Making Ethnicity, Simon Schlegel offers a history of ethnicity and its political uses in southern Bessarabia, a region that has long been at the crossroads of powerful forces: in the 19th century between the Russian and Ottoman Empires, since World War I between the Soviet Union and Romania, and since the collapse of the Soviet Union between Russia and the European Union’s respective zones of influence.
Drawing on biographical interviews and archival documents, Schlegel argues that ethnic categories gained relevance in the 19th century, as state bureaucrats took over local administration from the church. After mutating into a dangerous instrument of social engineering in the mid-20th century, ethnicity today remains a potent force for securing votes and allocating resources.
The edited volume
Both Muslim and European: Diasporic and Migrant Identities of Bosniaks scrutinizes some of the new aspects of the Bosniak history and identity and connects them with the experience of migration and diaspora formation. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, to volume tackles a variety of important questions and issues such as: the impact of migration waves on the Bosniak identity; dealing with the experience of war, genocide and forced displacement; the dual cultural code of being “in-between the two worlds”; the role of religion, language and culture in everyday life; looking at translocal and transnational networks and practices. In addition to discussing the contemporary issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina, several chapters deal with the Bosnian migrant realities in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, Australia, Turkey and the United States of America.