(De)constructing Yugoslavia: migrants, refugees, and diasporas 1918-2008 (level 3) CEES3030

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This is a Level 3 Non- Honours course taught by Central and East European Studies.


The aim of this course is to explore how (post) Yugoslav nation- and state-formation were imagined, re-imagined and contested globally by 'Yugoslavs on the move'. Yugoslavia came into being after the First World War, but émigrés in Europe and communities of settlers of South Slav origins in the Americas played an important role in its creation. Considerable new diasporas came into being in the Americas and Western Europe, and affected the country's evolution in the interwar period, in economic, political and cultural terms. They once again played an important role in campaigning for different groups vying for political power during the Second World War and after. In the Cold War, policing diasporas became a major challenge for the Communist authorities, who had to combat new diasporas of fleeing political dissidents. To this was added the large worker emigration to Western Europe and Australia from the 1960s, a proportion of which returned to Yugoslavia following the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s. Moreover, other forms of movement came into play, like the transfer of Yugoslav experts and workers to countries in development, the so-called Third World, as Yugoslavia navigated the Cold War as a leader of the non-aligned world. Yugoslav developmental aid was a major showcase not just of Yugoslav socialism in the world; the commitment to an alternative world order to the Cold War divisions was, along with socialism and multi-cultural (federal) coexistence, one of the pillars of the Yugoslav national identity. Towards the end of the Cold War, hundreds of thousands left as refugees, creating new diasporas alongside the old. 'Yugoslavs abroad' once again played a major role in the home country, this time in the dissolution of the common state, the wars of Yugoslav succession, and the creation of new nation states.


The course will draw on ego documents which shed light on individual perspective and other primary source which provide deep insight into specific case studies. This will help students to engage more critically with sources and to develop a broader understanding of agency and dynamics of historical change.


One 2 hour class per week

This course may not be running this year. For further information please check the CEES Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Grade D in Central and East European Studies or cognate social science Level 2

Excluded Courses

CEES4097 (De)constructing Yugoslavia: migrants, refugees, and diasporas 1918-2008




The assessment consists of two written assignments.

Essay: list of titles is provided by the lecturer but students are encouraged to develop their own title - 60% (word count 3000).

Analysis of primary sources - 40% (word count 2000).

Course Aims

Many European nationalising states faced major challenges in negotiating global transnational migration linkages. The aim of this course is to explore how and why a particular European nation was constructed and deconstructed in the space of just over one century through the lens of migration. In particular, the aim is to understand how the (post) Yugoslav state interacted with migrants, refugees, and diasporas in the process of nation-formation. The course will unravel the dynamics underlying the impact of migration on socio-economic, cultural and political change in the (post) Yugoslav region from different historical and thematic perspectives.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ demonstrate a good knowledge of the nationalising policies of the (post) Yugoslav state on its migrants, refugees and diasporas;

■ understand the ways in which migration has shaped and has been shaped by socio-economic, cultural and political change in the (post) Yugoslav region;

■ place the transnational history of the (post) Yugoslav region within broader academic debates and global trends;

■ examine critically different types of primary sources;

■ and present effectively in written and oral form.


Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.