KHAS ERC Performance and Politics Webinars – Assoc. Prof. Olivera Jokić and Christina Novakov-Ritchey


What a Peasant Could Know: On the Path and Performance of Modernity in the Context of (Post-)Socialist (Ex-)Yugoslavia

Speakers: Assoc. Prof. Olivera Jokić and Christina Novakov-Ritchey 

Moderator: Rüya Kalıntaş

Time: Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at 7:30 pm Istanbul (GMT +3)

11:30 am New York, 4:30 pm London, 5:30 pm Central European Time

Please register in advance for this meeting:

Meeting ID: 886 7714 2380 Password: 234015 The webinar will be in English.


Olivera Jokić and Christina Novakov-Ritchey’s workshop examines the political and epistemological charge that marks existing accounts of “peasant life” and the knowledge it has embodied across the region that was until relatively recently the nation-state of Yugoslavia. The workshop will foreground how scholarship on performance, in conjunction with insights from other interdisciplinary fields, makes available new knowledge about the region that has long been studied primarily in the rigid and masculinist terms of political history, from sovereign nations and empires to wars and urban political institutions.

Jokić will focus on the significance of biographies of three women born to peasant families in the 1910s. Their life projects shape the politics and performance of gender and urbanization in the region to this day, down to neo-traditionalist demands for a “return to normal” and repolarization of gender categories that would befit a free-market society. 

Novakov-Ritchey’s presentation proposes that the progressive repudiation of peasant ways of knowing and being from the early nineteenth century through the present constitutes an ongoing program of colonially-informed epistemic violence.

Olivera Jokić is an Associate Professor of Literature and Gender Studies at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She is interested in the relationships between literary writing and historical documentation, mainly the archives of colonialism, in the constitution of archives, in writing about gender and histories of “women’s writing.” She is a co-editor, with Rüstem Ertuğ Altınay, of two recent journal special issues about archives and popular culture relationships.

Christina Novakov-Ritchey is a PhD Candidate in Culture and Performance at the University of California – Los Angeles. Her research focuses on peasants, communism, ecology, folklore, and aesthetics in the Yugoslav region. Her next research project is a monograph on global postsocialist video and performance art. She is the co-organizer of the (Post)Socialist Studies Group funded by the University of California Humanities Research Institute and a core member of the Dialoguing Posts Network. She teaches post-socialism, revolutionary art, feminism, critical folklore, and global colonialism.

This webinar series and the “Staging National Abjection” research project are sponsored by a European Research Commission Starting Grant (ERC-2019-StG, Grant ID: 852216).


Twitter: @StagingAbject

Instagram: @stagingabjection

Facebook Page: ERC Staging National Abjection/ERC Ulusal Abjeksiyonu Sahnelemek

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