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Memoryscapes, Tourism, and the Environment in Croatia: Slow Memory and Sites of Conflict and Slow Violence

Memoryscapes, Tourism, and the Environment in Croatia: Slow Memory and Sites of Conflict and Slow Violence

Memoryscapes, Tourism, and the Environment in Croatia: Slow Memory and Sites of Conflict and Slow Violence (WG 4)

This working paper, based on a COST Action Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM) in April of 2023, explores questions about the relationships between tourism development, commemorative cultures, and environmental management in parts of Croatia that remain both socially and physically impacted by the Croatian War of Independence, 1991-1995. The paper provides a reflection of the STSM while suggesting that slow memory as a methodology can provide significant alternatives to overtourism, collective amnesia, and environmental degradation. By visiting two of the most heavily impacted regions in Croatia, the researcher explores sites that have remained influenced by dissonant narratives over memory of the conflict, along with physical abandonment and neglect, while plans for touristic growth continue to present new directions for regional leaders and communities. This paper further demonstrates how Slow Memory Working Group 4 can expand conversations about memory of conflict by examining tensions between tourism, environmental sustainability, and contested memories.
Image 1: The exterior exhibition of the Homeland War Museum in Karlovac.


What is the relationship between manifestations of memory, tourism development, and environmental transformation in areas that experienced the traumas of armed conflict and violence? This is the question I sought to answer as I traveled through three different regions of Croatia where the damages and legacies of the Croatian War of Independence (Domovinski Rat – “The Homeland War” in Croatian, 1991-1995) have had different and uneven impacts regarding the country’s memoryscapes, tourismscapes, and landscapes.

This trip was supported by the COST Action – “Slow Memory: Transformative Practices in Times of Uneven and Accelerating Change” in April of 2023. Slow memory is both a conceptual and methodological approach that seeks to move beyond rapid practices of memorialization of events and things, and to place memory studies within the framework of the Anthropocene – the long durée period (arguably epoch) in which humans have become the primary agents of environmental change. According to Jenny Wüstenberg, it seeks to do this in three major ways: A) by studying slow things (e.g. slow violence) B) remembering things slowly (e.g. centering divergent memories) C) and working slowly (e.g. slow observations). (Wüstenberg) 

I used these tools to try and explore how and why some Croatian environments were relatively quickly transformed from warscapes into tourismscapes (including UNESCO World Heritage site Plitvice Lakes National Park), while others have remained neglected. My hypothesis was that cultural and collective memories of the war can influence and inform the ways in which areas materially transform, especially in terms of how environments are managed. I also wanted to connect memoryscapes with the concept of slow violence, and I used this experience to determine how slow memory can inspire alternative methods for managing environments in conjunction with considerations regarding the ethics of commemoration and the development of tourism.

Slow violence is a concept developed by Rob Nixon to describe harmful environmental management that impacts mainly poor and “undesirable” populations. The concept is often used in discussions about environmental justice in the global south and less-developed countries, regions, towns or districts. His definition, however, can be broadened to include unwanted and undesired memoryscapes and heritages, especially due to slow violence’s “incremental” and “accretive” nature. (Nixon, 2.) In other words, rather than playing out in great and dramatic or calamitous events, slow violence in the context of Croatia’s former warscapes can be revealed through neglect, under-representation, and collective amnesia, which have major social and natural consequences. Nixon brings up this issue concisely when describing how slow violence represents “the long dyings … the staggered and staggeringly discounted casualties, both human and ecological, that result from war’s toxic aftermaths or climate change,” which, as this working paper will show, “are underrepresented in strategic planning as well as in human memory.” (Nixon, 2-3.)

