- About the book
DetailsEvery major socio-political change starts with some discarding. Suffice it to think about the heaps of rubbish consisting of old furniture, cars, busts of famous communist leaders, badges, and books on the streets of Eastern Europe in the fall/winter of 1989/1990. Among the institutions which have the greatest amount of experience with discarding are libraries: Counterintuitive as it may seem, libraries (but also museums and archives) regularly discard books as part of their job. In the wake of the collapse of communism in Europe, stock revision was needed in libraries, but did it unfold in a ‘business as usual’ fashion or was it a “bibliocide” (as it was labelled by some media in Croatia) or even “the biggest destruction of books in the post-war period” (as it was characterized by a German journalist)? When does a standard library practice start attracting public attention? What happened in Croatia that there is even a Wikipedia page about “bookicide” in the 1990s? This book approaches the issue on at least three levels (phenomenological, discursive, and theoretical) and from three angles (from the point of view of librarians, non-professionals, and, metaphorically, discarded books themselves). The aim is to offer an innovative and original interpretation of post-socialist transition and post-Yugoslav memory while at the same time providing an empirically founded case study of the inconsistencies and lack of implementation of regulations in the field of librarianship in Croatia as opposed to a seemingly more synchronized environment in Slovenia.
- The author
About the authorDora Komnenović obtained her PhD in Social and Cultural Studies at Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany. She holds a BA in International Relations and Diplomacy (Trieste University, 2010) and an MA in Interdisciplinary Research and Studies on Eastern Europe (Bologna University, 2012). Her research interests revolve around Eastern European history and politics, with a special focus on vanished states such as the former Yugoslavia and the German Democratic Republic. Her recent publications include The ʽCleansingʼ of Croatian Libraries in the 1990s and Beyond or How (Not) to Discard the Yugoslav Past (in Bevernage, B. and Wouters, N. eds. “The Palgrave Handbook of State-Sponsored History after 1945”), London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, and Remembering the 1990s in Croatia: The Potential of Discarded Books on and around Anniversaries (in Newman, J. P. and Apor, B. eds. “Balkan Legacies: The Long Shadow of Conflict and Ideological Experiment in Southeastern Europe”), West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2021.
Reviews"Dora Komnenović's book is a convincing academic work, theoretically competent and empirically valid, about one of the most shameful episodes of post-socialist transition, bookicide. It is decisively interdisciplinary in terms of epistemology, theoretical background, and methodological tools and as such presents a comprehensive contribution to fields of transitology, cultural studies of post-socialism, (post-)Yugoslav studies, and ideology criticism. Conceived and accomplished on the productive crossroad of different social sciences and humanities, and combining top-down and bottom-up ways of researching, her book is able to uncover less-known dimensions of the topic and expand existent knowledge about it."—Prof. Dr. Mitja Velikonja, University of Ljubljana
- Additional Information