SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Špela Drnovšek Zorko

BA (University College Utrecht), MA (Goldsmiths)
  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research


Spela Drnovsek Zorko
Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Ms Špela Drnovšek Zorko
Email address:
Thesis title:
“Although it no longer exists”: migration and intergenerational knowledge after Yugoslavia
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Špela is a PhD candidate at the department of Anthropology and Sociology and a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher in the Initial Training Network ‘Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging’ (CoHaB) at the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies. She holds a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from University College Utrecht and an MA in Anthropology and Cultural Politics from Goldsmiths, and has previously worked as a translator.    

PhD Research

Based on fieldwork conducted primarily in London, my PhD thesis considers the question of intergenerational emplacement after Yugoslavia. It asks how migrants from former Yugoslavia in Britain inhabit places and social relations, and explores the conceptual terrain my interlocutors traverse in constituting knowledge about the past and about ‘origin’. Drawing on analytical concepts including memory, home, and normality, I suggest that such knowledge has the aim of establishing an intergenerational coevalness at the intersection of diaspora and postsocialism. The thesis further examines how encounters with fellow former Yugoslavs become reconfigured in Britain, and re-frames the central question of generation, knowledge, and story as a practice of living in a ‘multicultural’ society. While doing so, it interrogates the assumptions about race and cultural suitability that underpin past and present projects of living together. Throughout, I demonstrate the many ways in which ‘Yugoslavia’ remains a presence in the stories of migrants, although it might appear as irrelevant history.


  • 2016. “See(m)ing strange: methodologies of memory and home”. Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture 7:1, pp. 81-95.
  • 2014. “Diasporic memory and narratives of spatiotemporality”. Symbolism: An International Annual of Critical Aesthetics 14 (Special Issue on Diaspora), pp. 43-58.


  • “Don't think that everything is for certain”: encountering post-Yugoslav pasts in a British future, ASA2016 Footprints and futures: the time of anthropology, University of Durham, July 2016
  • “Same place, same thing?” ‘Throwntogetherness’ in the diasporic narratives of post-Yugoslav others,” SOYUZ Symposium 2016: “Politics of Difference: Migration, Nation, Postsocialist Left and Right,” University of Chicago, March 2016
  • “Being there: two stories of memory, generation, and experience.” Diaspora: A one-day conference on a travelling concept, Stockholm University, September 2015
  • “Positions of foreignness in migrant narratives: speaking back to/as Britishness?” Anthropology in London Day, SOAS/UCL, June 2015
  • “Mobile memory, mobile space: methodologies of narrative and movement,” Memory on the Move workshop (COST “In Search of Transcultural Memory in Europe” conference), Central European University, September 2014
  • “Researching memory and temporality at a point of diasporic post-socialism,” SSEES Postgraduate Conference, UCL, February 2014
  • “The reluctant insider? Studying the politics of belonging among former Yugoslavs in the United Kingdom,” CEELBAS research student workshop: Practical and ethical dilemmas facing researchers from Central and Eastern Europe based at UK universities and studying Central and Eastern Europe, University of Bath, July 2013
  • “The interpretation of family stories in the British-Yugoslav diaspora(s)”, Life Narratives: Memory, Citizenship, Gender Seminar, University of Utrecht, January 2013


  • Marie Curie Initial Training Network "Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging" (CoHaB) (2012-2015)
  • COST Action In Search of Transcultural Memory in Europe (ISTME)
  • European Association of Social Anthropologists
  • Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies


  • Senior Teaching Fellow


  • Migration
  • Intergenerational knowledge
  • (Post)socialism
  • Former Yugoslavia
  • Britain
  • Race and gender