In addition to transforming from warscapes into memoryscapes, many of Croatia’s areas that experience slow violence from the 1990s war are also transforming (or being designated to transform) into tourismscapes. A tourismscape can be described as an environment where society, nature, and tourism exist in a symbiotic relationship in which they become co-dependent and co-constitutive. (van der Duim, 961-976.) Tourism has been a major player in the Croatian economy for most of the country’s independent history, traditionally represented by coastal Adriatic tourism. However, the Croatian government and national tourism office have been trying to expand tourism spatially and develop alternative types of tourism in more traditionally rural and agricultural regions. (Grgić et al., 98-108) All of this is part of the Croatian Tourism Board’s long emphasis on consumption of the environment, promising potential tourists that “from shores in the South Dalmatian islands …. Through swamps filled with wildlife … Croatia’s natural beauty never ends.” (Croatia: Full of Life).

One of the major challenges, however, in developing tourism in especially rural areas where contested memories become entangled with physical legacies of armed conflict, is that there is a major potential for tourism to make such memoryscapes invisible. As Lauren Rivera has pointed out in a study of some Adriatic towns, the development of tourism in Croatia has often led to memories of war being deliberately hidden from the gaze of tourists in order to help bolster the country’s self-branded “Full of Life” image. (Rivera, 630) The official “Full of Life” tourism slogan used by the Tourism Board itself peripheralizes knowledge and memories of the fact that rural areas in Croatia remain the most heavily mined in the entire EU, and that several villages, industries, and former agricultural lands remain virtually empty (of permanent human populations) since the end of the war.

The overall purpose of this short piece is to present my observations regarding questions about the relationships between the politics of memory, environmental management, and tourism development. Larger questions about power dynamics, management, and political agency will require longer field work and more research. However, my short scientific mission was able to develop preliminary ideas related to the following questions: is there a correlation between unwanted memories, underdeveloped regions, and lingering legacies of armed conflict? Does the development of tourism (especially mass tourism) suppress dissonant memory cultures? And finally, can slow memory offer potential alternatives to collective amnesia, overtourism, and slow violence?

The Museum of the Homeland War – Karlovac-Turanj

Image 1: The exterior exhibition of the Homeland War Museum in Karlovac.
Image 1: The exterior exhibition of the Homeland War Museum in Karlovac.
To gain a better understanding of the dominant and hegemonic narrative, and the construction of collective memory in Croatia, I visited the Museum of the Homeland War in Karlovac-Turanj. This museum was introduced to me by Professor Vjeran Pavlaković, an expert on the politics of memory based at the University of Rijeka, as a potentially significant counterargument to slow memory. This particular museum is significant in that it demonstrates the main national (i.e. dominant) narrative of the war and victory during the Homeland War for the fledging Croatian state led by Franjo Tuđman, whose HDZ party continues to hold a major grip on power in Croatian politics and society. The museum is also symbolically significant since the battle for the town of Karlovac and its surroundings represents a major victory for the Croatian forces against the breakaway province of Serbian Krajina in the strategically important Kordun region. The museum is housed in a former barracks dubbed “Hotel California” by Croatian soldiers during the war, and is close to the sight of where some of the first skirmishes between Croatian police and rebel militias occurred.
Upon visiting the museum it becomes immediately clear that the Croatian victory in the Homeland war is presented in a way that contradicts slow memory: it is heavily event and site based, with counternarratives and divergent memories made invisible. Misinformation is not one of the characteristics of the museum, however, and the factual information provided corresponds to well-known political events. However, the narrative avoids some of the more complicated and perhaps contradicting factors, such as how Croatian and Serbian neighbors co-existed in the region before the war, and it became obvious to me that problems related to slow violence, environmental impacts, and counter-memories are left out through this type of presentation, which in many ways represents the top-down and official approach to cultural memory of the war in Croatia. Since this conflict was simultaneously a civil war and an international war, it was extremely complex, and these complexities are left out in favor of presenting a more comfortably one-sided narrative of victimization and heroism.

