Project summary

    The aim of the project Croatian literary-cultural identity in transition/regional context is to determine and constitute a corpus of texts written by Serbian authors, published in Croatia since its independence until today, and to explore their reception and interpretation. The fall of SFRY and its cultural market, followed by the creation of new states, led to substantially different relationships on the cultural market. Through its reception and publishing interests, the new cultural space bears witness to the historical trauma of the war and post-war processes, and reflects the gradual formation of a new cultural identity – especially its aspect regarding the creation of the recent cultural sign of Serbian writers in Croatia.

    Since many social and individual initiatives have been launched in Croatia (especially after 2000) with the aim of introducing Serbian authors from Serbia to the Croatian cultural reality, publishing their relevant work (literary, linguistic, publicistic) is being intensified in Croatia, which indicates the need for interpreting the approach to the Serbian cultural sign in Croatia.

    In that respect, conducting a systematic and detailed research on developing the interregional and interstate cooperation is of our special interest. This cooperation has already been initiated and supported by cultural subjects in Croatia. The results of the research would be scientifically documented in the proceedings with international review. Prior to that, an international scientific conference would be organized at which regional researchers would present their results and papers, and in which experts from various scientific fields would participate.

    Further goals are to determine the dominant forms of intercultural exchange which are shaped by the recent cultural interest in Croatia, and to educate young experts who would direct their research and scientific interest toward numerous cultural issues. Another aim is to analyze the corpus of texts dealing with the interpretation and polemics regarding the new linguistic situation. Apart from the theoretical approach to this problem area, special attention would be given to practical issues (publication language policy, translation/text adjustments, relationship between language and market policies in the region, etc.)

    This interdisciplinary project would, along with exploring mediating texts (literary, linguistic and publicistic), address other matters – in particular, the most traumatic cultural relationship, that with the Serbian culture. It is the description/interpretation of cultural sources, used for enhancing the interregional cooperation and supporting the cultural dialogue, which makes considerable contribution to opening the Croatian cultural space to others, and accepting the others as equal and desirable collocutors.

    The project would include three phases: (1) determining the Serbian authors, the corpus of texts, and the institutions which implemented publishing projects between 1990 and 2010, creating a research team and providing the IT infrastructure; (2) determining the subthemes on which selected researchers would work, and describing the relevant texts; (3) finishing the process of writing the texts and organizing a scientific conference at which all achieved results would be presented and an interdisciplinary discussion would be held.

The aim, goals and methods

    Since the aim of the project is scientific interpretation of recent processes in Croatian culture, especially in the area of publishing, journals and the media in general regarding the presentation of Serbian authors and their texts, the first task is to determine and build a corpus of texts written by Serbian authors and published in Croatia since its independence until today. A systematic and detailed study of interregional and interstate cooperation which is initiated by cultural subjects in Croatia – determining the dominant forms of intercultural exchange which are shaped by the recent cultural interest in Croatia. In this context it should be emphasized that in Croatia a strong affirmation of authors and their work can be noticed, authors who have not achieved their complete affirmation in Serbian culture.

    Furthermore, genre dispersion, i.e. genre mapping of Serbian culture products in Croatia, is expanded. Younger experts are also engaged on the project to master various research techniques and focus on various cultural issues. Through the analysis of the text corpus which is related to designing, polemicizing and interpreting the new linguistic situation they will be set in the project’s subject matter. It is the research of linguistic issues which seems to be of great significance to analyze because it would help linguistic patterns regarding linguistic practices, i.e. functional styles. The methods we would use are classical methods of creating and checking the corpus. It is also essential to identify sociocultural motives of the subjects in the intercultural exchange, where the subjectivity of individuals plays an important role and has a clear place in forming the imagological map of recent Croatian culture and its interests. The method of organizing cultural manifestations and interpreting the content of these manifestations would remain mere information if we didn’t reach their relevant participants and their interpretations. For example, frequent visits of Serbian authors in Croatia represent one form of intercultural exchange in which numerous Croatian cultural, scientific and publishing organizations participate, so that the content and motives should be assessed. The focus will also be on the aspect of the cultural public act in terms of modeling the cultural map of some society, and thus beside the objective interpretation of the content, its theoretical aspect will be reflected upon.

    In that period all texts/work by Serbian authors and their mediators would be determined. This will scientifically be provocative in some situations because beside the known and acknowledged authors there are completely unknown individuals who are in love with books. Their publishing engagement is sometimes momentary, exemplary, and some have scattered all over the world. This is why identifying texts, authors and institutions which participated in research projects from 1990 to 2010 in Croatia, and creating a research team with clearly defined tasks and IT infrastructure would be very important tasks. During that process subthemes within which selected researchers would work would be determined and relevant texts, i.e. texts which optimally represent the exchange of the global cultural paradigm in Croatia, would be described.

    The analysis which includes multiple complex problems requires serious reflexion of all interested and engaged parties on the project, and of those who will use their professional and scientific interest to support the understanding of the project’s subject matter. Thus, it is very important to organize an international conference at which the results from researchers in the region and the paper from engaged experts in various scientific fields would be presented. Finally, the project results would be documented in the proceedings as a result of such conducted research. Such goals, selected methods and the proposed research team consisting of experts in their respective field will lead to a scientific description of the model by means of which the interregional and cultural exchange in Croatia takes place, with the emphasis on Serbian culture and the interpretation of the realistic mediated contents of texts/manifestations. It would help identify and determine the primary generative centers of intercultural exchange, and interpret their interests and reasons. Even from the current insight we can assume with certainty that we would also identify those cultural institutions which affirm themselves more significantly as centers of defining the minority (Serbian), cultural and scientific interest, what represents the realization of cultural memory of all cultural subjects in Croatia.

