Praxis and Korčula Summer School Collection
The Praxis and Korčula Summer School Collection includes significant books and articles by the Praxis thinkers and a complete set of all editions of the journal Praxis. It represents a first-class cultural legacy because it is the most comprehensive collection of the phenomenon, widely recognised not only in (the former) Yugoslavia but also internationally. During the socialist period, philosophers and sociologists of a predominantly Marxist orientation actively participated in the promotion of the culture of critical thought by writing for the journal, and by attending the summer school.
Zagreb Ulica Ivana Lučića 3, Croatia 10000
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Name of collection
Praxis Journal and the Korčula Summer School Archival Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
The group of philosophers and sociologists from Zagreb who first launched the Korčula Summer School and shortly thereafter the journal Praxis advocated a neo-Marxist approach to philosophy and social sciences known as the Praxis philosophy or Praxis orientation. The journal Praxis and the Korčula Summer School were a "testing ground" for regular dialogue with thinkers from Yugoslavia and abroad on the one hand, and prompt critical contributions to the recognition and solution of Yugoslavia-specific social contradictions on the other. The Praxis thinkers had developed the foundations of their orientation through their scholarly – philosophical or sociological – research and through creative dialogue with both contemporary philosophy (i.e. insights and critical observations into social contradictions) and the philosophical heritage (i.e. the living philosophical legacy). The critical orientation of the Praxis thinkers on social actuality left a lasting mark on the second half of the twentieth century and retained relevance for any future philosophical confrontation with social reality. Their views were popular among many philosophers and sociologists and among the intellectual public in general, which was unusual for such an often hermetic intellectual area. This is why they often came into conflict with the state and Party authorities.
Taking into account the significance of the work of the Praxis thinkers, their intellectual legacy, and the concrete social circumstances at the time of Yugoslavia’s break-up in the late 1980s, Ante Lešaja took the initiative in creating an archive focused on the Praxis orientation, the journal Praxis and the Korčula Summer School. The turbulent social circumstances after 1990 made it extremely difficult to put together this archival collection, as it became practically impossible for him to assemble everything in one place, which would have otherwise been expected. The leading figures from the Praxis circle promised to help him, but unfortunately, some of them died soon afterward (Gajo Petrović, Rudi Supek, Branko Bošnjak and Predrag Vranicki). The late Milan Kangrga, Ivo Kuvačić, Božidar Jakšić, the late Mladen Čaldarović, Vladimir Primorac and also their spouses, Asja Petrović and the late Eva Grlić, as well as numerous others, helped him in his work. At first, he concluded the collection with the year 2010. However, he enclosed a block of contributions from 2011 to 2013, which appeared with the memorial gathering for Praxis and the Korčula Summer School in Korčula between 13 and 15 October 2011 , organised by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS) from Berlin and its office in Belgrade.
For a long time, Lešaja could not decide where to deposit the collection. Following a proposal by philosophy professor Lino Veljak, he decided to create two identical collection sets and store them at two locations. One is stored in Zagreb in the care of the Croatian Philosophical Association – in the General Library of the Reference Centre for Bioethics in South-eastern Europe, based at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in Zagreb, and the other one in the Korčula Town Library as part of its Regional Collection (without books). Lešaja also published a catalogue of the collection in the form of the book, published by the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation (Lešaja 2014).
The collection has been operated by the Croatian Philosophical Society since 2014. Tomislav Krznar is the person who deals with the collection as a stakeholder (Salvaro 2015). Afterward, a website (www.praxis-arhiva.net) with digitised materials was created to make the collection available to all researchers. The digitalisation was initiated by two different parties. Ante Lešaja and Nikola Mokrović decided to digitise the collection within the activities of the Human Rights Archive operated by the Documenta Centre for Dealing with the Past. At the same time, unrelated to the initiative by Lešaja and Mokrović, Tomislav Medak began to digitise all Praxis editions independently. Medak's activity was a part of the project of digitisation of works in Marxology conducted since 2012. He was scanning books at the Cultural Centre MAMA (Multimedia Institute) in Zagreb as a result of a series of left-wing initiatives after the student blockade of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. After two years of coordinated and enthusiastic work by Nikola Mokrović and Tomislav Medak on digitisation, the digital archive of the collection is now available for the public at the Public Library website (www.memoryoftheworld.org).
Description of content
The Praxis Journal and Korčula Summer School Collection contains all issues of Praxis. It includes all 59 issues in the Croatian and Serbian language, 38 international issues in foreign languages, the so-called Praxis pocket edition (8 volumes) and two books of proceedings in 62 volumes. The second part of the collection includes books written by the Praxis editors (72), books by other Praxis thinkers (57), books about the Praxis intellectuals (12), books on Praxis orientation by Yugoslav authors or in Yugoslav languages (40), books on the Praxis orientation in other languages (36), and the articles on the Praxis orientation in periodicals (510). The collection also contains some of the unpublished documents on the Korčula Summer School (mostly from the Rudi Supek Personal Papers, which is stored in the Croatian State Archives), as well as photographs and film materials (amateur photographs of the Korčula Summer School have been consolidated on a CD) shot by the participants in the School (Lešaja 2014, 78).