Despite the somewhat teleological story told in the museum, it is an impressive exhibition that seeks to portray the tense atmosphere of the war years, provides selective primary sources, and seeks to inform both local and foreign visitors about the catastrophic human toll of the war and the difficulties that have shaped modern post-socialist Croatia’s independence. While the museum does succeed in informing guests about the political and military history of the war in the region, there is almost no mention of environmental costs of the conflict (though damage to cultural heritage is briefly mentioned), and in some ways, the museum itself contributes to the militarization of the environment, as the above image reveals.

Some of the reasons, in my opinion, that environmental consequences of the war have been left out, are that (1) they have not been studied in enough detail, (2) environmental consequences can be extremely slow moving and generational (i.e. slow violence) and ongoing, (3) they do not quite nicely fit into one-sided narratives of victory, since military actions from multiple sides of the conflict can cause negative environmental impacts. Finally, (4) environmental topics require precisely the type of methodology that slow memory proposes, and a long durée perspective is required that moves beyond events, looks at broader and gradual processes, and pays attention to intangible outcomes of the wars.

Image 2: A part of the exhibition providing a timeline of the mounting tensions from the Croatian perspective
Image 2: A part of the exhibition providing a timeline of the mounting tensions from the Croatian perspective

Ličko Petrovo Selo and the Plitvice Region

In order to further explore alternative narratives, slow violence as it becomes manifested in different uses of the environment, and how slow memory can be used to center contested heritage and memory, I visited the village of Ličko Petrovo Selo near the Plitvice Lakes National Park. I selected this region because, while Plitvice was among the first sites of armed conflict between Serbs and Croats at the onset of the war in 1991 (with the death of Josip Jović, the first ethnic Croat killed in the conflict), it has experienced rapid touristification while the surrounding areas, which were some of the most heavily damaged areas during the war, still bear signs of wartime damage, abandonment, neglect, and enduring wartime pollution as evidenced through ongoing de-mining efforts.

Image 3: A monument to fallen Partizan fighters during World War II juxtaposed with a new hotel
Image 3: A monument to fallen Partizan fighters during World War II juxtaposed with a new hotel
Ličko Petrovo Selo is a small village near the Plitvice Lakes National Park that has not experienced much development stemming from Plitvice tourism, aside from the impressive new Lyra hotel (Slovenian-owned) and few emerging tourist accommodations, and most of its remaining inhabitants are elderly members of the Serbian Orthodox minority. The new hotel stands a bit superfluously among the many dilapidated structures in the village, and gives off the impression that the villages is in the process of transforming. The hotel and others like it could serve to erase the specific pasts of places like Ličko Petrovo Selo, or, I ponder, perhaps they could help preserve their memoryscapes if sensitive to local commemorative cultures and the needs of local populations.
I met with a local guide who runs the TARA community group based in the village, which is an association for local women that includes production, exhibition, and marketing of local goods and handicrafts that locals consider to be a part of the village’s heritage. I reached out to my guide, Sonja Leka, and asked if she could show me around the area and help me understand how the disappearing community preserves its heritage and memory. I was attracted to this specific community after reading a 2020 BBC report on how the Lyra hotel is taking major steps towards preserving the town’s memory and heritage, and helping it recover from the traumas of wartime depopulation and enduring ethnic tensions. (Rolls) I was also hoping my trip with Sonja would help shed some important insights into the ways in which memory politics can directly affect the natural and human environment.
Image 3: A monument to fallen Partizan fighters during World War II juxtaposed with a new hotel
Image 4: Josef Djordjevski and Sonja Leka, local tour-guide and head of the TARA Association in Ličko Petrovo Selo

To my surprise much of the efforts of the local community to preserve the village’s cultural heritage had either suffered major setbacks or not materialized, with the ethno house co-run by Sonja experiencing structural decay. According to Sonja this decay included a large hole in the roof that made holding exhibitions impossible. While proponents of the ethno-tourism model maintain that it can help stimulate local economies while preserving local traditions and cultures, (See Pažek et al.) if this type of tourism is developed rapidly, it is hard for me to believe that it would not lead to familiar problems associated with mass tourism: commodification, over-crowding, over-dependency, loss of authenticity, inequality, and pollution.