    The project can serve as a form of interregional scientific cooperation because it practically includes the whole Štokavian subject matter which participates in the wholeness of the experience of the South Slavic cultural communities, i.e. countries. Because of that, it includes experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia as their insight is related to the project subject matter.


    We start from the fact that after Croatia’s independence in 1990 many things have happened, especially in terms of cultural memory which is related to Croatian-Serbian cultural relationships defined by war and post-war traumas. The collapse of a cultural model has gradually formed a new method of intercultural exchange among the cultural subjects in Croatia and Serbia, and among cultural subjects within Croatia. Our hypothesis is that processes of transition in Croatia and other areas look at their own culture in terms of transformation and resemantization of their cultural experience and identity, at least in the part regarding the relationship towards others. Two important contents are articulated: a) relationship towards the Serbian culture which is formed in Serbia and b) relationship towards the culture of Serbs in Croatia, because these two contents are not the same in the Croatian awareness.

    The relationship towards Serbian culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina is also a special content for the Croatian cultural experience no matter how much it overlaps with the first and second model. We think that in Croatia there is a realistic differentiated attitude towards all three contents and a differentiated practice of presenting their products. The hypotheses will be tested by researching the mediated materials from the qualitative to the quantitative level, from identifying the positivisticly confidential facts of the presence of others to interpreting the motives’ theme and ideological concepts of the materials.

    The research on the reception of the cultural work of Serbs in Croatia is significant, since it is not kept up to date and not given the status in the Croatian public which it deserves, but is being deliberately ignored. The research should confirm or challenge the hypothesis that through such relationship the position of the culture of Serbs in Croatia and ghettoized cultural content is being strengthened. We would also find out to what extent the Croatian cultural, scientific and city institutions participate in the affirmation of the cultural work of Serbs in Croatia. However, the main focus will be on the intercultural exchange among cultural subjects in Croatia and Serbia. Another hypothesis should be tested: that the most common and most important forms of intercultural exchange have remained unchanged considering the changed historical circumstances – the Serbian novel remains to be the most representative form of Serbian culture presented in Croatia.

Project leader and collaborators

    As the accompanying biography and bibliography imply, the leader of the proposed project has throughout his scientific research continuously addressed multiculturalism and the phenomenon of cultures among related languages and traditions, in particular with regards to Croatian- Serbian relationships in the context of South Slavic culture. This can especially be noticed in the last period of his work which was aimed at studying authors and subjects formed in the contact zone of several cultural traditions (e.g. Ivo Andrić, Sava Mrkalj, Vladan Desnica, etc.)

    The decades-long research on Serbian literature and culture in its entirety establishes his credentials as an expert who, in the Croatian academic, professional and social context, can to the fullest extent interpret the work and literary activities of Serbian authors. He is a longstanding research associate on the scientific project Intercultural History of South Slavic Literatures. Each of the involved research associates have substantially supported the expertise of the project, from the literature plan (Prof. Gojko Tešić, PhD, an irreplaceable researcher of Yugoslav avant-garde and the publishing editor of a series of scientific and professional books written by Croatian authors; Prof. Dušan Ivanić, PhD, researcher of the literary work of Serbs in Croatia and the author of a systematic book on that subject matter), language (Prof. Dijana Crnjak, PhD, dialectologist; Prof. Milorad Pupovac, PhD, a linguist who has interpreted the linguistic experience in Croatian culture and the language of Serbs in Croatia from a sociolinguistic point of view), ethnology and ethnography (Branko Đaković, PhD, full professor – one of the most competent experts on Croatian ethnological and ethnographic materials), and political sciences to history (Čedomir Višnjić, political scientist, a very productive publisher and author of historiographic work). Young researchers engaged on the project have already during their studies shown interest in researching complex experiences related to intercultural network expansion. Their cognitive and research curiosity can already be noticed in their biographies and bibliographies, i.e. their educational curriculum. They have all majored in Serbian language and literature and collaborated with the project leader in some extracurricular activities. They are either doctoral students who have just started the PhD program (Šakić) or have started writing their dissertations (Bogutovac, Karlić, Janković-Paus). Other associates are competent experts in their respective areas which are necessary for the functioning of the project (bookkeeper, web administrator, secretary).

Expected results and contributions

    The expected results of the project are: determining all social, publishing, scientific, cultural and publicist institutions and individuals (if possible) in Croatia which have conducted cultural projects of Serbian authors outside of Croatia, primarily from Serbia. Based on the materials determined and verified through the project (institutions, authors, texts of all genre and presentation practices, publishers) and on the processing we expect to map generative approaches and transition models of recent Croatian culture in relation to the period until 1990, in particular to the Serbian culture and its products. The significance of the project lies in the assumed identification of generative contents and motives in intercultural exchange (literary texts, publicist texts, linguistic texts and their professional and scientific interpretation, other various forms of cultural mediation), especially regarding themes. That would indicate the presence of the other in one’s own cultural practices and support directing oneself to the cultural life of others. Great attention would be given to assessing and presenting mutual contents or contents which belong to both parties of the intercultural exchange in the region. Potential benefits from the partnership with the economic, local and scientific community are the application of and implementation of project results on the academic community and intensification of the cultural dialogue, not only with Serbian cultural communities in Serbia and partially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but with Serbian cultural centers and institutions in Croatia (SKD Prosvjeta and many other local subcommittees). Further research and scientific interest of the project is to connect with interested scientific and cultural institutions in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Transfer of knowledge gained through the project can be achieved by scientific exchange and education of young researchers. Thus, the proposed research will make contribution to current understanding of the subject matter. Since the insight into cultural processes of countries in transition is based only on tacit or modest public perception, this is the first scientific research which deals with the recent cultural exchange among subjects in Croatia and Serbian authors.