Alexander von Humboldt Forschungskooperation

Regional Translocality in Historical Perspective: The Case of Slavonia and Bosnia

Alexander von Humboldt Forschungskooperation zwischen Prof. Dr. Markus Koller (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Dr. Dino Mujadzevic (Hrbatski Institut za Povijest, Zagreb) und Prof. Dr. Stefan Rohdewald (Universität Leipzig)

The partnership will be organized around interdisciplinary research on historical interactions between Slavonia (comprising the eastern parts of the Republic of Croatia) and Bosnia (consisting of the northern and central parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina) – two neighbouring and historically heavily interconnected regions that are today delimited by the state and regional border along the river Sava – and their consequences. Also, this project will look into comparative cases in other parts of Southeast Europe and adjacent regions (such as the Pannonian Basin) and theoretical approaches to translocality in general.

The particular contribution of the project lies in the fact that in its treatment of trans-boundary interaction, exchange and communication between places, it goes beyond the concept of (trans)nationality and instead employs a much more analytically precise concept of translocality. This concept enables a more fine-grained approach that is fully capable of addressing historical ties on a “lower”, previously often ignored scale established between local rather than national contexts, in this case between the two regions of Slavonia and Bosnia and the microregions within them. According to Freitag/von Oppen (2010), there are two dimensions to the concept of translocality. In the descriptive sense, it refers to phenomena that result from a multitude of circulations and transfers. It designates outcomes of movements of people, goods, knowledge across distances and boundaries. In the research sense, it stresses the fact that interaction, exchange and communication between places, actors and concepts have far more diverse, often contradictory, outcomes than previous research on transfers assumed. Within this conceptual framework, not only the circulation of people and goods, but also the simultaneous transfer and convergences of culture and knowledge between local contexts is easily addressed.

Additionally, our project is specific in that, while bi-regionally embedded, it is trans-epochally conceived as well as – as previously stressed – open to other cases of translocal exchange in Central and Southeast Europe. Such openness in regard to other temporalities and localities aims to enable comparative perspectives that could enhance the research on the interconnectedness between Slavonia and Bosnia. Also, this is an interdisciplinary project that aims to bring together scholars that employ different approaches, come from different institutional backgrounds and have different research focuses in the field of historical, area and cultural studies dealing with Central and Southeast Europe as well as Croatia and Bosnia in particular.