One advantage of having a blog is that you can use it to brag about your students. Today I want to brag about a PhD student I’ve been working with for the past four years, Orli Fridman, who successfully defended her dissertation today. From now on we have to call her Dr. Fridman. Of course it also means she can’t go to college any more and so has to go get a job.
Orli’s dissertation, ” Alternative Voices: Serbia’s Anti-war Activists, 1991- 2004,” offers a nuanced investigation of the anti-war and anti-Milosevic political activism in Serbia during the years after the collapse of Yugoslavia. The greatest strength of this work is that it offers us a much clearer understanding of the opposition to the dominant political discourses in Serbian politics told from within the opposition community. To date, any study that you care to read about post-1989 Serbian politics describes the opposition from outside. Orli gathered more than 60 formal interviews with anti-war and/or anti-Milosevic activists (not always the same thing) while living in Belgrade. The dissertation allows these activists to speak with their own voices, rather than through theor opponents or through the eyes of outside observers. With some polishing, I’m certain this dissertation will become an important book.