6th International Interdisciplinary Conference in Balkan Studies "Balkan Express 2021 - Neighbors and Neighborhood in the Balkans"

Event date
November 12-13, 2021
Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Prague
Czech Republic
Short description

Organizing committee:

PhDr. Dana Bittnerová, CSc., PhDr. Mirjam Moravcová, DrSc., Mgr. Ivana Skenderija, Mgr. Markéta Slavková, Ph.D., František Šístek, M.A., Ph.D.

Organizing institutions:

Faculty of Humanities, Charles University;
Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences;
Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences;
Institute of International Studies, Faculty of Social
Sciences, Charles University
Czech Association for Slavic, Balkan and Byzantine Studies

The conference has been supported by Strategy AV21 - Top Research in the Public Interest, research program of the Czech Academy of Sciences. This year the conference will aim to rethink the Balkans through concepts and ideas of neighbors, neighborhood and neighborly relations. The central role of the notion of neighborhood (komšiluk) in the daily lives of people in the Balkans and the importance of neighborly relations in Balkan societies in general seems to be beyond doubt.


On the one hand, the traditional Balkan notion of neighborhood, formed under Ottoman and Mediterranean social and cultural influences, tends to be conceptualized in an inclusive manner, emphasizing the special relations, respect and mutual assistance among close neighbors regardless of their faith and ethnicity. Neighborhood is primarily understood as an intimate space of deep bonds, affections, mutual help and tolerance. In this perspective, neighborly solidarity helps to neutralize the effects of the anonymous outside forces of modern state, nationalism, and economic exploitation of individual lives. In the extreme situations of military conflicts, ethnic cleansing and ideological clashes, many tended to save lives, property and dignity of their neighbors.

On the other hand, the Balkans are also frequently conceptualized as a region characterized by deep and long-lasting mutual animosity and repetitive violence among neighbors. Neighborhood is thus represented as a breeding ground of distrust, jealousy, hatred and conflict. In this view, Balkan neighbors simply kill, loot, rape and expel one another with greater frequency and fury than other Europeans.

The 6th "Balkan Express” conference would like to revisit the notions, practices and discourses of neighbors and neighborhood in the Balkans (historical, anthropological, political and economic perspectives). The conference adopts an interdisciplinary approach, enabling different fields of knowledge production and ways of understanding neighbors and neighborhood. This year the conference is going to take form of a hybrid event due to the coronavirus pandemics. It will be possible to attend the conference both physically and virtually. In addition to a rich academic program, the conference will also provide a glimpse into Balkan cultural and artistic production. We look forward to meeting you in Prague this November.

Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
Event type
  • Conference in EU/international
  • Conference WBs

Entry created by Admin WBC-RTI.info on July 21, 2021
Modified on July 21, 2021