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Dialectics of the Ideal

Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism

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Edited by Alex Levant and Vesa Oittinen

In Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism Levant and Oittinen provide a window into the subterranean tradition of ‘creative’ Soviet Marxism, which developed on the margins of the Soviet academe and remains largely outside the orbit of contemporary theory in the West. With his ‘activity approach’, E.V. Ilyenkov, its principal figure in the post-Stalin period, makes a substantial contribution toward an anti-reductionist Marxist theory of the subject, which should be of interest to contemporary theorists who seek to avoid economic and cultural reductionism as well as the malaise of postmodern relativism. This volume features Levant’s translation of Ilyenkov’s Dialectics of the Ideal (2009), which remained unpublished until thirty years after the author’s tragic suicide in 1979.

Contributors include: Evald Ilyenkov, Tarja Knuuttila, Alex Levant, Andrey Maidansky, Vesa Oittinen, Paula Rauhala, and Birger Siebert.

The Tale of the Prophet Isaiah

The Destiny and Meanings of an Apocryphal Text

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Ivan Biliarsky

In The Tale of the Prophet Isaiah. The Destiny and Meanings of an Apocryphal Text Ivan Biliarsky proposes an edition of the original text of the medieval apocryphon, together with images of the single manuscript copy. The author also includes a large commentary on the otherwise quite unclear narrative concerning its origins, its development, a prosopography of the mentioned persons, an interpretation of its meaning and of the stages of its continuous creation. This completely new approach profoundly revises the source with a strong focus on its biblical roots. Ivan Biliarsky abandons the “national” understanding of the apocryphon and introduces evidence about its significance for the enforcement of the Byzantine-Slavic/Bulgarian Commonwealth and solidarity.

Seeing Through the Eyes of the Polish Revolution

Solidarity and the Struggle Against Communism in Poland

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Jack M. Bloom

In 1980 Polish workers astonished the world by demanding and winning an independent union with the right to strike, called Solidarity--the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire. Jack M. Bloom's Seeing Through the Eyes of the Polish Revolution explains how it happened, from the imposition to Communism to its end, based on 150 interviews of Solidarity leaders, activists, supporters and opponents. Bloom presents the perspectives and experiences of these participants. He shows how an opposition was built, the battle between Solidarity and the ruling party, the conflicts that emerged within each side during this tense period, how Solidarity survived the imposition of martial law and how the opposition forced the government to negotiate itself out of power.

The Traditions of Invention

Romanian Ethnic and Social Stereotypes in Historical Context

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Alex Drace-Francis

Literary and cultural images, once considered marginal to the main currents of political and institutional development in southeastern Europe, have been accorded much greater importance by scholars in recent years. In this volume Alex Drace-Francis brings together over fifteen years of work on the topic of representations of Romania and Romanians. Crossing the East-West divide, the book studies both external images of the country and people, and domestically-generated representations of Europe and 'the West'. It draws on material in a wide range of languages and offers a long-term view, providing a nuanced and historically-grounded contribution to the lively debates over Balkanism, Orientalism and identities in Romania and in Europe as a whole.

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Edited by Gábor Kármán and Lovro Kunčević

The European Tributary States of the Ottoman Empire is the first comprehensive overview of the empire’s relationship to its various European tributaries, Moldavia, Wallachia, Transylvania, Ragusa, the Crimean Khanate and the Cossack Hetmanate. The volume focuses on three fundamental aspects of the empire’s relationship with these polities: the various legal frameworks which determined their positions within the imperial system, the diplomatic contacts through which they sought to influence the imperial center, and the military cooperation between them and the Porte. Bringing together studies by eminent experts and presenting results of several less-known historiographical traditions, this volume contributes significantly to a deeper understanding of Ottoman power at the peripheries of the empire.

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Jim Samson

This book asks how a study of many different musics in South East Europe can help us understand the construction of cultural traditions, East and West. It crosses boundaries of many kinds, political, cultural, repertorial and disciplinary. Above all, it seeks to elucidate the relationship between politics and musical practice in a region whose art music has been all but written out of the European story and whose traditional music has been subject to appropriation by one ideology after another. South East Europe, with its mix of ethnicities and religions, presents an exceptionally rich field of study in this respect. The book will be of value to anyone interested in intersections between pre-modern and modern cultures, between empires and nations and between culture and politics.

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B. George Hewitt

The 2008 Georgian-Russian war focused the world’s attention on the Caucasus. South Ossetia and Abkhazia had been de facto independent since the early 1990s. However, Russia’s granting of recognition on 26 August 2008 changed regional dynamics.

The Caucasus is one of the most ethnically diverse areas on earth, and the conflicts examined here present their own complexities. This book sets the issues in their historical and political contexts and discusses potential future problems.

This volume is distinguished from others devoted to the same themes by the extensive use the author (a Georgian specialist) makes of Georgian sources, inaccessible to most commentators. His translated citations thus cast a unique and revealing light on the interethnic relations that have fuelled these conflicts.

Ultimate Freedom – No Choice

The Culture of Authoritarianism in Latvia, 1934–1940

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Deniss Hanovs and Valdis Tēraudkalns

The Republic of Latvia is a fascinating mirror of the development of European democratic culture and reflects both the rise of democracy in Eastern Europe after the end of World War I and its deterioration into authoritarianism in the early 1930s.
The regime, which lasted for only six years (1934-1940), was shaped by the controversial figure of Prime Minister and Leader of the People (Vadonis) Karlis Ulmanis.
This new, archive-based study illustrates the development of authoritarianism in the region, shows controversies and similarities and places the regime's leader in the international context of European authoritarian culture. The book shows how mass culture and technologies, ancient drama and European modernism were combined to reinforce the idea of legitimacy of a new non-democratic regime.

Balkan Transitions to Modernity and Nation-States

Through the Eyes of Three Generations of Merchants (1780s-1890s)

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Evguenia Davidova

In contrast to research on elites or “history from below,” this study offers an approach that can be called “mesohistory” – a collective social biography of the Balkan merchants. In foregrounding the voices of traders, this study sheds fresh light on multiethnic networks of social actors navigating multiple social, political, and economic systems – supporting and opposing various aspects of nationalist ideologies. Personal accounts humanize features of these “faceless” socially mediating groups. Merchants’ generation-specific perspectives on the economy, society, and state, both in times of war and peace, are analyzed against the backdrop of Balkan, Ottoman, and European history. The study captures a dialogue between primary and secondary sources and the major debates regarding nationalism, modernity, and the Ottoman legacy.

From Yugoslavia to the Western Balkans

Studies of a European Disunion, 1991-2011

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Robert Hayden

This book brings together important original contributions to scholarly and political/policy debates over the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and especially the war in Bosnia. The analyses are grounded on empirically-based arguments about social and political dynamics, resonate with much larger/enduring issues of social science inquiry, and consistently challenge commonly-held beliefs about the Balkans that are based more on ignorance, misunderstanding, or outright prejudice, than on intimate knowledge of the region, its peoples, and their histories. When first published, some of these essays represented sharply distinctive analyses which have since then become “common wisdom.” Hayden’s arguments about how this multinational European federation collapsed following a severe economic crisis are disturbingly relevant to analyzing the crisis of the European Union twenty years later.