the University of Regensburg (Germany), will discuss political decisions about emigration and the motivations behind trans-territorial politics, as emigrants were (and still are) a vital source of income for Southeastern European economies.

“Spatialization is a central dimension of social actions. Spaces are being made by people.” – So reads the programmatic statement of the Sonderforschungsbereich “Processes of Spatialization” in Leipzig. But what happens if spaces of social and political action are not congruent? In my talk I will discuss the responses of 20th-century Southeastern European governments to the fact that the societies, over which they claimed sovereignty, were characterized by transnational social interactions, i.e. relations that reached beyond their sovereign purview. Political regimes with different ideological outlooks attempted to make identity and decision space congruent, even though some of those whom they claimed as citizens lived abroad. Such strategies included long-distance nation-building – not by the “diaspora” but by the state – as well as attempts to control migration. These practices of trans-territorial politics were motivated not only by ideational concerns but also by more mundane, material ones: emigrants were (and still are) a vital source of income for Southeastern European economies, so governments felt that they should keep them loyal. But who actually were “our” emigrants? These questions will be discussed mainly in relation to the example of Yugoslavia in its different incarnations.

Biographical Note
Ulf Brunnbauer is the managing director of the Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (U Regensburg, Germany) and holds a chair for Southeast and East European History at the University of Regensburg. He is also the co-speaker of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies (U Regensburg and LMU Munich, Germany). His research deals with the anthropology and social history of Southeastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of migration in the Balkans, Muslim minorities in the Balkans, as well as historical family research (especially in Bulgaria).