“Neither Amnesia nor Nostalgia” Discussing the Non-Aligned Movement with Chiara Bonfiglioli, Agustín Cosovschi, and Paul Stubbs  

In this conversation with RevDem contributor Una Blagojević, Paul Stubbs, Chiara Bonfiglioli, and Agustín Cosovschi discuss the different meanings of the Non-Aligned Movement and the need to rethink the “West–East–Non-Aligned” trajectories; approach Yugoslav foreign policy critically and explain why they attach such importance to imaginaries; show the importance of developing a “perspective from below” and analyze what a gendered perspective on the movement can yield; and reflect on possibilities of future research.

Socialist Yugoslavia and the Non-Aligned Movement: Social, Cultural, Political, and Economic Imaginaries is edited by Paul Stubbs and has been published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.  

Una Blagojević: In your introductory chapter on “Socialist Yugoslavia and the Non-Aligned Movement: Contradictions and Contestations”, you, Paul, write that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) offered alternatives not just to East-West conflicts in the context of the Cold War, but “expressed the hopes of a world emerging from colonial domination.”  You also highlight that due to the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia, NAM was subsequently forgotten, both politically and academically. Could you tell us more about the ways in which the book positions itself in the historiography and how it tackles this problem of forgetting?

Paul Stubbs: If we were to turn the book into a t-shirt, for me it would say “neither amnesia nor nostalgia”. Neither the structured forgetting of socialist Yugoslavia and the Non-Aligned Movement, nor a kind of utopian celebration about what each of them were separately and together.

It is good that you ask the non-historian the question about historiography, and I want to position my answer at two scales. One would be in the field of global historiography, which is a growing field. In a way you do have a division in that field. There is what I would say is the rather orthodox historiography of the Cold War—the kind of top-down international relations in which Yugoslavia gets mentioned and the Non-Aligned Movement gets mentioned, but both are mentioned because they do not quite fit, because NAM both opposes and is an alternative to the two sides of the Cold War. Then you also have what I will call the emerging decolonial historiography, which is more interesting for me theoretically and conceptually. But it is often too focused on being conceptually advanced and not rooted enough in actual empirical research. In terms of addressing Yugoslavia, I’ve seen work in this tradition that ignores Yugoslavia or gets NAM all wrong. Agustín will know because I complain regularly to him about it. There are books that say the Non-Aligned Movement started in Bandung in 1955, or which trace a very clear line between the Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung in 1955 and the Belgrade Summit in 1961. It is much more complicated than that.

So, at the level of global historiography, combining theory and empirics is something that we need, and we then really need to have Yugoslavia back in.

We also need to decenter Yugoslavia, but that’s another story for later.

I do think the more interesting question—certainly for me—is about post-Yugoslav historiography and post-Yugoslav politics. In post-Yugoslav historiography, it seems to me that there is more work on the NAM emerging in the last ten years. This is work not necessarily with its origins in academia—the revival perhaps started much more with cultural workers, cultural activists, and so on. But you still end up with silos of different people studying different aspects of this.

The attempt to develop a multilayered response to this structural amnesia was really important for the book project. Politically, it matters because I live in Croatia, and you are not allowed to use the words ‘socialist Yugoslavia’ in public discourse. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić discovers NAM, in a very distorted form, only every ten years when there’s an anniversary.  In 2021, the Russian Federation was invited as a star guest to the last one. There is a need historiographically and politically to try and bring the Yugoslav role in non-alignment back in, but only as one of a set of nodes.

UB: Your book gathered outstanding scholars and authors that investigate different dimensions of the relationship between socialist Yugoslavia and NAM, and this is truly one of the many strengths of the book—approaching the topic of NAM from different angles, aspects, highlighting different stakes. How do you engage with the term ‘imaginary’ that is central to the volume, as stressed in the introduction as well as in the title?

