Whose Heritage? Contested UNESCO Heritage Sites and Memory Wars in the Post-Socialist Public Space

Fall 2023 Center Grant Recipients

Katia Dianina (Slavic Department)

My project considers the contested heritage debate in the former Serbian province of Kosovo on the example of four medieval Eastern Orthodox monasteries, all UNESCO World Heritage sites.  While the Serbian side claims cultural rights to the area as the “Holy Land” of Serbian Orthodox Church, the Albanian majority of Kosovo contest this myth of origins with the one centered on Kosovo independence and control of cultural heritage situated on its territory.  Not unlike the role that Ukraine has played in the Russian foundational myth, that of the cradle of the “Russian World” civilization, Kosovo is considered by the Serbs as “the cradle of Serbian nationhood.