The article looks into the various scholarly (and disciplinary) conceptualizations of the Balkans/Southeastern Europe, which were spawned within the region itself prior to World War II. These regionalist schemes drew heavily on political values and relied on political support, while at the same time seeking to spearhead and legitimize political decisions or reformulate (geo)political visions. The article discusses the political implications of this scholarship with the idea to underscore notions of the Balkans which differed considerably from the one summarily and, in recent years, persistently conceptualized as mirroring the Western (discourse of) Balkanism. Not only were those notions more subtle and differentiated than an ‘orientalizing perspective’ would make us expect; a remarkable feature of the academic projects discussed here was their counterhegemonic thrust and the assertion that the Balkans are and should be treated as a subject.
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