Chiara Bonfiglioli: I will talk about my own chapter and my own topic, which is related to what I define as gendered imaginaries of citizenship. I started to work on this when I was investigating cross-border connections between Italian and Yugoslav communist women in the aftermath of World War II, to explore how different imaginaries of utopia and the revolution were connecting. As some of you might now, in 1945 the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) was created, which reunited antifascist, socialist, and communist women and promoted the idea that only the socialist model could ensure women’s emancipation.

That is why I mentioned this idea of gender imaginaries of citizenship: it amounted to the idea that only under a model that would eliminate class injustice and take care of women as workers and as mothers would it be possible for women to take part in society as active citizens.

The WIDF even produced a movie called The Wind Rose (1954) in which we are shown women in China and the Soviet Union being emancipated, while in Italy, France, and Brazil women are being exploited. According to the socialist internationalist narrative, in capitalist society women were being exploited, and in neocolonial societies that was also happening. It is interesting to note that even among members of the WIDF, the movie was seen by many as a propaganda exercise. In 1954 they showed it at their own conference in Helsinki, and some members were also skeptical about it.

What kinds of imaginaries were adopted, and which kind of imaginaries circulated across borders? The Yugoslav case is particularly interesting—especially in relation to women’s internationalist connection—because the Yugoslavs were kicked out of the WIDF in 1949, after the Soviet–Yugoslav split of 1948, and then they were isolated first and started to create a connection through NAM. Then, they came back to the WIDF as critical observers. They wanted to just observe critically what was happening, and indeed they were doing that.

They opposed the idea of positioning themselves between the blocs and they were trying to move away from them.

I think that’s also something quite interesting about the political imaginary of NAM: the idea of going beyond bloc politics and advocating for smaller countries, self-determination, and the emancipation of those who we might call “ordinary people”, including women.

There is a nice quote in the Manifesto written by the Afro-Asian Networks Research Collective (2018). They talked about the need to study Cold War transnational exchanges through a focus on non-state actors and South-South encounters. They say: “African and Asian women, socialist, communist trade unionists, intellectuals, activists, and revolutionaries conversed across national linguistic and ideological borders…Outside the key sites of international diplomacy, we know much less about the way in which actors across the South conversed with each other in the early Cold War era.” The book Socialist Yugoslavia and the Non-Aligned Movement gives more hints about how we could look at this grassroots process of conversation between different actors with an intersectional approach to the different imaginaries and their circulation, and how these imaginaries of utopia, decolonization, and imperialism were shared in different countries and across classes and genders.

UB: I really appreciate the complexities raised by the book that come out as a result of it not simply focusing on politics and economy—what we might call the “perspective from above”—but offering different accounts through the sources and “actors from below.” How would you describe the way in which NAM was negotiated, translated, or communicated on the ground among different actors in your narratives?

Agustín Cosovschi: Writing the chapter, partly because of my background, I asked myself one question all the time: why was there such a big and powerful imaginary about nonalignment in Latin America, even though it took a lot of time for NAM to develop strong roots there? The latter only really happened in the 1970s.

I think that has to do with the fact that some of these imaginaries were being fabricated, produced, and co-produced from below, and not in the same sceneries nor global stage that NAM is known for.

Both questions are well articulated in the book, and they have to be combined because the imaginary element of NAM was in a way larger than NAM as a movement.

The imaginary element and some of the ideals and values that Chiara was talking about that were conveyed and projected by NAM went way beyond NAM as a reality, as a movement, as an actor, or as a collection of actors, and as an actual institution from the 1970s and onwards. Many of these things were transmitted, negotiated, articulated, produced, and co-produced on levels that are not so easily traceable. We have to broaden our sense of the scope of what NAM was.

