Born in nationalist dreams that sparked the First World War and saw its destruction in the civil wars of the 1990s, Yugoslavia embodied the hopes and horrors of the 20th century, and foreshadowed our current time. According to David Brooks, “[Yugoslavia’s] civil war in the 1990s was the most important event of that [decade]” because “[i]t prefigured what has come since: the return of ethnic separatism, the rise of authoritarian populism, the retreat of liberal democracy, the elevation of a warrior ethos that reduces politics to friend/enemy, zero-sum conflicts.” This trip will explore the origin and consequences of the forces Brooks highlights, forces made all the more complicated by the different narratives the region’s ethnic and religious groups possess of Yugoslavia’s complex past.
Traveling in conjunction with St. Mark’s school, students will come to appreciate the forces that molded this past, and how that past shapes the identity and policies of those now living in the region. They will examine Yugoslavia’s history in Croatia (places such as, but not limited to: Zagreb, the Jasenovac concentration camp, Vukovar, and the Dalmatian Coast, including Korcula Island and Dubrovnik), Bosnia (places such as, but not limited to: Sarajevo, Srebrenica, and Mostar), and Serbia (places such as, but not limited to: Belgrade) by visiting museums, touring sites of memory, and meeting with many experts, participants, and witnesses to the war of the 1990’s. Along the way, students will also enjoy the region’s natural beauty and ancient cities.
This program is open to all current 9th, 10th and 11th grade students with a preference towards students who have a demonstrated interest in history. All interested students are encouraged to apply by October 29. Financial aid is available for all trips with priority for students who have not previously received aid for a Deerfield trip.