In Croatia’s Rural Development Plan, tourism continues to feature as one of the main drivers of economic development. In the plan for 2020, Ministry of Agriculture planners suggested that “the use of tourism to initiate the development of rural areas must thus be one of the key drivers of overall development.” (EU European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, 28). While such plans often highlight the need for environmental sustainability in the strategy to attain maximum growth, there are no mentions of how to manage cultures of memory and monuments. Whereas the town of Vukovar and the museum in Turanj encourage tourism based on memory that is congruent with official narratives, the preservation of dissonant memories and commemorative cultures in places like Ličko Petrovo Selo is not encouraged since it does not hold mainstream political capital, nor does it reflect the Croatian Tourism Board’s “Full of Life” paradigm. On the other hand, while Croatian tourism emphasizes consumption of natural beauty, there seems to be little room for the commemoration of environmental destruction. It seems to me to be ironic, however, that memory of environmental destruction would be left out of celebrations of sustainability, since such memory, and the landscapes themselves, could be used to promote sustainability by demonstrating the environmental consequences of warfare in such fragile landscapes and their communities.

Image 5:Entrance to the Croatian side of the neglected Socialist Yugoslav-era Željava airbase
Image 5: Entrance to the Croatian side of the neglected Socialist Yugoslav-era Željava airbase

Most of the sites of memory in Ličko Petrovo Selo are from the Second World War and the Socialist Yugoslav period, both of which are extremely controversial at the national level in Croatia. Together Sonja and I traveled outside of the town where abandoned Yugoslav People’s Army barracks remain neglected and decaying with no real attempts at renovation or new construction, as well as the Yugoslav airport terminals of the former Željava air base that cut into small hills separating Croatia from Bosnia-Herzegovina, while occasional visitors drive through them and even hold races, throw trash, or take selfies. There are no plaques or any displayed sources of information for interested guests. In addition to these sites’ relevance to the socialist period of Yugoslavia, they were also heavily involved in the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s, with rebel Serbian Krajina forces first using then later destroying many of the facilities.

Image 5:Entrance to the Croatian side of the neglected Socialist Yugoslav-era Željava airbase
Image 6: One of several abandoned buildings in the former military complex near Petrovo Selo

The village itself has had a very violent and traumatic past. At the town’s entrance a large monument listing the names of hundreds of people who were killed during the Second World War by the fascist Ustaša movement remains fixed on a now empty and abandoned schoolhouse. According to Sonja, the people of Ličko Petrovo Selo, who are mainly Serbian Orthodox, and the people of neighboring village Vaganac, majority Croatian Catholic, will never be able to get along because of this history. As she made clear, while some of the villagers from Vaganac participated in the Ustaša killings of Petrovo Selo’s Serbs, the Serbian rebel forces in the 1990s did little to foster reconciliation by burning down Vaganac’s Catholic church and trying to ethnically cleanse the village.

Image 5:Entrance to the Croatian side of the neglected Socialist Yugoslav-era Željava airbase
Image 7: Monument with names of the town’s mainly Serb World War II victims of fascism on abandoned structure

Most of the population of Ličko Petrovo Selo left after the war in the 1990s and never returned, leaving much of the environment unused, abandoned, and unregulated, while a lack of funding for projects like the preservation of the Yugoslav-era historical sites and traditional Orthodox Serb heritage of the village threaten the area’s economic and cultural survival. Although I cannot confirm whether it is true, Sonja believes that the Plitvice Lakes National Park management, which is responsible for the immediate region’s development, are hesitant to divert funds for heritage preservation in the village due to its historically Serb and socialist Yugoslav character. While there could indeed be some truth to this, the problem of depopulation and environmental neglect are common throughout the Lika region, including in regions and towns populated mainly by Catholic Croats. Altogether, in 2011 Croatia had more than 73,000 abandoned dwellings, which presents Croatia’s leadership with a perennially challenging task that is only exacerbated by the persistent tensions in dissonant memories of the 1990s war (Lončar and Pavić, 207).

