October 22, 2012
Keith Brown, Associate Research Professor at the Institute, is currently working in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, to collect new oral histories and analyze the politics of dissidence in the country. Professor Brown, whose fieldwork this semester is supported by a Fulbright US Scholar grant, will give a series of presentations on the subject over the coming months.
Brown's project, entitled "Democracy in Macedonia: Oral History, Civil Society and the Practices of Pluralism," will revisit a range of dissident movements of the 1980s, including the flowering of critical, anti-establishment journalism and alternative art and theater movements, the birth of environmental activism, unprecedented anti-management strikes by workers, and political mobilization by Macedonian Albanians in response to the Yugoslav crackdown in neighboring Kosovo. By highlighting the activism of this period, Professor Brown will challenge popular misperceptions of the recent past, raise awareness of the different trajectories and outcomes of dissent, and provide grounds for a more reflective public debate over the rights and responsibilities of citizens and government.
Professor Brown's Fulbright project, which includes training younger scholars on oral historical methods, dovetails with his ongoing collaborative project on Macedonia's democratic culture, and also his April 2012 McCloskey Lecture at Indiana University, entitled "Reason, Riot and Ridicule: The Democratic Spirit in and After Yugoslavia."