Foreign policy and physical sites of memory: competing foreign policies at the Jasenovac memorial site

  • Jelena SuboticEmail author
Original Article


This article contributes to the growing scholarship on the relationship between political memory and foreign policy by analyzing how physical sites of traumatic memory serve as locations of foreign policy construction. Specifically, I explore how physical sites (such as concentration camps, killing sites, or memorials) serve to construct foreign policy through the enduring meaning they have as material reminders of collective trauma. I illustrate the argument with a case study of Jasenovac, the commemorative site of the largest concentration camp administered by the Independent State of Croatia during World War II. The Jasenovac site is a particularly useful case for my argument because it is a site of contested memory and conflicting national narratives. Most significantly, it is the site of production of three distinct foreign policies—of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia’s Republika Srpska—which all use the Jasenovac site to pursue very different and mutually exclusive foreign policy claims.


Memory Foreign policy Collective trauma Jasenovac Serbia Croatia Republika Srpska 



I would like to thank  Lina Klymenko and Marco Siddi for inviting me to participate in this project, as well as journal editors and two anonymous reviewers for very helpful feedback on earlier version of this article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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