Paul Stubbs: I would like to jump in with a bit of a footnote. I think Chiara’s and Augustine’s answers convey precisely why it was so important to have imaginary in the book. One author really struggled with it and thought it was a kind of postmodernist sociological jargon. Only a hundred years ago or so, sociologists would have called this “the spirit of an age” or a “worldview” or something similar. What the concept of imaginary does, for me brilliantly, is that it allows us not to be deterministic and not to be relativistic. Imaginaries have real power; imaginaries are more than just discursive constructs. They do get produced, circulated, and mobilized and have real effects. They allow us, like Chiara said, to study the intersectional dimensions of non-alignment. It also allows us not to privilege the economic or the political, and to see that what comes to be defined as political, economic, cultural, or social changes across space and time.

UB: Chiara, in your chapter “Representing Women’s Non-Aligned Encounters: A View From Yugoslavia,” you point out that “global socialist (state) feminism, rather than post-socialist feminism, seems to be the real ‘missing other’ of transnational feminism.” Can you tell us more about how your chapter engages with this issue, and how researching NAM from a gendered perspective can help us better understand the significance of the alliance between feminist activists from socialist countries and activists from the Global South?

CB: There’s been quite a bit of literature on this topic recently. There is the book Second Word, Second Sex by Kristen Ghodsee, which is a groundbreaking work on the connections between Bulgaria and Zambia. There is also the book by Yulia Gradskova on the Women’s International Democratic Federation and women in the Global South, and how the WIDF Bureau in East Berlin was negotiating with different women’s organization in the Global South. Jocelyn Olcott wrote a beautiful book about the Mexico City UN Conference on Women (1975) in which she shows how conflict between Western and Eastern activists, as well as Global South activists, came to the fore. All those books expose how women’s issues were deeply political; there was nothing there that wasn’t political. Even the liberal organizations in the West were really politicized, often in an anti-communist way. That is what Francisca de Haan has also been underlining in her pioneering work on the WIDF.

In my chapter, I look at the ways in which Yugoslav women tried to build alliances after they had been expelled from the WIDF in 1949. They tried to establish bilateral relations with women’s organizations in different Non-Aligned countries. There was quite a bit of representation of such encounters in the women’s press, and so I focus on the Croatian women’s press and especially on the ways in which they represent African and Asian women.

Interestingly, there is often a process of ‘mirroring’ between the different women’s organizations, because as the Yugoslav women were in charge of the Antifascist Women’s Front and later at the Conference for the Social Activity of Women, many of the women that visited Yugoslavia or that were in touch with Yugoslav representatives were also former partisans and former fighters in revolutionary movements.

They could talk at the same level because they all took part in revolutionary struggles and often suffered personal losses in the process. They also had the experience of fighting together with men, of gaining their rights by fighting side-by-side with their male comrades.

Like Yugoslav women, women in the Global South—for instance India or Indonesia—had the feeling that they were fighting in the revolution. They also established women’s organizations during the Liberation struggle and in the aftermath of independence, and were interested in rebuilding infrastructure.

Often during such visits, the delegations would be taken to see nurseries, schools, and hospitals as there was an emphasis on rebuilding the nation and infrastructure for ordinary citizens. At the same time, there was also some domestication or gendering these women’s roles, because often they were independent, strong women and leaders, and there was a fear of appearing “too feminist.” When describing some of these women, the authors of the articles stressed that they were nonetheless good wives and mothers. These were the ‘50s, we shouldn’t forget, and even in Yugoslavia among the socialist leaders, there was a strong degree of paternalism and patriarchal discourse. For instance, when interviewing a woman called Soerastri Karma Trimurti, the leader of the Indonesian independence movement and women’s movement, they quoted her wish list for a successful life, which said “first of all, to be a good citizen and a good mom and a good wife”. These were her tips for the readers of the women’s press in Croatia.

What I realized only now by reading the Palgrave Handbook of Communist Women Activists Around the World, edited by Francisca de Haan, is that Trimurti was not just a trade unionist and an economist as she is described in the article. She was also part of the Gerwani movement of revolutionary women in Indonesia, which was then brutally repressed in 1965 through the coup d’état in which over a half million communists were killed. We have to remember that in the case of Indonesia, the memory of communism has been completely wiped out and mentioning communism remains a taboo.  

