New Revisionism and Old Stereotypes? On Post-1991 Historiography on Serbs and Serbia Cover Image

Нови ревизионизам и стари стереотипи? Историографија о Србима и Србији након 1991. Године
New Revisionism and Old Stereotypes? On Post-1991 Historiography on Serbs and Serbia

Author(s): Dušan T. Bataković
Subject(s): Political history, Transformation Period (1990 - 2010), Historical revisionism
Published by: Српска академија наука и уметности

Summary/Abstract: Reading through historical studies on Serbs and Serbia written during and after the wars of the Yugoslav succession (1991–1999) reveals many elements of a biased, one-sided narrative derived from various sources. This contribution looks at the ideological and nationalistic writings on “Greater Serbia”, “Greater Serbian nationalists”, “Serbian hegemony” produced by Croatian nationalists in interwar Yugoslavia and by Croatian Second World War émigrés, who were markedly anti-Yugoslav both in the monarchic and communist period and whose perspective has gained ground in Western Europe and the USA. These writings are often compatible with Albanian historiography produced under the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha. This simplistic and biased perception of the Serbs as endemic nationalists, communists and anti-Europeans, allegedly keen on establishing complete hegemony over other nations and minorities in Yugoslavia, has reappeared since 1991 not only in mass media but also in much of Western scholarship, strongly influenced by a black-and-white perspective on the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Such approach, fostered by some scholars from the former Yugoslavia, chime perfectly with the old stereotypes inherited from Austrian and German historiography on Kriegsschuldfrage which have found their way into American historiography in the post-1945 period. Many controversial interpretations (Noel Malcolm, Holm Sundhaussen, Tim Judah, James Gow, Robert Donia, Branimir Anzulovic, Stjepan Meštrović, Philip Cohen, Marcus Tanner, Sabrina Ramet etc.), have been designed to support some immediate political goals or geopolitical claims and have little to do with scholarship and intellectual rigour. Yet, many such works have become standard and wide-spread, albeit stereotyped, perception of the Serbs and their history in the Balkans.