Other Modernism : underpinning the case of the history museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Selma Harrington

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The thesis advances the understanding of the changing role of modern European history museums marked by engagement and outreach as modes of addressing contemporary and conflicting issues of public history. It contributes to the growing body of knowledge on the institutional uses of heritage, highlighting the case of unique and under-represented 20th-century architecture and public museum(s) of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inspired by the communicative action concept, the research introduces a blended heritage discourse as a method to investigate the institutional role and architecture of the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, formerly known as the Museum of Revolution in Sarajevo. The transformations of the History Museum are observed through attitudes to architectural heritage and regional identity-shaping narratives, considering it as a case of embodied social energy at risk. The systematic analysis of previously inaccessible archival records on conception, construction and proposed interventions to the building, charts the field for further research, policy and practice of sustainable renovations. The research captures the key historic periods of modernisation of the urban environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, focusing on the continuity of the contextual regionalism in the work of architects sensitive to the local vernacular and the sense of place, as a unique quality within the original architectural modernism in Central Europe. Thus, it supplements the revisions of modernist discourse in the English speaking academia, with an exhaustive inclusion of the sources written in Bosnian (Croatian, Serbian) languages. The research shows that the Museum in Sarajevo has an original contribution to museology and that it demonstrates remarkable adaptability and resilience, faced with societal differentiation and fragmentation. Among other, this is manifested by strategic deployment of the Museum's status as architectural heritage, which acts as a pivotal place of resistance to the adverse impacts of systemic and governance changes, where the fragmented social narratives might be constructively reassembled.
Date of Award29 Jun 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorBranka Dimitrijevic (Supervisor) & Ashraf Salama (Supervisor)

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