In terms of the legacy of these women’s movements, we have a very strong oblivion that has been casted upon them because of anti-communism and the end of state socialist regimes, but also because of the brutal repressions during the 20th century. That is why it is really important to dig out the stories of communist women around the world, because they haven’t been part of the feminist canon until now.

UB: Agustín, in your chapter, “From Santiago to Mexico: The Yugoslav Mission in Latin America During the Cold War and the Limits of Non-Alignment”, you stress the importance of tracing not just the connections between Belgrade and the Third World, but that we must critically approach Yugoslav foreign policy and analyse both “its achievements and its shortcomings on the ground.”  Can you tell us more about this conclusion and what perspective your narrative develops?

AC: It basically comes down to two main points. The positive one is that when you take a look at what NAM was on the ground in the regional and local sites of the Cold War, you get a completely different perspective of what this movement was and what non-alignment was. I often underline in my work how the development of non-alignment and the diffusion of its ideas was the work of the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Yugoslavia and other such organizations, which were not necessarily seen as officially representing the Yugoslav regime or the Yugoslav state, but rather as an expression of the system of socialist self-management with different and diverse degrees of independence. When you look at the actions of the Socialist Alliance, especially in the 1950s and ‘60s, during the years of intense diffusion of ideas of non-alignment in the Latin American political space, much of this diffusion relied on networks of actors that were much less visible than the networks of states that were officially part of NAM.

We know that NAM had different sorts of members and observers, and that in certain cases political parties could attend its conferences as well. In some cases, such as Front de libération nationale in Algeria, the status was ambiguous or even conflicting to a certain extent, because it was a party that was starting to represent a country. When you look at Latin America in the 1950s, the diffusion of non-aligned ideas relied much more on political movements and parties, and even on independent intellectuals. In the 1960s, conversely, a big part of what it relied on were states and governments. My point is that we have to see non-alignment and its history not only through what was said in the conferences and in official documents; we have to research different networks.

Relevant actors viewed nonalignment as much more than an international coalition of governments: they saw it as a political project and as a horizon for the region. They even saw non-alignment as a language of social emancipation and national emancipation.

That is my positive point. The negative point, however, is that when you look at what was happening on the ground, you also see that NAM was often disconnected from local realities and that it could not always deal with the challenges local actors faced. I think we have to do everything in our power to not let ourselves be misled by what the main leaders of NAM thought and said about the movement. We have to do all that we can to broaden our pool of sources, actors, and perspectives, to see things not so much from the perspective of diplomacy and states-to-state relations, but rather from the perspective of local developments.

The actors who engaged with NAM as a movement and as an institution were often part of a minority of well-educated and well-trained people active in international organizations. But when we see NAM from the ground, we can see how non-alignment grappled with the difficulties of local realities. I have been working on Latin America, where maybe the particularities of the 1950s and 1960s were different from the ones in other geographies. Each geography has its own challenges. That is also why I relied in my chapter on the work of Natalija Dimić on Angola. Others have said similar things. I tried to do this and to enlarge and broaden our perspective on what NAM was—not so much on what it thought it was—from the perspective of political history and by combining local and global political history. What I hope is that we will have more and more works doing the same thing, but from the perspective of cultural and social history.

UB: I am also very much interested in this tension that has been highlighted in the book. That is, on one hand from very early on there was a close link with the West in terms of economy and also culture. On the other, Yugoslavia was ‘a part’ of a non-aligned modernity. This has been also emphasized in the book Nonaligned Modernism Socialist Postcolonial Aesthetics in Yugoslavia, 1945–1985 by Bojana Videkanić as well as in the chapter by Gal Kirn. Could you maybe elaborate on this tension?