Image 5:Entrance to the Croatian side of the neglected Socialist Yugoslav-era Željava airbase
Image 8: An abandoned and stripped Douglas C-47 airplane at the airbase

A major takeaway for me after visiting the village is that in areas where memory and heritage are contested, there seems to be a much more conspicuous lack of investment and funding, and therefore, greater environmental neglect where slow violence from the war continues to shape the landscape. However, there is also a common problem in terms of the lack of development and investment in rural areas in comparison to urban ones. The Lika region is known as Croatia’s biggest county with the least amount of people, with several towns considered to be “First Category Areas of Special State Concern” by the Croatian government. But while abandonment, depopulation, and environmental neglect are common throughout de-industrializaing and de-agrarianizing societies, in places like Lika where slow violence from the war continues to interact with neglected heritage and suppressed memories, the link between memory of the war and environmental management is more highlighted, and the way in which memory is performed can have dramatic environmental and social consequences.

The Osijek-Baranja Region

Image 9: The famous war monument of a red fićo running over a JNA tank in Osijek
Image 9: The famous war monument of a red fićo running over a JNA tank in Osijek

I contrasted the Lika and Plitvice Lakes National Park region with other parts of Croatia by visiting the Baranja part of eastern Croatia, which was also heavily impacted by the war. The most famous symbol of memory in the regional capital Osijek is the model of a small red fićo (zastava) car running over a Yugoslav People’s Army tank, which is a parody of the infamous video of a T-55 tank running over a red fićo attempting to block the road on the eve of the war in 1991, which serves as a symbol of the city’s defiance. There are also multiple monuments to Croatian defenders in the city and the surrounding areas, with some monuments to Yugoslav Partizans as well, though these tend to be in areas of either mixed Serb-Croat populations or majority Serb populations (this is well-known and covered extensively by, for exemple, (Pavlaković and Pauković) and others.

Image 10: A Yugoslav partizan monument in Bijelo Brdo near Osijek, which has a majority Serb population
Image 10: A Yugoslav partizan monument in Bijelo Brdo near Osijek, which has a majority Serb population

I ventured out of the city of Osijek and its immediate surroundings into the Baranja region, where the Kopački Rit Nature Park lies. The nature park is one of the last and largest wetlands in Europe and is an integral part of the Mur-Drava-Danube river system, recently labeled as the “Amazon of Europe.” Due to its strategic position between the Croatian and Serbian borders, during the war in the 1990s Kopački Rit was heavily militarized with thousands of mines being placed in and around the park. As of 2015, the project Natura 2000, which was co-funded by the EU, has resulted in the removal of thousands of mines from the area, and in 2020, as much as 90% of the area had been reportedly demined.

Much like Plitvice Lakes National Park, Kopački Rit and its surrounding villages seek to develop rural, eco, and nature tourism, with a newly renovated information center housed at the Tikveš Austro-Hungarian manor in the heart of the park. Similar to the Plitvice rea, the extent to which tourism from the nature park extends to surrounding locales is in need of further research. While the park’s main focus is now on education and nature tourism, there is no public commemoration of the heavy mining and militarization of the park during the war, or the ongoing and painstaking efforts to ride the area of mines. This process of collective forgetting is problematic, since it appears that developing eco-tourism has the potential of displacing knowledge that can be gained by the public about the different environmental impacts of warfare and militarization. Again, since dominant memory practices tend to focus on events, a slow memory approach could help memorialize the long process of militarization and de-militarization of the environment near Kopački Rit.

