Postdoctoral Researcher and Scientific Coordinator of the Research Platform “Transformations and Eastern Europe”, University of Vienna
Memory Studies, Radical Right and Populist Memory Politics, Postsocialism, Yugoslavia and the post-Yugoslav space, Historical Revisionism, Contemporary History
Dr Jelena Đureinović is a postdoctoral researcher and scientific coordinator of the Research Platform for the Study of Eastern Europe and Transformations at the University of Vienna. She holds a PhD in History from Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, where she taught in East European History. She is particularly interested in memory cultures and politics in post-conflict and post-socialist contexts, as well as the politics of memory in contemporary authoritarianism and populism. Most of her work revolves around the role, actors and practices of memory in the post-Yugoslav space, with wider implications for other regions.
She has published on Europeanisation and memory politics, memory laws and discourses of victimhood under communism. Her book The Politics of Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Serbia: Collaboration, Resistance and Retribution was published with Routledge in 2020. The book represents a contribution to the understanding of how memory politics works. The multifaceted approach combines a diachronic perspective with the in-depth analysis of the contemporary context, actor-centred and rooted in ethnographic fieldwork. Going beyond the state agency and romantic dichotomy of state actors versus leftist and liberal opposition to hegemonic historical narratives, the book investigates the anti-communist memory work from below. This is where commemorations of the defeated side of the Second World War and those considered victims of communism happens. Exploring these memory communities implies immersion in the sphere of right-wing and far-right politics. With all its challenges and risks, this approach is valuable and uncovers the unexplored aspects of post-socialist memory politics that could be applied to better understanding of other contexts.
Her ongoing research explores the interplay of right-wing populism and memory politics in the contemporary context of the hybrid regimes of authoritarian democracies. Focusing on contemporary Serbia as the theory-building case study, the project outcomes aims at yielding a deeper understanding of the role of memory for the radical right and anti-democratic processes, also in the contexts that are not post-socialist or post-conflict. Building on the transcultural turn in the interdisciplinary field of memory studies, she is also interested in the travelling memory of the radical right that is inherently transnational although its content involves specificities of national history. While the project primarily examines in the top-down memory politics of the contemporary authoritarian regimes, it also aims at contributing to knowledge about grassroots radical right groups as communities of memory.
In addition to her academic work, she is also a practitioner and dedicated to public engagement and outreach. She developed the Memory Activism Programme at the Humanitarian Law Center, a human-rights organisation in Belgrade, where she is still involved in providing strategic direction to the programme. She regularly contributes to various online and print outlets with comments and opinion pieces.
Available for consultation in the following areas:
Policy formation / reports; third sector / charity engagement; live / pre-recorded media interviews (including print, online, radio and television); and editorials