PS: Let me start with the M-word—modernity. I think that the moment you mention modernity we get into a whole set of debates about what NAM actually was. For me, although it was an alternative, perhaps even at times an emancipatory project, it was a deeply modernizing project. What I mean is that at this moment of decolonial sovereignty the model was very much to modernize. Though, there was ambiguity here because the idea was that no state should interfere in any other state’s internal affairs and states should be free to choose their social, political, and economic systems. I’ll preface this with how often, in the archives, there are meetings where the Yugoslavs say to other countries: “You are where we were ten years ago.”

The idea of the modernizing Yugoslav project after the Second World War then gets transposed onto the whole idea of a NAM modernizing spirit.

It’s industrialization, it’s modernizing of agriculture, women’s rights—though that was sometimes marginalized—and it’s certainly about using public expenditure not on armaments, but on welfare, health, and education. It’s about overcoming the problem of illiteracy.

It was a modernizing project that rejected Western capitalist modernization. If you read Edvard Kardelj, you could argue that it was perhaps close to the Swedish model, but with some more radical elements to it in terms of workers’ democracy. It also rejected the top-down neo-colonialism of the Soviet bloc. As Agustín and Chiara mentioned, what is interesting for me is that the modernizing project sometimes stifled non-state actors—social forces if you like—whose imaginaries might not have been necessarily drawn from that template of modernization.

The other thing I highlight in the introductory chapter—the work I’m doing now on the new International Economic Order reinforces this—is that the Yugoslavs tried to do two things with the movement in terms of its performative and discursive presence in the meetings. Agustín is right, meetings and top-down diplomacy are not everything, but the meetings had to do two things. One was it had to de-ideologize. So, you would take ideology out (and this is the big Cuba versus Yugoslavia struggle that lasted a very long time), and you would de-ideologize by not being too critical of one bloc rather than the other. You would be even-handed in your critique.

It also was deeply suspicious of any more radical initiatives. We can list some of them: Sukarno and the Conference of the New Emerging Forces, Castro, and the Tricontinental Conference, and later the Algerians and the new International Economic Order. There’s work that Sašo Slaček has been doing on the Non-Aligned News Agency Pool (NANAP). The Yugoslavs were deeply suspicious of rhetoric about neocolonialism in information flows.  They didn’t reject it, but they said: “Look, we need to do something, we need to not just talk.”

The modernizing moment par excellence for me is the 1970 Lusaka summit, because the Yugoslavs were not that unhappy about the biggest product of NAM being paper. But the Yugoslavs in 1970 have new interlocutors. Kaunda of Zambia, Nyerere of Tanzania, to an extent Indira Gandhi of India, who are saying this needs to be much more than a talking shop and that they needed to develop certain ideas. From that, I think, the new International Economic Order comes along. It was a modernizing project that took class struggle out largely, although when you read Kardelj there’s a pretense around it, but class struggle for him will be about deterministic forces and a certain historical inevitability. It takes gender out to an extent or is only about a narrow developmentalist women’s rights discourse, and it certainly takes ‘race’ and racism as a global structure out of the picture. You can condemn apartheid in South Africa and Zimbabwe, but you don’t generalize from that to broader global racialized structures, and you certainly don’t do what the Tricontinental tried to do, which is de-territorialize the very notion of decolonial struggle—by inviting the Black Panthers, for example.

Non-alignment was still, as a performative act, very much a modernizing project even though it was a different and contradictory form of modernization. It wasn’t the usual Western or Soviet modernization, I think.  The footnote is that when you talk about culture—those are great chapters in the book for me in dialogue with one another—it is about modernism, notions of art, and modernism in art and how far those are territorialized or how far they are more global, more hybrid, and whether you can find modernist movements in every country of the NAM. The second bit, then, is the danger that in the cultural dimensions of non-alignment, especially as pushed by Yugoslav administrators, it was reduced to the ethnological, with an aesthetic hierarchy constructed and reinforced. I do think the M-word is a really good lens for thinking about NAM.

