(De)constructing Yugoslavia: migrants, refugees, and diasporas 1918-2008 CEES4097

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This is an Honours course taught by Central and East European Studies. It can be taken as part of the MA Honours Social Science Programme.


The aim of this course is to explore how (post) Yugoslav nation- and state-formation were imagined, re-imagined and contested globally by 'Yugoslavs on the move'. Yugoslavia came into being after the First World War, but émigrés in Europe and communities of settlers of South Slav origins in the Americas played an important role in its creation. Considerable new diasporas came into being in the Americas and Western Europe, and affected the country's evolution in the interwar period, in economic, political and cultural terms. They once again played an important role in campaigning for different groups vying for political power during the Second World War and after. In the Cold War, policing diasporas became a major challenge for the Communist authorities, who had to combat new diasporas of fleeing political dissidents. To this was added the large worker emigration to Western Europe and Australia from the 1960s, a proportion of which returned to Yugoslavia following the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s. Moreover, other forms of movement came into play, like the transfer of Yugoslav experts and workers to countries in development, the so-called Third World, as Yugoslavia navigated the Cold War as a leader of the non-aligned world. Yugoslav developmental aid was a major showcase not just of Yugoslav socialism in the world; the commitment to an alternative world order to the Cold War divisions was, along with socialism and multi-cultural (federal) coexistence, one of the pillars of the Yugoslav national identity. Towards the end of the Cold War, hundreds of thousands left as refugees, creating new diasporas alongside the old. 'Yugoslavs abroad' once again played a major role in the home country, this time in the dissolution of the common state, the wars of Yugoslav succession, and the creation of new nation states.


The course will draw on ego documents which shed light on individual perspective and other primary source which provide deep insight into specific case studies. This will help students to engage more critically with sources and to develop a broader understanding of agency and dynamics of historical change.


One 2 hour class per week

This course may not be running this year. For further information please check the CEES Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory entry requirements

Entry to CEES Honours normally requires a grade point average of 15 (GRADE B) over CEES 1A and 1B as a first attempt OR 12 (GRADE C) over CEES 2A and CEES 2B as first attempt.

Excluded Courses

CEES3030 (De)constructing Yugoslavia: migrants, refugees, and diasporas 1918-2008 (level 3)




The assessment consists of two written assignments.

Essay: list of titles is provided by the lecturer but students are encouraged to develop their own title - 60% (word count 3000).

Analysis of primary sources - 40% (word count 2000).

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

Many European nationalising states faced major challenges in negotiating global transnational migration linkages. The aim of this course is to explore how and why a particular European nation was constructed and deconstructed in the space of just over one century through the lens of migration. In particular, the aim is to understand how the (post) Yugoslav state interacted with migrants, refugees, and diasporas in the process of nation-formation. The course will unravel the dynamics underlying the impact of migration on socio-economic, cultural and political change in the (post) Yugoslav region from different historical and thematic perspectives.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the nationalising policies of the (post) Yugoslav state on its migrants, refugees and diasporas;

■ assess the ways in which migration has shaped and has been shaped by socio-economic, cultural and political change in the (post) Yugoslav region;

■ place the transnational history of the (post) Yugoslav region within broader academic debates and global trends;

■ examine critically and interpret different types of primary sources;

■ and present effectively in written and oral form.


Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.