Detailed Information

AE-HN502 A History of Yugoslavia

This course examines Yugoslavian history from the perspective of the social, economic, and intellectual changes that affected Europe during the twentieth century. No other European country was as multifaceted or complex as Yugoslavia. Its turbulent history made it a byword for supposed Balkan barbarity, animosity, and backwardness, which starkly contrasted with the ‘civilised’ features of its neighbours. Shrouded in mystery and foreignness, the ‘Balkans’ have been consistently written out of the European context. Yet, the region’s history and that of Europe are strictly intertwined, so questions about its violent demise should not reflect stereotypes and prejudices. Attention should focus instead on the role played by nationalism, religion, and cultural ‘otherness’ in the founding, survival, and ultimate break up of this multinational state. The course discusses how the South Slavic idea took shape and influenced the project of a common future for culturally related peoples unified in a single state. It analyses the different political systems of the two Yugoslav states founded in 1918 and 1945, arguing that they faced the same challenges, i.e. the unresolved national question, underdevelopment, dependence on foreign powers, and the enormous historical disparities between the components of this multi-ethnic state. It concludes with a reflection on the impact that the fall of European communism, Tito’s death, and the country’s major economic problems had on Yugoslavia’s fragile political system, highlighting the extent to which key political figures took advantage of the situation to put forward a ‘new’ political project no longer predicated on tolerance, respect, and peaceful coexistence.


Please note that this is an online course and you will receive your recurring Zoom link a few days before the class starts.

Dates Schedule Time Venue/Location Fee €
31 Jan 2024 to 20 Mar 2024 Sessions: 8
31 Jan, 07, 14, 21, 28 Feb, 06, 13, 20 Mar
14:00 Online


Please note that you must be logged into InfoHub to make a Booking. If you do not have an Infohub account you can create one through this link.

8 Wednesdays


31 Jan, 07, 14, 21, 28 Feb, 06, 13, 20 Mar

  • The National Question;
  • The Three Balkan Wars and WWI;
  • The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1918-1929);
  • The Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929-1941);
  • WWII and the establishment of Tito’s Yugoslavia;
  • The Cold War Years;
  • A System in Crisis;
  • The Disintegration of Yugoslavia

The following is a selection of recommended texts for those interested in reading further around the course content. We advise that you do not buy books in advance of the course as your tutor will discuss the list and suggest the most relevant reading for particular interests.

For a general introduction to the main topics covered in this course, please read any of (or many!) the following books:

  • Mary-Janine Calic, A History of Yugoslavia (Purdue University Press, 2019)
  •  Sabrina Petra Ramet, Balkan Babel The Disintegration of Yugoslavia from the Death of Tito to the Fall of Milosevic (Taylor & Francis, 2002)
  • John R. Lampe, Yugoslavia as History: Twice there Was a Country (Cambridge University Press, 2000)
  • Viktor Meier, Yugoslavia: A History of its Demise (Routledge, 1999)
  • Louis Sell, Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (Duke University Press, 2003)
  • Dejan Djòkič and James Ker-Lindsey, New Perspectives on Yugoslavia: Key Issues and Controversies (Routledge, 2010)
  • Florian Bieber, Armina Galijaš, and Rory Archer (eds), Debating the End of Yugoslavia (Routledge, 2014) 
  •  David MacDonald, Balkan Holocausts? Serbian and Croatian Victim Centered Propaganda and the War in Yugoslavia (Manchester University Press, 2003)

At the end of this course, a student should be able to:

  • Develop an awareness of the role played by ideology (i.e. Slavic independentism, Socialism, and nationalism) in helping ‘Slavs’ overcome ethnic, religious, cultural, and socio-economic differences;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history of the Yugoslav states, as well as the reasons behind their demise;
  • Evaluate the long-term impact of foreign domination, wartime occupation, and mass violence in creating conflicting narratives and interpretations of the past (and the future) of the Slavic peoples;
  • Engage with primary and secondary sources in a critical manner.

Dr Chiara Tedaldi holds a PhD in Modern European History. Her main area of expertise is Cultural History. Her research focuses on victim competition, as well as the political and media debate surrounding the introduction of 'memory legislation' in Italy and Spain. Since completing her doctorate, she has been the recipient of two IRC post-doctoral fellowships and has worked as Senior Tutor, Occasional Lecturer and Assistant Professor in the School of History at University College Dublin.

Weekly sessions will consist of an interactive lecture (i.e. students will be encouraged to ask questions and contribute anecdotes, if they have any that they wish to share with their peers), followed by a seminar. Weekly lectures will provide overviews of weekly topics, with a focus on key historical trends, debates and events and their relevance to the people of Ireland. Weekly seminars will consist of student-led debate and discussion of the concepts and materials examined in the lecture. Autonomous learning is highly encouraged (see the recommended reading options), although no mandatory readings will be assigned.