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Date & Time

Friday, February 17, 2017
6:00 PM


Seminary Co-op Bookstore



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Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


Max Bergholz discusses "Violence As A Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community." He will be joined in conversation by Victor A. Friedman.

Co-sponsored by CEERES

At the Co-op

About the book: During two terrifying days and nights in early September 1941, the lives of nearly two thousand men, women, and children were taken savagely by their neighbors in Kulen Vakuf, a small rural community straddling today's border between northwest Bosnia and Croatia. This frenzy―in which victims were butchered with farm tools, drowned in rivers, and thrown into deep vertical caves―was the culmination of a chain of local massacres that began earlier in the summer. In "Violence as a Generative Force," Max Bergholz tells the story of the sudden and perplexing descent of this once peaceful multiethnic community into extreme violence. This deeply researched microhistory provides provocative insights to questions of global significance: What causes intercommunal violence? How does such violence between neighbors affect their identities and relations?

Contrary to a widely held view that sees nationalism leading to violence, Bergholz reveals how the upheavals wrought by local killing actually created dramatically new perceptions of ethnicity―of oneself, supposed "brothers," and those perceived as "others." As a consequence, the violence forged new communities, new forms and configurations of power, and new practices of nationalism.

About the author: Max Bergholz is Associate Professor of History at Concordia University in Montreal. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Balkans since 2003 on the dynamics of intercommunal violence, nationalism, and memory. His research has won support from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, and his articles have been published in journals such as American Historical Review​. "Violence as a Generative Force" is his first book.

About the moderator: Victor A. Friedman is Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities.

About the co-sponsor: The University of Chicago has been providing instruction in disciplines of the CEERES region continuously since 1903, when courses in Russian language and area studies were begun.