Dr Ljubica Spaskovska

Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History (CMSCH) Fellow

Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History (CMSCH) Fellow, March - May 2019

Home Institution: University of Exeter

Project: When the Old Communists Were Young: The Yugoslav Interwar Communist Movement in a Transnational Perspective

My research at IASH addresses the largely overlooked role of youth and student activism within the emergent “international society” of the interwar period. Broadly, it seeks to trace  the formation of an international leftist generation in interwar Yugoslavia - the children of empire - as part of the wider progressive networks that mobilised around antifascism, anti-imperialism, pacifism, and communism. Part of a larger project that would lead to a monograph, it aims to shed light on this forgotten internationalism and dissect a commitment to a progressive world which formed and matured well in advance of other future communist states. 

My research posits the interwar period as crucial in understanding post-1945 ‘Third World’ anti-imperial nationalism and the different international/non-Soviet variants of socialism – African, Asian and Yugoslav. It addresses the encounters and formative experiences of a number of prominent Yugoslav actors in the context of the social and political realities and imaginaries of interwar communism and antifascism – between Belgrade, Geneva, Paris, New York and Barcelona – and how these profoundly shaped their worldviews and determined future solidarities and alliances, equating antifascism and anti-imperialism.