Senad Halilbašić (Universität Wien)
Fellow in Research Area 2: "Travelling Matters"
February – September 2021
Project "Transnational Representations of War and Migration in Theatre and Literature"
The postdoctoral project Performing Victimhood explores contemporary victimhood narratives and their political function as founding myths of nation-states by exploring their treatment specifically within theatre and performance. One particular focus are victimhood narratives of the South Slavic region. The political function of such founding myths in the construction of collective identities has been a research focus of South Eastern European Studies for quite some time already. The instrumentalisation of victimhood narratives in the process of South Slavic nation-state formations, also in the context of Yugoslavia’s breakup and the Yugoslav Wars, has been explored, but less attention has been given to victimhood narratives and performances in the South Slavic regions today and their current contexts. The project’s aim is to explore the discursive role of theatre and performance in the South Slavic region in forming or questioning current victimhood narratives. Furthermore, the research will grow into a comparative study, examining current victimhood narratives of other regions and cultures and their reflections in the performative arts.
Senad Halilbašić, born in 1988 in Tuzla (Bosnia and Herzegovina), is an Austrian theatre scholar and screenwriter. He is currently working as a postdoctoral assistant at the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Vienna. In March 2019 he obtained his PhD for his dissertation on Wartime Theatre in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992 – 1995 at the Department for Theatre, Film and Media Studies at the University of Vienna. The thesis was the first study on theatre activities during the war in Bosnia. Halilbašić recently co-edited the volume “Theatre in the Context of the Yugoslav Wars” (together with Stefan Hulfeld and Jana Dolečki; Palgrave Macmillan), which is the first comparative book dealing with theatre activities in the entire former Yugoslavia in the years of the country’s breakup from 1991-1999. Between 2014 and 2018, he was a student assistant at the Department for Theatre Studies (Vienna). In 2016 he received the Marietta Blau Scholarship from the Austrian Exchange Service OeAd, which allowed him to spend a year in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. Halilbašić also writes screenplays. His most recent film credits include the thriller 7500 by Patrick Vollrath, which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. Before that, Halilbašić co-wrote various documentaries as well as the short film Everything will be okay, which was nominated for an Academy Award (Oscar®). He has been working as a postdoctoral assistant at the Department of Slavonic Studies since April 2019. In February 2020 he was awarded the prestigious New Scholar Prize of the Südosteuropa Gesellschaft (South East European Society, Munich) for his PhD thesis. In October 2020 he was the recipient of the Max Herrmann Dissertation Award (Society of Theatre Historiography, Berlin) and will be awarded the Josef Krainer Award (Steirisches Gedenkwerk, Graz) in 2021.