Image 11: The “preserved” historic town of Tikveš inside the park. While the tourist info mentions that the population significantly declined during and after the Homeland War, there is no further detail about the impacts of the war, and the focus is instead on history, traditional economy, and nature
Image 11: The “preserved” historic town of Tikveš inside the park. While the tourist info mentions that the population significantly declined during and after the Homeland War, there is no further detail about the impacts of the war, and the focus is instead on history, traditional economy, and nature

While Kopački Rit is much less internationally renowned than Plitvice, there is a fledgling tourist industry that targets tourists who will come for nature tourism (i.e. ecotourism), bicycle tourism, wine tourism, culinary tourism, bird watching, among other activities. Since the area around the park was heavily impacted by the wars, most of which was under control of the rebel Serbian forces, I expected to see several similarities with between villages in Baranja and the villages near Plitvice like Ličko Petrovo Selo. With this in mind, I explored the nearby village of Karanac, which is becoming increasingly well-known for its development of a unique brand of ethno-tourism. Karanac is a self-ascribed “ethno-village” that offers preserved traditional architecture, farm stays, traditional cuisine and wine tasting, and gift shops with local arts and crafts.

Image 12: An “ethno house” in Karanac serving local cuisines and wine, while showcasing traditional agricultural labor practices
Image 12: An “ethno house” in Karanac serving local cuisines and wine, while showcasing traditional agricultural labor practices

With a mixed population of Serbs, Croats, and Hungarians, the town takes a novel approach towards the preservation of its heritage by focusing on the common traditions of each ethnic group, and there are both Catholic and Orthodox religious sites in the town. While the town’s approach is unique and shows evidence of inter-ethnic reconciliation, there is still a severe lack of development and investment, and the town is part of the Kneževi Vinogradi municipality which is a First Category Area of Special State Concern. While there are decaying structures and persistent problems with depopulation, there are few spaces in the town dedicated to commemorating the war, though there is a plaque listing the names of victims of the war in front of the Catholic church, and several such commemorative plaques in surrounding villages.

Less than 30 kilometers away from Karanac, I explored the Second World War monument complex in Batina (Spomenik), that commemorates the Soviet-Yugoslav joint victory in the first major battle to liberate eastern Croatia from the Axis powers in 1945. At the very northeastern edge of Croatia, near the Serbian and Hungarian borders, the impressive monument stands high above the Danube on the outskirts of the village, where a there is a growing wine production and tourism economy, that is geared towards rural tourism.

Image 13: Part of the massive monument in Batina
Image 13: Part of the massive monument in Batina

The demographic makeup of Batina (and the Draž municipality) in 1991 was majority Hungarian, followed by Croats, who were the second most populous, and then Serbs and others. Now, Croats are in the majority though there is still a significant Hungarian population. This is an interesting factor since the Batina monument celebrates both Soviet and communist Yugoslav forces during World War II, both of which are controversial among the Croatian population. However, due to significant attention by both Russian and Serbian politicians, the monument remains in a relatively well-cultivated state, though there seem to be, unsurprisingly, few local visitors.

Despite the fact that the other Second World War monuments commemorating the Yugoslav victory throughout Croatia have experienced vandalism and outright defacement and removal, due to Serbian and Russian funds, the monument is well-kept, and the surrounding area is pursuing wine tourism to varying degrees of success. However, the entire region is still considered by the government to be a First Category Area of Special State Concern, and several buildings, homes, and former factories and production facilities remain abandoned with war damages and pollution (especially in the form of debris).  

Image 13: Part of the massive monument in Batina
Image 14: Abandoned and damaged facilities in Baranja

In general, throughout the Baranja region, municipalities are trying to develop rural tourism, ethno tourism, and other alternatives forms of tourism, while the long-lasting legacies of the war (slow violence) in these areas are not given significant public attention or commemoration, with the heavy mining, depopulation, and landscape destruction of the war continuing to present major roadblocks to development.


Image 13: Part of the massive monument in Batina
Image 15: Swing set beside a damaged and abandoned house in Erdut, Baranja county

One common theme throughout the Lika and Baranja regions of Croatia, which contain most of the First Category Areas of Special State Concern, is that local communities are trying to develop various forms of tourism while multiple examples of slow violence continue to affect them. While tourism has potential in terms of preserving heritage, as in the case of Karanac, it also presents problems that include the further suppression of dissonant heritages and memories. According to scholars Patrick Naef and Josef Ploner, in Croatia, as in other societies that experienced the Wars of Yugoslav Succession in the 1990s, tourism has at times “been harnessed as a strategic tool within wider national politics of collective amnesia rather than an agent of memory and reconciliation.” (Ploner and Naef, 184.)