AC: There is also a need to ask ourselves to what extent the different cultural orientations of Yugoslavia and the way that it was handled and negotiated within NAM revealed the internal contradictions of the different geographies of Yugoslavia and how these different geographies also had different orientations—many of which would have only found a home and a reference in NAM, as we all know. For so many years, the discussion about Yugoslav non-alignment was completely separated from the discussions about Yugoslavia’s cultural and intellectual orientation. You had the histography of Yugoslavia being culturally and intellectually divided between the East and the West and then in political science and international relations, you had discussions about what non-alignment was, as if there had been no connection between the two. Several people show that these connections were not self-evident, they were not so clear. It is not so easy to find these Non-Aligned intellectual connections, but they existed on the level of intellectual and cultural networks.

All this also invites us to do what we may have always done, but to do it now from a new perspective, which is to deconstruct what Yugoslavia was in terms of the different cultural codes, affiliations, and identities that peopled it.

The ‘West-East-Non-Aligned’ thing also invites us to open the question about what Yugoslavia was.

UB: To take this important volume and the existing studies further, what future research venues should be pursued? What might be missing in the volume that should be covered in the future?

AC: I would start with three of them. One is about social history. There is a very well-known book by the Argentinian historian Sebastián Carassai called The 1970s From the Perspective of Normal People (Los años setenta de la gente común, 2013). Why is it called that? Because we have a lot of literature about what the 1970s were like in Argentina from the perspectives of left-wing activists, militants, intellectuals, the army, the Junta, and the dictatorship, but the author was trying to see what those years were like from the perspective of the ‘common people’. When he says ‘common people’, he is playing with the concept, of course, but he is basically talking about the non-politicized middle classes. He is using the notion with a critical distance.

I think we need much more literature about what nonalignment was for ‘common people’, for people who had no idea and no intention to deconstruct their prejudices vis-à-vis Africa, Asia, or Latin America. For instance, when you go into the fashion magazines of the 1960s in Yugoslavia, when the country is carrying out the most emancipating policy of non-alignment, you see a Peruvian skirt, presented in the most orientalist fashion.

What I mean by this is that we need to know whether and how all of this impacted the lives of non-politicized ‘normal people.’

I think some people are doing this work now, but I think it needs to be developed much further. Social history of this kind should be the first venue to be explored.

The two other ones that at least I would like to see are non-aligned music, which I would love so much, and another one that Paul surely has thought of as well, which is non-aligned sports. I think both would be important.

CB: In terms of gender politics, I think one big field of research that needs to be tackled further is population politics. At this stage, there was a very big divide between those who argued that to achieve world development, the first solution was to limit the birth rate in the Third World. This was called the Malthusian or new Malthusian view. The Yugoslav activists were fiercely opposed to it.

They instead had the idea that development is something holistic, and only when women are able to access education and labor, then they’re going to also be in charge of their own family planning policies.

Of course, we know that in Yugoslavia family planning didn’t work as expected, but there was this sense of opposing new Malthusian population politics.

One way of exploring this is by looking at other actors and other organizations. One is the International Federation for Family Planning in which the Yugoslavs were very active and in which other women’s organizations from different countries in the Global South were active, because it had different regional branches: the Europe region, the North Africa region, and others. That is something to be investigated.

Another aspect that I find fascinating is the encounter between the older generation of feminist activists and the second wave feminists. What happened when official leaders in charge of non-alignment meet some activists of the younger generation that are thinking in a feminist way? Recently I was in Ljubljana, and I talked to Professor Maja Bučar who was working with Vida Tomšić in the mid-1980s in relation to the UN conference on women in Nairobi. Vida put up a whole team of young researchers working on development and gender. What happens during this encounter between the older generation of the communist cadres and the younger researchers or technocrats who are working on non-alignment? I hope to explore some of these topics in my new project which is called WO-NAM: Women and Non-Alignment in the Cold War Era: Biographical and Intersectional Perspectives, which will start at the University of Venice this autumn. The project includes Yugoslavia, Egypt, Tunisia, India, and Cuba as case studies. I’m hoping to gather a team of four or five postdoctoral researchers. We are especially going to explore the biographies of women active in the movements in these countries, the women’s organizations, the conferences on women, and the knowledge production that came out of these encounters.

