Academic Conference – Revisiting Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice in the Balkans

University of Prishtina and forumZFD Kosovo programme invite proposals for an international conference—to be held in Prishtina 20-22 September 2018—on the topic of dealing with the past and transitional justice. The Conference aims to bring together scholars from diverse academic fields and practitioners who are working from different thematic and theoretical paradigms to explore approaches to dealing with the past and transitional justice approaches in Yugoslav successor states, and beyond.

As a field of inquiry, analysis and practice, dealing with the past relates to peace and justice. It is contextual and embedded in social practices and imaginings for the future of society. How societies choose to deal with the past have consequences for conflict transformation in the present as well as for the future. Frames for dealing with the past and accountability mechanisms in post-Yugoslav states have been shaped by the discourses on peace-building, institution-building, and aspirations for European Union membership. Dealing with the past also has incorporated diverse perspectives and actors; international and local. Transitional justice shapes the regimes of war and peace as a prime vehicle for addressing harms of the past. There is a need to combine the instruments of ‘retributive’ and ‘restorative’ justice to enable societies to come to terms with the past and achieve closure as a necessary component for moving forward.

The conference revisits the frames and processes of dealing with the past in the post-Yugoslav successor states. It embarks on the concept on the Foucauldian concept of ‘history of the present’ seeking a critical attitude and approach to analyse the postwar transitional justice mechanisms and the evolution of present-day practices for dealing with the past. It seeks to address several questions, including: Is it possible to identify novel paradigms and/or frameworks for dealing with the past? What is the potential of the rule of law to respond to antagonistic narratives of the past? How has transitional justice shaped the transition from conflict to peace? How is the past portrayed? Who is commemorated and how? Are the representations of the past becoming more inclusive and less antagonistic? What is the role of the state and civil society in the process of dealing with the past and conflict transformation? How have transitional justice mechanisms shaped narratives of the ‘troubled past’ in Yugoslav successor states?

The conference will include keynote addresses by Denisa Kostovicova, London School of Economics, and Eric Gordy, University College London.

Themes of the conference include:
• Rethinking Dealing with the Past: Historical and Theoretical Approaches
• Postwar Approaches to Justice and Accountability Mechanisms
• Civil Society Truth-Seeking Initiatives
• Discourses on the “Troubled Past” and Practices of Reconciliation
• Silence and Dialogue in Dealing with the Past
• Peace-building and Human Rights
• Gender and Transitional Justice
• Education and the Cultures of Dialogue
• EU and Dealing with the Past
• Landscapes of Memory and Commemoration
• Art and Dealing with the Past

We seek individual paper proposals from scholars and practitioners at all stages of their careers and from a variety of disciplines. To propose a paper, please submit an abstract (300 words in English) and a short curriculum vitae at 

A collective of distinguished scholars and practitioners will review the proposals.
The language of the conference is English, translation in Albanian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian will be provided.
The Deadline for Submission is 30 May 2018.

Conference Organizers:
Vjollca Krasniqi, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Prishtina
Judith Brand, forumZFD Bosnia and Herzegovina
Nehar Sharri, forumZFD Kosovo

For questions and further information please contact Venera Çoçaj & Josephine McHardy