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Title:The new “old country” the kingdom of Yugoslavia and the creation of a Yugoslav diaspora 1914-1951
Author(s):Larson, Ethan
Director of Research:Todorova, Maria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Todorova, Maria
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Fritzsche, Peter; Koenker, Diane; Brunnbauer, Ulf
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
United States
Louis Adamic
Serbian Americans
Croatian Americans, Slovene Americans
Abstract:This dissertation reviews the Kingdom of Yugoslavia’s attempt to instill “Yugoslav” national consciousness in its overseas population of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, as well as resistance to that same project, collectively referred to as a “Yugoslav diaspora.” Diaspora is treated as constructed phenomenon based on a transnational network between individuals and organizations, both emigrant and otherwise. In examining Yugoslav overseas nation-building, this dissertation is interested in the mechanics of diasporic networks—what catalyzes their formation, what are the roles of international organizations, and how are they influenced by the political context in the host country. The life of Louis Adamic, who was a central figure within this emerging network, provides a framework for this monograph, which begins with his arrival in the United States in 1914 and ends with his death in 1951. Each chapter spans roughly five to ten years. Chapter One (1914-1924) deals with the initial encounter between Yugoslav diplomats and emigrants. Chapter Two (1924-1929) covers the beginnings of Yugoslav overseas nation-building. Chapter Three (1929-1934) covers Yugoslavia’s shift into a royal dictatorship and the corresponding effect on its emigration policy. Chapter Four (1929-1939) deals exclusively with political parties from Yugoslavia that aspired to organize overseas Yugoslav subjects. Chapter Five (1934-1941) deals with Yugoslav overseas nation building and cultural outreach after King Alexander’s death. Chapter Six (1941-1945) covers the formation of a Yugoslav diaspora organization, the United Committee of South Slavic Americans, during the Second World War. Lastly, Chapter Seven (1945-1951) covers the disintegration of the Yugoslav diaspora in Cold War Era America. This dissertation draws five major conclusions. First, there was, for a period in history, a “Yugoslav” diaspora rather than just a Serb, Croat, and Slovene diaspora. Secondly, this diaspora emerged due to factors specific to interwar America: closed border policies, America’s reputation as a “melting pot,” and the cultural pluralist movement, all of which had a centripetal effect on Serb, Croat, and Slovene organizations and gave them a reason to cooperate. Third, the Yugoslav nationalism espoused by these organizations was distinct from Yugoslavism in Yugoslavia, exhibiting syncretism with the nationalism of the host country, the United States. Fourth, old-country tourism—and travelers more broadly—are crucial to the formation of diasporic networks, (re)awakening national consciousness and giving the traveler symbolic capital within emigrant organizations. And fifth, the strength of diasporic networks lies not in their ability to shape “old country” politics, but in their ability to resist “old country” control.
Issue Date:2020-05-06
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Ethan Larson
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05

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