Workshop: Online Dialogues  Tuesday 23 February – Friday 26 February 2021, 15.30 – 18.00 CET


The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), a collaboration that began formally with a summit conference in Belgrade in 1961, has rarely been studied as a kind of 'alter' or 'prior' globalization. The partnership between socialist Yugoslavia and states in what we now term the Global South played a key role in processes of decolonization, in reducing the threat of nuclear war in a world dominated by two superpowers and two main blocs, and in the establishment of a new international economic order. At the same time, it was sometimes riven by internal conflicts, faced concerted opposition from aligned states, and many ideas remained as little more than words on paper.

Although conceived, very much, as a top-down, inter-state initiative, it created a space for meaningful transnational exchanges in the realm of science, art and culture, architecture and industry that continue to have relevance and impact today. Student and technical exchanges were common, a legacy that lives on today and plays an important part in solidaristic grassroots responses to new migrants, refugees and asylum seekers along the so-called ‘Balkan route’. Although not, exclusively, a socialist grouping, NAM provided potential socialist developmental paths for newly decolonial states in Africa, Asia and Latin America that were not based on Soviet or Chinese models. NAM becomes, in the 1960s and 1970s in particular, a litmus test for the changing spatial and political contours of resistance by the colonized, albeit with its own contradictions, silences and erasures.

Revisiting NAM's work during the Cold War is of much more than mere historical significance. As well as allowing for an understanding of prior globalizations and transnational co-operation otherwise, it offers a unique insight into social, cultural, political and economic imaginaries that challenged a dominant hegemonic order, reworked 'core-periphery' relations and, crucially, advocated for self-determination free of both colonial and neo-colonial governmentality. The role played in the movement by socialist Yugoslavia also offers an entree into the study of the interconnections between post-socialist and decolonial worlds, and into the contradictory nature of struggles for a less exploitative, more sustainable, world. NAM's successes and failures offer a prism for exploring demands for a just international order today and form a useful backdrop to discussions of a renewed left internationalism. NAM’s advocacy of meaningful reform of the United Nations, and attempts to institutionalize new global economic, social and cultural rights, remain relevant today.


These dialogues, over four consecutive days, a collaboration between The Institute of Economics, Zagreb, The Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, constitute a forum for discussion of the relevance of historical movements for today's world not in a narrow sense of direct applicability but, rather, in terms of teasing out lessons that can be learned from the contradictions and complexities of the non-aligned movement. The aim of the workshop, and an edited book in preparation by the speakers featured, due to be published by McGill-Queens' University Press, is to connect analysis of the problems and possibilities of emancipatory practices within the non-aligned movement with the challenges of transnational emancipatory practices in today's world. Conceived as a series of interlocking contributions, with an emphasis on debate and disagreement rather than false consensus, the workshop aims to contribute to debates on ‘global Yugoslavia’ and to the study of socialist and decolonial relations. 

Draft Programme (subject to change)

 Tuesday 23 February 2021


Chair: Paul Stubbs

15.30 – 16.30 CET

Introductory Remarks: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (Krunoslav Stojaković) EIZG (Tajana Barbić), IFDT (Gazela Pudar Draško)

Nemanja Radonjić, Institute for Recent History of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia -  A Nonaligned Continent: Africa in the Global Imaginary of Socialist Yugoslavia

Agustin Cosovschi, Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques,  Paris, and La Contemporaine, Nanterre, France - From Santiago to Mexico: The Yugoslav Mission in Latin America During the Cold War and the Limits of Non-Alignment

Commentary: Ljubica Spaskovska, University of Exeter, UK


17.00 – 18:00 CET

Dubravka Sekulić, Royal College of Art, London, UK - “The Sun Never Sets on Energoprojekt … Until It Does”: The Yugoslav construction industry in the nonaligned world

Jure Ramšak, Science and Research Centre, Koper, Slovenia. - Shades of North-South Economic Détente: Nonaligned Yugoslavia and Neutral Austria Compared

Commentary: Johanna Bockman, George Mason University, USA. 

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Chair: Jelena Vasiljević


15:30 – 16.30 CET

Peter Willetts, City,University of London, UK - The Non-Aligned Movement as an International Institution

Chiara Bonfiglioli, University College Cork, Ireland - Representing Women’s Non-Aligned encounters: a view from Yugoslavia

Commentary: Konstantin Kilibarda, York University, Canada


17:00 – 18:00 CET

Tvrtko Jakovina, University of Zagreb, Croatia - Pragmatism and Idealism in Yugoslav Non-alignment

Gal Kirn, TU Dresden, Germany - Alternative Alignment: socialist Yugoslavia and the road to non-alignment

Commentary: Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, University of Glasgow, Scotland

Thursday 25 February 2021

Chair: Ksenija Forca


15:30 – 16:30 CET

Mila Turajlić, Sciences Po, Paris, France - Screen Solidarities: Yugoslavia’s cinematic links to the non-aligned world

Bojana Videkanić, University of Waterloo, Canada - Nonaligned Modernisms: Yugoslav art and postcolonial cultural practices within global modernisms

Commentary: Nataša Kovačević, Eastern Michigan University, USA


17:00 – 18:00 CET

Ljiljana Kolešnik, Institute of Art History, Zagreb, Croatia - Decentered Circulations: reconceptualizing Yugoslav non-aligned cultural politics

Bojana Piškur, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia and Đorđe Balmazović, Škart collective, Ljubljana/Belgrade - Non-aligned cross-cultural pollination: a short graphic novel

Commentary: Aida Hozić, Florida State University, USA

Friday 26 February 2021

Chair: Krunoslav Stojaković


15:30 – 16:30 CET

Leonora Dugonjić-Rodwin, Uppsala University, Sweden - Destination Yugoslavia: the non-aligned trajectories of international students, 1960 – 1990

David Henig, University of Utrecht, Netherlands and Maple Razsa, Colby College, USA - New Borders, Old Solidarities: (Post-)Cold War genealogies of mobility along the ‘Balkan route’

Commentary: Catherine Baker, University of Hull, UK


17:00 – 18:00 CET

Panel: Socialist Yugoslavia and the Convivialities, Contradictions and Contestations of Non-Alignment

Moderator: Igor Štiks (Belgrade); Panelists: Rada Iveković (Paris), Boris Kanzleiter (Berlin) and Paul Stubbs (Zagreb)