Using Neglected Literary Texts to Understand the Evolution of Serbian Society

Tuesday 17 November, 2015
12 - 1:30pm, $0

Columbia University, International Affairs
420 West 118 Street, Room 1219

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Please join the Harriman Institute and the Njegos Endowment for Serbian Language and Culture for a talk by Svetlana Tomic, Alfa University (Belgrade). Tomic will discuss the historical, political, and literary value of four memoirs by Serbian women Serbias Queen Natalia Obrenovic, feminists Savka Subotic and Paulina Lebl Albala, and one of the first professional female teachers Stanka Gisiceva. Their autobiographical works came from different localities, social groups, and ethnicities. They focus on self-representation, women's lives, and perceptions, and offer valuable insights into Serbian history and society. Tomic argues that, although women's memoirs have remained culturally marginalized in Serbia, studying the neglected writings of women opens the possibility of a better appreciation of society and its ability to transform. How do female memoirists contrast with male writers such as Dordevic, Milicevic, and Zujovic? Can we find contradictions in their confessional dramas and see the motives for their writing? What can we conclude by comparing the writings of men and women from the period when the Serbian nation was formed? How can we generalize the difference and use it as an instrument for a better understanding of social developments not only in Serbia but in the wider Western Balkans region? Svetlana Tomic is Assistant Professor at Alfa University. She serves as the editor-in-chief of the scholarly journal Reci (Serbia) and is on the editorial board of Serbian Studies. She is a contributor to World Literature Today and other reputable literary and cultural magazines on the Balkans, as well as to the ongoing project of the Croatian Radio (HRT) The Dictionary of Post Yugoslav Literature.
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