CfP: Towards a social history of Albanians in socialist Yugoslavia

Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz, 9-10 February 2024

This workshop, jointly organised by the Institute for Habsburg and Balkan Studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, and the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, seeks to assess the state of the art regarding the social history of Albanians in Yugoslav socialism (1945-1991). Despite advances in the social and cultural historiography of Yugoslavia in the last two decades (e.g., on diverse topics such as everyday life, gender, labour, childhood, consumerism etc…) little of this scholarship takes into account Albanian experiences of Yugoslav socialism or meaningfully engages with sources from Albanian inhabited parts of Yugoslavia, namely Kosovo and Macedonia.

Organised as the concluding event for a research project investigating the intra-Yugoslav labour migration of Albanians to Croatia and Slovenia, we invite contributions that engage with the social history of Albanian citizens of Yugoslavia and are informed by original, empirical research conducted by the author(s).

While there are justified and self-evident reasons for the scholarly focus on political history and social memory – above all on mutually exclusive ethnonational claims along the Prishtina-Belgrade axis – we are of the view that focused and empirically informed examination of state-society relations in the domain of the everyday can lead to better understandings of the varied Albanian experiences of participation in a socialist Yugoslav state across time and space. Conversely, Albanian perspectives can also reveal much about the Yugoslav state itself and the limits of the Titoist project and perhaps serve as a corrective to some of the “methodologically Yugonostalgic” approaches to the social history of Yugoslavia. The focus on “the social” is not meant to negate or ignore the dominant frames in the historiography (national, political, military) but rather to offer complementary lines of historical inquiry.

We invite researchers working on topics that could fit under the rubric of the theme – the social history of Albanians in Yugoslavia – to send an abstract (max 400 words) and a short bio (max 150 words) to by 01.12.2023. Selected participants will be expected to circulate draft papers three weeks in advance of the workshop. Some limited funding for travel and accommodation is available – scholars living and working outside the EU and those without institutional funding will be prioritised.

Possible topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Social historical themes such as labour, housing, migration, sexuality and gender, ethnicity, race and racialisation, religion, consumption and consumerism, social transformation, social welfare, development, engagement (and non-engagement) with the state in particular domains (e.g., political participation, military service, work in the private and social sectors…).
  • The comparison of similar topics/phenomena in Albanian inhabited parts of Yugoslavia to elsewhere in the state. Contributions are not strictly limited to Albanians in Yugoslavia when they deal with the social history of groups with related experiences or societal conditions similar to that of Albanians (e.g. Turkish/Slavic speaking Muslims in Kosovo and Macedonia; Yugoslav migrant crafts/businesses; Securitised minorities; Roma; Othering/Brothering (forms of exclusion and/or negotiated inclusion); Kurbet/pečalba migration and socialist modernity.
  • Methodology and sources (in particular, Alltagsgeschichte and micro-level historical studies, language, ethnography).


Rory Archer, Mladen Zobec & Robert Pichler