The archival collection of Praxis and the Korčula Summer School testifies to the attempt at critical dialogue in Yugoslavia with thinkers from Yugoslavia and abroad on the one hand. On the other, it shows the contribution of Praxis thinkers to the recognition and solution of Yugoslav-specific social contradictions. Another essential component are the thoughts and analyses of the Praxis intellectuals shared in interviews in daily and weekly newspapers, as well as in polemic reactions and reflections. It is precisely for these reasons that the Praxis orientation, the journal Praxis and the Korčula Summer School were so popular among numerous philosophers and sociologists, but also among the intellectual public, which is somewhat unusual for such an often-hermetic intellectual area.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 10-99
- photos: 10-99
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 500-999
- video recordings (including oral history recordings): 0-9
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Important events in the history of the collection
- Event (general): Digitisation of the journal Praxis and the documents of the Korčula Summer School, 2014
- Donation of the Praxis and Korčula Summer School Collection to the Croatian Philosophical Society, 2014
- Publication: Lešaja, Ante. Praksis Orientation, Journal Praxis and The Korčula Summer School [collection], 2014. Book
- completely open to the public
- Lešaja, Ante. 2014. Praksis orijentacija, časopis Praxis i Korčulanska ljetna škola [građa] (Praksis Orientation, Journal Praxis and The Korčula Summer School [collection]). Beograd: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.
Part of network
Author(s) of this page
- Bing, Albert
Cifrić, Ivan; Rade Kalanj, Tijana Trako Poljak (eds.). 2016. 100 godina rođenja Rudija Supeka i 50 godina Odsjeka za sociologiju Filozofskog fakulteta u Zagrebu (100th anniversary of the birth of Rudi Supek and 50th anniversary of the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb). Zagreb: FF press.
Grgec, Goran. 2008. „Pola stoljeća Hrvatskog filozofskog društva kao istraživački izazov“ („Half a century of Croatian Philosophical Society as a research challenge“). Filozofska istraživanja 28, no. 3: 521-537.
Gruenwald, Oscar. 1982. The Yugoslav Search for Man: Marxist Humanism in Contemporary Yugoslavia. South Hadley, MA: J. F. Bergin.
Jakšić, Božidar. 2012. Praxis. Mišljenje kao diverzija (Praxis. Opinion as a diversion). Beograd: Službeni glasnik.
Kodrnja, Jasenka. 2008. "Kritika svega postojećeg u filozofiji Gaje Petrovića" („The Criticism of All that Exists in the Philosophy of Gajo Petrović“). Filozofska istraživanja 111, no. 3: 573-583.
Kukoč, Mislav. 2008. "Suvremena hrvatska filozofija" („Contemporary Croatian Philosophy. An Introductory“). Filozofska istraživanja 111, no. 3: 513-519.
Lešaja, Ante. 2008. "Recepcija časopisa Praxis u Slovačkoj" („The Reception of the Praxis Journal in Slovakia“). Filozofska istraživanja 28, no. 3: 567-571.
Lešaja, Ante. 2014. Praksis orijentacija, časopis Praxis i Korčulanska ljetna škola (građa)/Orientation, Praxis journal and the Korčula Summer School (Collection). Beograd: Rosa Luxembur Stiftung Souteast Europe.
Lough, Joseph W. H. 2015. "Marksistički humanizam: Kritička procjena" („Marxist Humanism: Critical Assessment“). Transition 17, no. 36: 7-23.
Marković, Mihajlo, and Robert S. Cohen. 1975. Yugoslavia: The Rise and Fall of Socialist Humanism: A History of the Praxis Group. Nottingham: Spokesman Books.
Mikulić, Borislav. 2014. Nauk neznanja – retrospekcije o Kangrgi i nasljeđu Praxisa (Doctrine from Ignorance. Retrospections on Kangrga and the Heritage of Praxis Philosophy). Zagreb: Arkzin.
Mrnjaus, Kornelija. 2013. “Interculturality in praxis – social distance towards 'different'.“ Pedagogijska istraživanja 10, no. 2: 309-325.
Olujić Oluja, Dragomir i Krunoslav Stojaković (eds.). 2012. Praxis. Društvena kritika i humanistički socijalizam. Zbornik radova sa Međunarodne konferencije o jugoslavenskoj ljevici: Praxis-ﬁlozoﬁja i Korčulanska ljetna škola (1963-1974). (Praxis. Social Criticism and Humanistic Socialism. Proceedings from the International Conference on the Yugoslav Left: Praxis philosophy and the Korčula Summer School (1963-1974)). Beograd: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.
Petrović, Gajo. 1986. Odabrana djela, vol 3: Marx i marksisti. (Selected works, vol 3: Marx and Marxists). Zagreb: Naprijed.
Popov, Nebojša (ed.). 2003. Razgovor o časopisu Praxis i Korčulanskoj ljetnoj školi, Sloboda i nasilje. (Conversation about Praxis Journal and Korčula Summer School, Freedom and Violence). Beograd: Res Publica.
Rodin, Davor. 1964. "Uz pojavu prvih brojeva časopisa Praxis" (“Along with the appearance of the first issues of the Praxis journal“). Politička misao: časopis za politologiju1, no. 3: 184-186.
Salvaro, Martina. 2015. "Praxis online". H-alter. Accessed 2 December 2017. http://www.h-alter.org/vijesti/praxis-online
Sher, Gerson. 1977. Praxis: Marxist Criticism and Dissent in Socialist Yugoslavia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Vodovnik, Žiga. 2012. "Democracy as a Verb: New Meditations on the Yugoslav Praxis Philosophy." Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies 14, no. 4: 1-20.
Lešaja, Ante, interview by Bing, Albert , September 08, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection