Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft

Branko Rankovic: Danube narratives in Vojvodina after 1945

First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Johler
Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Kimmich

The thesis, conceived as a part of the international project, „Reading the Danube: Trans-national narratives in the 20th and 21st centuries“, explores the identity-forming processes appropriating the Danube river in the autonomous province of Vojvodina (Serbia), the former borderland between the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires and a region known for its ethnically diverse population structure, representative due to the unique presence of the contesting narratives of the river’s continuity and its perceived unifying trait, and the borderline role that it has repeatedly assumed in both cultural and religious contexts, articulated in the well-known and often employed metaphor of the „Gibraltar on the Danube“ most notably attributed to the Petrovaradin fortress in Novi Sad, the capital of the province. Based on this information, the initial assumption is that the example of Vojvodina can provide a clear illustration of the changing perspective on the river through decades. The starting point of the research is the analysis of the works of literature, film, and photography coming from or relating to the area, in search of the narratives corresponding to the framework of „imagined geography“, a notion introduced by Edvard Said, which refers to a conception of a domain that transcends the geographical area it is based on through attributing additional meanings to it. The research aims to explore the emergence, the growth, and the decline of identity-forming narratives related to the Danube river in Vojvodina, in the period from 1945 to the present day in different media, to interpret their internal logic, as well as to cross-reference the results with the trans-cultural perspective provided through the other case studies within the same project.

Born in 1992 in Šabac, Serbia. Studied Serbian literature and language at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad. Since 2020 a research associate at The Institute of Danube Swabian History and Regional Studies (IdGL) and a Ph.D. student of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen.