The Cold War in Translation: Milovan Djilas in the English-speaking World

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

During the Cold War, the U.S. government supported the translation of dissident writers from the Soviet bloc, whose writings could not be published in their own countries. One of the earliest examples was Milovan Djilas, a senior Yugoslav official who became disaffected with the dictatorship established by Josip Broz Tito and published books about the pathologies of Soviet-style Communism. The distribution of his works in English translation helped the West in its political campaigns against Communism during the Cold War.

Ellen Elias-Bursać is a translator, teacher, and independent scholar. From 1972 to 1990 she lived in Zagreb, where she worked as a translator and coordinated American study-abroad programs for Macalester College and the ACM-GLCA consortia at the Zagreb University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. She has worked as a language preceptor for Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian at the Harvard University Slavic Department, in addition to intermediate language instruction at the Critical Languages Institute at ASU. She has taught courses on the practice and theory of translation at Tufts University, as well as language classes for children and adults at the New England Friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In spring 2018, she taught two translation-studies courses at the Filozofski fakultet, Zagreb University on a teaching Fulbright. In spring 2019, she was translator-in-residence at the University of Iowa's MFA in literary translation. For six years, between 1998 and 2010, she worked as a reviser in the English Translation Unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. She served as President of the American Literary Translators Association and contributing editor at Asymptote.


Ellen Elias-Bursać, Independent Scholar and Translator
Commentator: Nadia Boyadjieva, Visiting Scholar, Davis Center; Professor of International Law and International Relations, Institute for Balkan Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Moderator: Mark Kramer, Program Director, Cold War Studies Program, Davis Center

Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

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