In history, “war” and “peace” are not mutually exclusive phenomena but are intimately related. Peace is the continuation of war with other means, argues, inter alia, Foucault in Society Must Be Defended. It is enough to take a closer look at the recent wars in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and various African states to realize not only how strongly war and peace are interwoven, but also how long the post-war transition could endure.
The Northern Adriatic region, which is dealt with in our research project EIRENE, faced extremely violent periods following the armistice in the 20th century. The question of defining state borders between Austria and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the presence of the Italian military administration on the territory of the former Austrian Littoral, D’Annunzio’s venture in Fiume/Rijeka, an echo of the Hungarian revolution in Prekmurje, created favourable conditions for violent conflicts in the first three years after World War I. The struggle for the border also turned out to be a commonplace cause of violent confrontations between the supporters of Italy and Yugoslavia after 1945, particularly in the territory governed by the Anglo-American authorities until 1954. Behind many conflicts, in which women took a part as well and not exclusively as victims, violence functioned as a tool for obtaining ideological and ethnic primacy. Similarly, wars in the territory of former Yugoslavia in the 1990s were marked by brutal ethnic conflicts as well. Precisely the research and analytical input of women’s studies into the understanding of war trauma experienced by former Yugoslavia’s female population casts new light on the research of violence and women during the war and in subsequent periods.
About the author
Marta Verginella is the principal investigator on the ERC Advanced Grant project EIRENE. She is a professor at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, teaching European History of the 19th Century and Theory of History at the Department of History. She has published numerous monographs and articles on the subject of border studies, memory studies, oral history, and history of 19th century. She conducted pioneering work on social and cultural history of the First and Second World Wars, specifically on the history of women in Slovenia. The second aspect of her work concerns border studies, in particular, the epistemological questions arising from writing history in a multiethnic environment. In this regard, she focuses especially on historical actors which academically relevant historical studies have usually overlooked, particularly women. In her research, she pays special attention to daily migrations of women along the Slovene-Italian border. Her main endeavour has been to bring Slovene historiography into contact with the latest European historiographical developments, especially those from the Romanic world.