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 About the Project    Detailed presentation
WHO WE WERE. This project brought together an international team of specialists acting as resource faculty with a group of twenty participants, junior university teachers from nine Central and Southeastern European countries. Sponsored by the HESP Regional Seminar for Excellence in Teaching, the three-year (2003-2006) project was initially based in the Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis, Graduate School of the Humanities, Ljubljana, Slovenia. In June 2004, it was moved to the Institute for Ethnic studies, Ljubljana.

PARTNER ORGANISATIONS. The partner organisations of the INV/IES in this project were: Beogradska otvorena škola, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro; University of Prishtina, Faculty of Law, Prishtina, Kosova; SEE University Tetovo, Teacher Training Faculty, Tetovo, Macedonia.

OUR TOPIC. The demise of socialist regimes since 1989 has triggered a new academic field of so-called ‘post-socialist studies’. Much like studies in post-colony since the 1960s, they were triggered by a global political singularity. The topics of the ever-increasing body of literature on post-socialism are diverse and variously framed, and they are exerting decisive impacts on individual social scientific disciplines as well as on interdisciplinary problem fields. They also importantly inform all public understanding of the ‘processes of transition’, from everyday discourses to the international political arena.

Large portions of the rapidly spawning social scientific literature on post-socialism adopt commonsensical, progressivist perspectives according to which the ex-socialist contexts, now ‘liberated of totalitarianism’ and opened to an uninhibited observation, are ‘transitioning’, ostensibly towards the ‘higher’ social order of capitalism and western-style democracy. This social evolutionist flavour is strongly reminiscent of colonial writings on the Other both in its organisation of perspective and its agenda. It is therefore tempting to propose that a specific type of colonial relationship between ‘old’ and ‘new’ ‘democracies’ and their proponents and interpreters is setting in. While post-colonial studies represent an impressive intellectual tradition on its own and have crucially informed the so-called post-modern thinking, studies in post-socialist contexts seem to have epistemologically regressed. The project located and took up discussion of the many critical voices in postsocialism, who owed much of their own intellectual development to the multiple impacts of post-colonial theory. Considered were works from the fields of anthropology, ethnology, sociology, cultural studies, history, law, political science, international relations, economy, and education. (More...)

OUR GOALS. During the project, we examined the social scientific interpretations of post-colonial and post-socialist contexts. We endeavoured to build study programmes that:
- Articulated an analytical perspective on social scientific production on post-colony and post-socialism;
- Attempted to formulate a novel perspective on social processes in both contexts;
- Specifically addressed local historic, social and political contexts in the participants’ countries;
- Attempted to build new epistemologies;
Deviseed explanatory techniques for classroom rendering.

ELIGIBILITY. Eligible to apply were junior university-level teachers from the following countries: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosova, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovenia. All applicants were required to demonstrate excellent command of spoken and written English.

In addition, candidates were required to meet the following criteria:
- Hold a degree (BA, MA or Ph.D.) in one of the following fields: anthropology, ethnology, sociology, cultural studies, history, law, political science, international relations, education. Applicants from other disciplines were considered as well.
- Be employed by a recognized institution of higher education in their home country as teaching assistants up to the level of assistant professors;
- Have at least 12 months teaching experience at the university level.

The selected participants were provided with all relevant study materials throughout the duration of the project.

  RESOURCE FACULTY. The resource faculty group were: Dr. Michal Buchowski, Professor of anthropology, University of Poznan, Poland; Dr. Duska Knezevic Hocevar, Assistant Professor of anthropology, senior research associate, Scientific research centre of the Slovenian academy of sciences and art, Slovenia; Dr. Nancy Ries, Associate Professor of anthropology, Colgate University, New York, USA; Dr. Irena Sumi, Assistant Professor of anthropology, senior research associate, Institute for Ethnic Studies; Dr. Daniel Wildcat, Professor of Native American Studies and Director of the Environmental studies program at Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas, USA; Dr. Sari Wastell, permanent lecturer, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK; Dr. Hannah Starman, research associate, Institute for Ethnic Studies.

PROJECT STAFF. Dr. Irena Sumi, Project Director; Dr. Hannah Starman, Project Coordinator; Dr. Martin Berishaj, Project Assistant; Damjan Franz, Technical Support.

GENERAL WORKPLAN. The work on the project was planned for three consecutive years (2003 – 2006). The participants and the faculty were engaged in an around-the-year cycle of activities, starting with September 1, 2003, as follows:
- Familiarizing themselves with the basic reading list for the topic;
- Participating in problem-oriented group work with the resource faculty. The participants determined, in agreement with the faculty, their specific study interests;
- Studying their chosen topic with the help of the resource faculty, confer with other participants and the faculty on-line, and submitting written reports;
- Preparing for summer school sessions.

The core yearly activities of the project were the summer schools (August 2004, 2005, 2006). Organized each year of the program in August, they allowed all the participants to meet, present and debate extensively their work with other participants as well as specific problem topics together with the resource faculty. During the project, the participants were expected to develop, through discussion and peer collaboration, an on-going linkage between their project work and their real-life research and teaching.

At the conclusion of the project, the participants were expected to:
- Command, and be able to teach on the field of post-colony / post-socialism;
- Develop their specialised theme within the topic;
- Prepare and implement model courses / courses contents for undergraduate or graduate university teaching on their chosen subject in the field of post-colony / post-socialism.
- Summer school participation (travel, accommodation and meals) were fully covered by the organisers, as were the intersession activities (on-line web conferencing, reading materials etc.).

PROJECT RESULTS. It was envisioned that as immediate products of the project, a bulk of audio-video documentation (on CD ROMs) would be made containing key lectures, key debates, and written work/presentations of the participants. This material served as the basis for a final compendium publication to which the host institution, the Institutum for Ethnic Studies commits. This publication will contain both the analytical results of the project, and the concrete, theme- and locality-specific curricula models built by the participants.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE. The call for participation was opened between July 15 - August 1, 2003. Selected were applicants from all egligible countries. The candidates were notified of the final selection after September 1, 2003.

CONTACT INFORMATION. Please direct all inquiries to:

Dr. Hannah Starman
INV/IES-HESP Project Coordinator
Erjavceva 26
SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Email: hannah.starman@guest.arnes.sii

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