Remembering Activism: The Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe


16 February 2023
13:30 - 15:00
Drift 21, 0.05 (Sweelinckzaal)

The Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies invites you to a talk by Prof. Dr. Željana Tunić

Protest Movement “Justice for David” in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Between Private Forensic Investigation, Public Mourning and Political Activism 

The death of one student under unclear circumstances in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka gained public resonance after the father of the deceased privately initiated a forensic investigation showing the lack of the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The public assembly of family and friends, combined with the mourning rituals, transformed over a few weeks into mass protests that soon became an international symbol of the struggle against political and social injustice in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s post-war society. The lecture examines “the transformation of mourning into […] a political message” (Weigel 2019, 25) and aims to open up a discussion about its emancipative potential. It argues that publicly articulated grief can easily get a “form of political performativity” and become a demand for “livable life,” questioning political order whose conditions enable violent dying (Butler 2015, 73).

Prof. Dr. Željana Tunić is professor of Slavic Cultural Studies at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg.


For more information contact Willemijn Ruberg (

All interested are welcome. No registration necessary.