Russische en Slavische studies - East Seminar





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The next EAST seminar will take place on Thursday October 31 at 17.00 in Bushuis/OIH E102.

Non-aligned cities against the Cold War: municipal internationalism, town twinning and the Standing Conference of Towns of Yugoslavia, c.1950-c.1985

a lecture by Vladimir Unkovski-Korica .


This presentation brings new perspectives to the literature on municipal internationalism and town twinning, which has downplayed the Cold War period and the contribution of non-Western actors. Making use of federal-, republic- and city-level archives in the former Yugoslavia, it reconstructs the contribution of a neglected actor in these global processes. Since Yugoslavia was non-aligned in the Cold War, Yugoslav municipalities were uniquely part of both the main international municipal organisations of the era, the International Union of Local Authorities and the Fédération mondiale des villes jumelées. They contributed to attempts to draw these organisations together and broaden their geographical reach.

Yugoslav municipalities also formed hundreds of links in the Cold War’s First, Second and Third Worlds. These connections opened new possibilities for Yugoslav municipal officials and citizens alike. Nonetheless, they also entailed complex negotiations of Cold War borders and ultimately contributed to the transmission of world structural inequalities to Yugoslavia. This helped to destabilise the country as a unitary international actor. The survival and role of some Cold War-era networks during the Yugoslav Wars also indicates that municipal internationalism and town twinning could have a dark side that proponents often disregard.

Vladimir Unkovski-Korica is Lecturer in Central and East European Studies at the School of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Glasgow. His first book The Economic Struggle for Power in Tito’s Yugoslavia: From World War II to Non-Alignment was published with IB Tauris in 2016. He has written scholarly articles for Europe-Asia Studies, Cold War History and Revue d'Études Comparatives Est-Ouest. His current focus is on left-wing and municipal internationalism in the Cold War.

Please mail a.m.kalinovsky@uva.nl if you are interested in attending.