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The Global and the IntimateFeminism in Our Time$
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Victoria Rosner and Geraldine Pratt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231154499

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231154499.001.0001

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Narratives and Rights

Narratives and Rights

Zlata’s Diary and the Circulation of Stories of Suffering Ethnicity

(p.168) 7 Narratives and Rights
The Global and the Intimate

Sidonie Smith

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the global workings of a sentimental politics that beckons the reader through assumptions of universal parenthood. Focusing on a young Bosnian-Croat girl's diary in Europe and the United States, it highlights some of the contradictory effects of the commodification of narratives of suffering ethnicity through human rights activism that attaches abstract universality to ethnic difference under assault. By reading Zlata Filipović's Zlata's Diary within the context of the ethnic violence in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the chapter reveals what we might learn about the mobilization of personal stories of ethnic suffering in a globalized human rights regime that serves as one of the central “managers” of ethnicity today. It shows how “Zlata” becomes a marketable archetype of the suffering victim of ethnic nationalism in extremis and how interethnic the appeal to ethnicity under assault becomes.

Keywords:   sentimental politics, commodification, ethnicity, human rights, universality, Zlata Filipović, Zlata's Diary, ethnic violence, former Yugoslavia, ethnic suffering

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