Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Borders in Arms. Political Violence in the northern Adriatic, 1914-1941.

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.01.00  Humanities  Historiography   

Code Science Field
H250  Humanities  Contemporary history (since 1914) 

Code Science Field
6.01  Humanities  History and Archaeology 
Italo-Slovene borderland, History of the 20th Century, political violence
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (17)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22467  PhD Gorazd Bajc  Historiography  Researcher  2018  383 
2.  27531  PhD Urška Bratož  Historiography  Researcher  2016 - 2018  93 
3.  31851  PhD Ana Cergol Paradiž  Historiography  Researcher  2016 - 2018  207 
4.  27937  PhD Dragica Čeč  Historiography  Researcher  2016 - 2018  187 
5.  10756  Peter Čerče  Archaeology  Technical associate  2016 - 2018  48 
6.  33310  PhD Tilen Glavina  Historiography  Researcher  2016 - 2018  39 
7.  35489  PhD Manca Grgić Renko  Historiography  Technical associate  2016 - 2018  167 
8.  24376  PhD Borut Klabjan  Historiography  Head  2016 - 2018  357 
9.  33311  PhD Miha Kosmač  Humanities  Researcher  2016  62 
10.  27912  PhD Blaž Lenarčič  Sociology  Researcher  2017 - 2018  187 
11.  12648  PhD Egon Pelikan  Historiography  Researcher  2016 - 2018  267 
12.  17051  PhD Jože Pirjevec  Historiography  Researcher  2016 - 2018  800 
13.  30859  PhD Jure Ramšak  Historiography  Researcher  2016 - 2018  131 
14.  15635  PhD Mateja Režek  Historiography  Researcher  2016 - 2018  184 
15.  15876  Vida Rožac Darovec  Historiography  Researcher  2016 - 2018  145 
16.  18581  PhD Mateja Sedmak  Sociology  Researcher  2017 - 2018  536 
17.  13806  PhD Marta Verginella  Humanities  Researcher  2016 - 2018  923 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  97,887 
2.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,850 
This project analyzes forms of political violence by examining its relationship to identity and ideology from a historical perspective in the region of the northern Adriatic that today is shared by Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The time frame spans from the beginning of World War I in July 1914 to April 1941, when the Italian army invaded neighboring Yugoslavia in World War II. The Great War and the disappearance of the Habsburg Empire turned the northern Adriatic in a “shatter zone” (Bartov, Weitz), where the ambiguity of the situation created a space without clear and defined state authority. The Austrian Littoral has been replaced by the Italian Venezia Giulia, however this sortie de guerre (Prost) has not been linear. The transition lasted several years and has been characterized by extreme political instability, economic insecurity, military and cultural demobilization of heart and minds (Horne) and it became a laboratory for new forms of military and paramilitary violence (fascist squads). This occurred in the vacuum left by the collapse of the Habsburg Empire, however at the same time violence served as an adjunct to the new State power and its legitimization. Thus, waves of State violence occurred in different forms in the 1920’s and 1930’s and gave rise to forms of counter-violence based on terrorist activity throughout the period under scrutiny. The question of how different societies managed to interact despite volatile and hostile political conditions is of enormous importance to the history of the northern Adriatic region and of Europe in general. Many important works have contributed to intense historical analysis of this area however, a transnational perspective has only rarely been adopted. Thus we are planning to use interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to study the region as a whole irrespective of its today’s political and administrative division. We believe that is the only way to transcend exclusivist (national) interpretations of the history of the region. In order to re-think and re-frame the history of violence in the region we will use published and unpublished material. Moreover, the methodology of top-down and bottom-up perspectives will be used, both in analyzing archival documents of State authorities (national archives in Rome, Zagreb, Ljubljana, and local archives in Koper, Trieste, Gorica and Nova Gorica, Rijeka and Pazin) and in analyzing documents produced by non-state actors (biographies of veterans, members of Fascist militia, Slovene terrorist groups – TIGR, etc.). Through an examination of primary source documents, and an investigation into the theories of violence we will address the following aspects: 1. Forms of demobilization in the northern Adriatic after World War I; 2. Forms of military, paramilitary and police violence; 3. Public violence and its state and non-state actors; 4. Rhetoric of violence (popular images, narratives etc.). 5. Gender and violence The research team is composed of senior researchers, experienced researchers (4-10 years after PhD.), and of six young scholars. The research team is inter-disciplinarily oriented and inter-institutional. The dissemination strategy includes measures that will incorporate results of the project into relevant research debates in the form of a book, articles in Slovene and international peer-reviewed journals, visiting lectures and conferences. For the dissemination of project results in the non-academic community we plan to produce radio features and the results will also be of use in the educational process at the University of Primorska.
Significance for science
Research that would treat violence in the manner of the proposed project has not yet been conducted in Slovenia, or internationally. The expected results will not only fill gaps in historiography but will set the foundations on which subsequent research engaging with various forms of violence in the 20th century will have to be based. Although the topic is on the one hand distinctly local, the specifics of the border area make its significance international. Both the violence of the First World War as well as Fascist violence, to which the border area was subject to since the beginning of the twenties, will be dealt with, while the research will also illuminate to what extent the “the interwar years” on the territory dealt with (as well as generally) can at all be called a period of peace. With the aid of researching violence, we will also analyse, re-question and re-interpret the meaning of the term ‘peace’. In this way, the research will cast doubt on some convictions held to be self-evident by historiography for decades. The research will also be important from the methodological viewpoint, as it is conceived from an interdisciplinary and transnational perspective and will focus on the empirical (archival and other sources) and theoretical (ideological and conceptual) study of violence. Attention will be given to local, regional, national, and global aspects of social life. The project will deliver new insights important for the academic community, as well as for broader understanding of the past. Project team will create a platform for the exchange of Slovene historiography’s findings with those originating in more developed academic environments. The attainment of this goal is ensured by the following activities and short-term plans of the project team members: teaching at Slovene universities, membership in international scientific associations (e.g. Euroclio), visiting fellowship at the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Foundation and at the European University Institute, and cooperation with foreign publishers.
Significance for the country
Results of the research will be available to all public institutions and to education in the field of history and intercultural communication. They will ensure modern knowledge and the most recent material for the study of history. The findings of the project will be included in the pedagogical process of undergraduate and postgraduate studies of history in Slovenia. Project associates namely carry out pedagogical work at the Department of History at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Primorska. Particular methodological novelties as well as content will be integrated into university studies at all three levels. The results of the research will therefore contribute to the reduction of shortcomings of Slovenian universities at the level of quality and competitiveness in international and European benchmarking, which is also emphasised by the National Research and Developmental Programme (NRDP, 1.2.2). Scientific analysis of violence and its mechanisms will shine new light on certain aspects of everyday violence still felt today by everyone, in particular by those living in a nationally mixed territory where several cultures intermingle. The project will open up perspectives on political and non-political violence and draw attention to the levers that led from one war to the other, as well as to different ways of treating violence. All of this is also important for modern Europe, where in times of crisis nationalism is on the rise and where the presence of militant groups, that under the pretext of protecting their own nation perpetrate violence on others (Greece, Ukraine, Russia…), is increasing. Understanding the violence of the past will thus aid in raising awareness on the danger that it, in similar circumstances and with similar levers , can establish itself in the present as well.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
Views history