Scaling the Balkans

Essays on Eastern European Entanglements


Scaling the Balkans puts in conversation several fields that have been traditionally treated as discrete: Balkan studies, Ottoman studies, East European studies, and Habsburg and Russian studies. By looking at the complex interrelationship between countries and regions, demonstrating how different perspectives and different methodological approaches inflect interpretations and conclusions, it insists on the heuristic value of scales. The volume is a collection of published and unpublished essays, dealing with issues of modernism, backwardness, historical legacy, balkanism, post-colonialism and orientalism, nationalism, identity and alterity, society-and nation-building, historical demography and social structure, socialism and communism in memory, and historiography.

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Maria Todorova, PhD (1977) is the Gutgsell Professor of History and CAS Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of numerous monographs, articles and edited volumes, including Imagining the Balkans (1997, 2009, translated in 14 languages).
"This anthology will be of interest to those who want to follow in the footsteps laid by Todorova in Imagining the Balkans, but it will also be an asset to teachers, as the volume includes a number of key texts that form an excellent basis for lectures and seminars. Finally, all those who try to protect themselves in their own work from essentializing their image of the Balkans should reach for this volume to find sufficient information for the development and expansion of self-immunization strategies."

Karl Kaser, Graz, in Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas (JGO 68) "Dieser Sammelband wird für jene interessant sein, die die von Todorova in Imagining the Balkans gelegten Spuren weiterverfolgen wollen, er wird aber auch für Lehrende eine Bereicherung sein, da der Band eine Reihe von Schlüsseltexten umfasst, die als Grundlage für Vorlesungen und Seminare hervorragend zu verwenden sind, darunter auch die beiden hier näher besprochenen. Schließlich sollten auch all jene zu diesem Band greifen, die sich in ihren eigenen Arbeiten vor Essentialisierungen ihres Balkanbildes zu schützen versuchen. Sie werden in dem beinahe 700 Seiten umfassenden Band ausreichend Hinweise für den Auf- und Ausbau von Selbstimmunisierungsstrategien vorfinden."

Karl Kaser, Graz, in Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas (JGO 68)
List of Illustrations, Tables, Figures and Maps


Part 1: Concepts

Section 1: Modernism, Backwardness and Legacy

1 The Trap of Backwardness: Modernity, Temporality and the Study of Eastern European Nationalism
2 Modernism
3 Historical Legacies between Europe and the Near East

Section 2: Balkanism, Postcolonialism and Orientalism

4 Balkan
5 Balkanism and Postcolonialism or On the Beauty of the Airplane View
6 The Balkans: from Discovery to Invention
7 The Balkans: from Invention to Intervention
8 Does Russian Orientalism Have a Russian Soul? A Contribution to the Debate between Nathaniel Knight and Adeeb Khalid

Section 3: Nationalism, Identity and Alterity

9 Is There Weak Nationalism and Is It a Useful Category?
10 Is “the Other” a Useful Cross-cultural Concept? Some Thoughts on Its Implementation to the Balkan Region
11 Isn’t Central Europe Dead? Comments on Iver Neumann’s “Forgetting the Central Europe of the 1980s”
12 What Is or Is There a Balkan Culture, and Do or Should the Balkans Have a Regional Identity?

Part 2: Structures, Processes and Events

Section 1: Demography and Social Structure

13 European Population History: the Balkans
14 Situating the Family of Ottoman Bulgaria within the European Pattern
15 On the Epistemological Value of Family Models: the Balkans within the European Pattern
16 Historical Tradition and Transformation in Bulgaria: Women’s Issues, Feminist Issues

Section 2: Nation- and Society-Building

17 The Course and Discourses of Bulgarian Nationalism
18 Language as a Cultural Unifier in a Multilingual Setting: the Bulgarian Case during the Nineteenth Century
19 Identity (Trans)formation among Bulgarian Muslims
20 Midhat Pasha and the Bulgarians
21 Improbable Maverick or Typical Conformist? Seven Thoughts on the New Bulgaria

Section 3: Historiography and Memory

22 East European Studies in the US: Thematic and Methodological Problems
23 The Ottoman Menace in Post-Habsburg Historiography
24 Conversion to Islam as a Trope in Bulgarian Historiography, Fiction and Film
25 The Balkan Wars in Memory: the Carnegie Report and Trotsky’s War Correspondence

Section 4: Socialism and Communism in Memory

26 Shared or Contested Heritage? Commemorating Socialism and Communism in Europe
27 1917 in the Balkans: Divergent “Horizons of Expectation”
28 Was there Civil Society and a Public Sphere under Socialism? The Debates around Vasil Levski’s Alleged Reburial in Bulgaria
29 Blowing Up the Past: the Mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov as Lieu de Mémoire
30 Remembering Communism: Similar Trajectories, Different Memories

Readers interested in the history of the Balkans, the Ottoman and East European field, and general Europeanists. Relevant for specialists and to undergraduates and graduates as introduction to different methodologies. Keywords: Eastern Europe, Ottomans, Bulgaria, balkanism, post-colonialism, nationalism, demography, socialism, communism, memory, historiography, modernity, backwardness, legacy.
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