Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM1390 (AF:459883 AR:251330)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The course is foreseen for students at the 1st year of the MA Degree Programmes “Comparative International Relations” (curriculum "Eastern Europe"; type of educational activity: core educational activity) and “European, American and Postcolonial Language and Literature” (curriculum "literature and culture" - Slavic and Balkan Studies; type of educational activity: core educational activity). The historical nature of the course contributes to the multidisciplinary goals of the two MA Degree Programmes. Furthermore, its geographical focus on Eastern Europe constributes to the teaching programmes specifically conceived for MA students interested in deepening their knowledge about that area.
The course deals with the issue of necropolitics in Eastern Europe, with particular attention to the exhumations from mass graves. The expected learning results are the following:

- to familiarize with and to be able to understand some relevant cases of exhumations from mass graves, which took place in Eastern Europe during the 20th century
- to be able to apply this knowledge to a critical understanding of the present time in terms of continuities/changes and public use of history
- to become acquainted with the most recent historiographical debate around notions like "necropolitics", "politics of remembrance", and "instrumentalization of history"
- to refine your communication skills, both oral and written
A basic knowledge of modern and contemporary history (at least the whole high school history programm; furthermore, at least 6 ECTS in the political, social or historical field, acquired in the framework of the first degree), with a particular attention to Eastern Europe.
The course will analise some of the main features of necropolitics in contemporary Estearn Europe. The sub-topics are the following:

- symbolic and political implications of exhumations
- case studies of exhumation in Russia, former Yugoslavia, Greece, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, Romania
- comparison in a global perspective (Latin America, Spain)
1. Katherine Verdery, The Political Lives of Dead Bodies: Reburial and Postsocialist Change, Columbia U.P. 1999 (alcuni capitoli).
2. Irina Paperno, Exhuming the bodies of Soviet Terror, in “Representations”, vol. 75 (2001), n. 1, pp. 89-118.
3. Robert M. Hayden, Recounting the Dead. The Rediscovery and Redefinition of Wartime Massacres in Late- and Post-Communist Yugoslavia, in Rubei S. Watson (ed.), Memory, History and Opposition under State Socialism, School of American Research Press, Santa Fe (New Mexico) 1994, pp. 167-201.
4. Pamela Ballinger, Exhumed histories: Trieste and the politics of (exclusive) victimhood, in “Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans”, 6:2 (2004), 145-159.
5. Nanci Adler, The future of the Soviet past remains unpredictable: the resurrection of Stalinist symbols amidst the exhumation of mass graves, in “Europe-Asia Studies”, 57 (2005), n. 8, pp. 1093-1119.
6. Luis Fondebrider, Forensic anthropology and the investigation of Political violence: lessons learned from Latin America and the Balkans, in: Francisco Ferrándiz, Antonius C. G. M. Robben (eds), Necropolitics. Mass Graves and Exhumations in the Age of Human Rights, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 2015, pp. 41-51.
7. Sara E. Wagner, The Quandaries of Partial and commingled Remains: Srebrenica’s missing and Korean War casualties compared, in ivi, pp. 119-139.
8. Katerina Stefatos and Iosif Kovras Buried silences of the greek civil War, ivi, pp. 161-
9. Marije Hristova and Monika Żychlińska, Mass grave exhumations as patriotic retreat: sacralisation and militarisation in the remembrance of the ‘cursed soldiers’, in “Human Remains and Violence”, vol. 6, n. 2 (2020), pp. 42–60.
10. Galia Valtchinova, “A monument to not exhume: Silence, speech, and issues surrounding the mass grave of communist fighters at the Battle of Florina (1949), Northern Greece”, Death Studies, published on line 13.10.2022
11. Viacheslav Bitiutckii, State secrets and concealed bodies: exhumations in Soviet-era victims in contemporary Russia, in Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus (eds), Human Remains and Identification. Mass violence, genocide, and the ‘forensic turn’, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2017, pp. 98-116.
12. Antonella Salomoni, Le ceneri di Babij Jar. L’eccidio degli ebrei di Kiev, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2019 (alcune pagine).
13. Victor Zaslavsky, Pulizia di classe. Il massacro di Katyn, Bologna, il Mulino, 2011 (alcune pagine).
14. Mihai Stelian Rusu, Staging Death: Christofascist Necropolitics during the National Legionary State in Romania, 1940–1941, Nationalities Papers / Volume 49 / Issue 3 / May 2021, Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 October 2020, pp. 576-589.
15. Sara Garibova, To Protect and Preserve: Echoes of Traditional Jewish Burial Culture in the Exhumation of Holocaust Mass Graves in Postwar Belarus and Ukraine, AJS (Association for Jewish Studies) Review , Volume 44 , Issue 1 , April 2020 , pp. 75 – 98.
16. James Mark, What Remains? Anti-Communism, Forensic Archaeology, and the Retelling of the National Past in Lithuania and Romania, Past & Present, Volume 206, Issue Supplement 5, 2010, pages 276–300, https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtq021
For those who attend classes:

1. Group presentations (about 20 minutes) on a text in the syllabus.
The aim is to evaluate the oral communication skills, as well as the ability to work synergically with other students (10% of the final grade);

2. Written test (90% of the final grade)
The examination has three main goals:
1) to verifying the knowledge of the main historical facts and processes, as well as the most relevant personalities, with relation to the treated topics
2) to verify the analytical skills and the ability of the student to formulate critical reflections about the historiographical issues emerged during the lessons
3) to verify the knowledge of some elements of historical comparison in the framework of the East-Central and South-East European space.
The written examination (duration: 1½ hours) also aims at verifying the written communicative skills of the student.
Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the test could take place on-line, through the Moodle platform. Please, check the communications about this regard on the Moodle-section dedicated to this course.

For those who do not attend classes:
only the written examination (see above, point 2).
The course includes introductions by the teacher, short oral presentations by the students. The latter are then commented by the teacher, interacting with the participants
The teacher is easily available for questions concerning the course at his office hours and by email at stefano.petrungaro@unive.it. Emails have to be written in a formal style (not "Hi prof." or "Salve prof.", but "Good morning", "Buongiorno", and the likes) and should not ask questions whose answer can be found in the information contained in this syllabus. The teacher is also available for discussing final thesis' projects.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "International cooperation" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 04/05/2023