These politics of forgetting, omission, and “reinvention of tradition” have at times been exaggerated by scholars, and are often limited to discussions of the Adriatic coastal region. But despite the potential for exaggeration, during the Slow Memory STSM it became clear to me that in rural areas still suffering from the impacts of slow violence, dissonant heritage and memories still conflict with dominant and hegemonic discourses of collective memory. In these places tourism has the potential to lead to development and the preservation of certain heritages, but tourism also has the potential of suppressing memories of the war altogether, and lessons that could be learned about how war affects communities and their environments may be forced out of the public’s sight and away from the tourist’s gaze.

In conclusion, more work needs to be done. It is still unclear if there is a direct link between memory and the enduring legacies of war in terms of environmental transformations, but the trip showed me that there is at least much to be said about putting critical memory and heritage studies into conversation with studies of environmental management, tourism, and conflict. One thing that can be said for certain is that in areas of state concern with significant lingering war damages, there are clear cases of dissonant heritages and memories that are either suppressed, marginalized, or made invisible. With this in mind, the idea that memory of conflict and environmental legacies of conflict have become entangled and interconnected shows that slow memory has potential for offering alternatives to slow violence, environmental neglect, tourism overdependence, and collective amnesia.

Because of the tensions between what Croatian leaders want tourists to see, mainstream narratives, and the state of local memoryscapes and landscapes, it seems highly plausible to me that slow memory methodologies can be compatible with alternatives to collective amnesia, overtourism, and uneven development. These alternatives might include A) promoting landscapes themselves as sights of memory, for example commemorating an overgrown plot of land that once served as a minefield, B) promoting rural tourism development in conjunction with slow memory, and C) since environmental sustainability and tourism development both hold a great deal of political capital in Croatian society, they could be used to help commemorate the environmental legacies of war in the regions that remain most affected by it.


Josef Djordjevski is a post-doctoral researcher currently working on the NCEEER-funded project “Landscapes of Transition and Conflict: The Environmental Legacies of Civil War and Foreign Intervention in the Former Yugoslavia, 1991-Present,” which is an environmental history of the Wars of Yugoslav Succession. He received his PhD in History at the University of California, San Diego, in March 2022, where he defended his dissertation on the environmental history of the transformation of the Adriatic coastline under socialism. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Centre for Southeast European Studies in Graz Austria.


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Grgić, Ivo, et al. “Could Rural Tourism Revitalize Rural Areas in Croatia?” Agroeconomia Croatia 7, no. 1, 2017, pp. 98-108.

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Lončar, Sanja and Dario Pavić. “Areas with Abandoned and Vacant Properties in Croatia, A Plea for Recognition: Research, Policies, and the Development of Regeneration Strategies.” etnološka tribina 43, 2020, pp. 197-237.

Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011. ISBN 9780674061194.

Pavlaković, Vjeran, and Davor Pauković, editors. Framing the Nation and Collective Identities: Political Rituals and Cultural Memory of the Twentieth-Century Traumas in Croatia. Routledge, 2019. ISBN 9781315145730

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Ploner, Josef, and Patrick Naef. “Tourism, Conflict and Contested Heritage in Former Yugoslavia.” Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 14, no. 3, 2016, pp. 181-188.

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Rolls, Debbie. “In Croatia, A Hotel Trying to Heal War Wounds.” BBC, October 2022. Accessed January 15, 2024.

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Wüstenberg, Jenny. “Toward Slow Memory Studies.” Critical Memory Studies: New  Approaches, edited by Brett Ashley Kaplan, Bloomsbury Academic, 2023, 59-67. ISBN 9781350230132

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