PS: I would absolutely say music, literature, and performing arts as an assemblage is something that would have been great to have in the volume. If anybody is mad enough to edit a second volume, that would be something to really think about. In a recent podcast with Rada Iveković, Piro Rexhepi, and myself, a part of it concerned the importance of a perspective on non-alignment from the south of Yugoslavia, from the non-Slavic others within Yugoslavia, particularly Macedonian Albanians, Kosovan Albanians, and Roma. How did it look like from the different geographies of Yugoslavia, to quote Agustín?

I think I only have two or three more.  The role of religion is touched on in a couple chapters and perhaps is best addressed in the lovely chapter by David Henig and Maple Razsa that ends the book, but this is already kind of an ‘afterlife’ chapter about solidarities with refugees along the Balkan Route. In a sense there were lots of interesting, non-secular forms of worldmaking. Pan-Islamism, liberation theology in Latin America, and their interactions with NAM would be really interesting to research. More work on the relationship with other global actors, particularly the UN and its agencies, but also the G77. More too on Asia, because we have chapters on Africa and Latin America, but not on Asia. There’s an excellent book by Łukasz Stanek on architecture, and he made me realize that if you’re looking at architects from Eastern Europe working in Africa, it is not always the case that Yugoslav architects are competing with architects from Eastern Europe. They sometimes work together and study those links empirically would be important.

The last one I’ve hinted at it already: ‘race’ and global racism. There has been some work on this, but it is not without its problems. I think that the complexities of the racial structurings, racialized imaginaries, and non-alignment are something that we can do with a lot more on. Finally, sport: I did not have that, and that’s a great idea.

CB: I would add how social history and economic history can mingle with research focused on transnational exchange. There is a project now led by Goran Musić at the University of Vienna that is looking at Yugoslav workers in Zambia. I think these kinds of bottom-up projects will be very important for future research.


Chiara Bonfiglioli is a lecturer in gender and women’s studies at University College Cork, Ireland, where she also coordinates the one-year interdisciplinary master’s in Women’s Studies. She completed a PhD at the Graduate Gender Programme, Utrecht University, in 2012, and held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Pula, and the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. She is the author of Women and Industry in the Balkans: The Rise and Fall of the Yugoslav Textile Sector (I.B. Tauris 2019). She has been awarded the Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council for her project WO-NAM: Women and Non-Alignment in the Cold War era: Biographical and Intersectional Perspectives.

Agustín Cosovschi is a scientific researcher at the French School in Athens. His research deals with the political and intellectual history of the Cold War in Southeast Europe, with a focus on socialist Yugoslavia. He holds a PhD from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (France) and the University of San Martín (Argentina). He has published scientific articles in journals such as The International History Review, Südosteuropa, and Revue des études slaves. He has recently published a book Les sciences sociales face à la crise Une histoire intellectuelle de la dissolution yougoslave (1980-1995) with Éditions Karthala in Paris (2022), and also edited a Forum on “Socialist Yugoslavia and the Global History” in Balkanologie.

Paul Stubbs is a UK-born sociologist and currently senior research fellow at the Institute of Economics, Zagreb. His main research focus is on social policy and social protection, social movements, the right to the city, and policy translation. For the last six years, he has concentrated on historical work on the Non-Aligned Movement and the role of socialist Yugoslavia. He has published short texts on the topic for LeftEast and for the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, as well as a text in the journal History in Flux. He is currently working on a study of the New International Economic Order.  

The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

In cooperation with Lucie Hunter, Ferenc Laczó, and Hannah Vos.

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