Pioneering essays on the idea of the Balkan as a body of knowledge and a cultural metaphor. Balkan. Somewhere between a tragedy and a myth, a place and a condition, the term is perhaps best understood as a metaphor. It has been used and abused in academia by proponents of opposing political views. Multiculturalism has appropriated it, as have postmodernism and postcommunism. It is used pejoratively to refer to excessive specialization and nostalgically to refer to Europe's lost people—its wild warriors and passionate geniuses. This book explores the idea of the Balkan as metaphor and the meaning of Balkan identity in the context of contemporary culture. Focusing on Balkanism both as a body of knowledge and as the critical study of that discourse, this book does for the Balkans what Edward Said's Orientalism did for "the Orient."The sixteen authors, most of whom were born and educated in the Balkans, apply the Western academic tools of postmodernism, poststructuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, and critical multiculturalism to topics as varied as the rhetoric of Balkanization, the war in Kosovo, Western demonization and erotization of the Serbs, Balkan film, human rights legislation, Byzantinism, the vampire as an image of Balkan violence, envy of the political and moral capital of victimhood, the tendency of the Balkan psyche toward depression, Serbian machismo and homosexuality, and wartime rape. The book both lays the groundwork for a new field of study and serves as an act of resistance against the many forms of representation that break the Balkans into fragments such as NATO army bases and digital maps in order to wire them into the global market.
"If the Balkans hadn't existed, they would have been invented" was the verdict of Count Hermann Keyserling in his famous 1928 publication, Europe. Over ten years ago, Maria Todorova traced the relationship between the reality and the invention. Based on a rich selection of travelogues, diplomatic accounts, academic surveys, journalism, and belles-lettres in many languages, Imagining the Balkans explored the ontology of the Balkans from the sixteenth century to the present day, uncovering the ways in which an insidious intellectual tradition was constructed, became mythologized, and is still being transmitted as discourse. Maria Todorova, who was raised in the Balkans, is in a unique position to bring both scholarship and sympathy to her subject, and in a new afterword she reflects on recent developments in the study of the Balkans and political developments on the ground since the publication of Imagining the Balkans. The afterword explores the controversy over Todorova's coining of the term Balkanism. With this work, Todorova offers a timely, updated, accessible study of how an innocent geographic appellation was transformed into one of the most powerful and widespread pejorative designations in modern history.
Since 1989, Europe's eastern rim has been in constant flux. Political and economic transformations have triggered redefinitions of cultural identity. Combining theory-oriented and empirical approaches, this book analyzes modes of identity construction in public discourse, particularly focusing on national and cross-national rhetorical strategies related to European Union enlargement and EU policy towards southeast Europe.
Maria Todorova puts in conversation several fields that have been traditionally treated as discrete: Balkans, Eastern Europe, Ottoman, Habsburg and Russian empires. Applying different perspectives and different methodological approaches, it insists on the heuristic value of scales
In writings about travel, the Balkans appear most often as a place travelled to. Western accounts of the Balkans revel in the different and the exotic, the violent and the primitive − traits that serve (according to many commentators) as a foil to self-congratulatory definitions of the West as modern, progressive and rational. However, the Balkans have also long been travelled from. The region's writers have given accounts of their travels in the West and elsewhere, saying something in the process about themselves and their place in the world. The analyses presented here, ranging from those of 16th-century Greek humanists to 19th-century Romanian reformers to 20th-century writers, socialists and 'men-of-the-world', suggest that travellers from the region have also created their own identities through their encounters with Europe. Consequently, this book challenges assumptions of Western discursive hegemony, while at the same time exploring Balkan 'Occidentalisms'.
For decades, we have come to accept that nationalism formed the basis of the modern history of the Balkans. In this bold and controversial study, Pavlos Hatzopoulos turns this assumption on its head. Through a ground-breaking examination of the non-nationalist ideologies in the Balkans during the interwar period, Hatzopoulos calls into question the supposedly inherent connection between the Balkans and nationalism and argues that nationalism does not form the sole ordering principle of the modern history of the Balkan region. Focusing on the ideologies of communism, liberal internationalism and agrarianism, Hatzopoulos examines how these interact with nationalist ideology. He demonstrates how non-nationalist theories challenge the nationalist view of the Balkans as the sum of several national spaces. He even questions the nationalist understanding of the very term 'the Balkans'. "The Balkans Beyond Nationalism and Identity" revisits contemporary debates on a region that is still a European crisis point and challenges the nation-centric understanding that permeates it. In proposing a description of 'the Balkans' as a contested political concept, the book argues for a completely fresh interpretation of the region's composition.
In the growing body of literature about the evolution and the role of Islam in Europe as a whole and the Balkans in particular, this volume holds a special place as it offers a multidisciplinary approach to the encounter-transformation-discontinuity-continuity of Islam in the region. Thus, it provides excellent material for students of social and political studies, history and even architecture, at the bachelor and master level. At the same time, it aspires to attract the attention of researchers and academics who are interested in the evolution of Islam in the Balkans. It should be noted that the style and the language of the articles in this volume would also make it easily accessible to the general interested reader who is not detached from the latest social and political developments in the Balkans. In this regard, the volume would also be useful for a number of think tank members and even politicians in the Balkans, providing them with knowledge of the region’s past and present, with hope for an integrated future.
This volume is the second Annual of the Konitsa Summer School in Anthropology, Ethnography and Comparative Folklore of the Balkans containing the proceedings of two years, 2007 and 2008. It includes papers written by members of the teaching staff, papers delivered as lectures or especially prepared for the Annual, papers written by students based principally on their fieldwork exercise in Greece and Albania, presentations of ongoing PhD theses and, finally, the syllabi of the subjects of instruction.
Illyria in Shakespeare’s England studies the eastern Adriatic region known as “Illyria” in five plays by Shakespeare and other early modern English writing. It examines the origins and features of past discourses on the area, expanding our knowledge of the ways in which England and other polities negotiated their position in the early modern world.