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In: Entangled Histories of the Balkans - Volume Two
Winner of the 2019 CEU Award for Outstanding Research

This book documents the making of Romanian citizenship from 1750 to 1918 as a series of acts of national self-determination by the Romanians, as well as the emancipation of subordinated gender, social, and ethno-religious groups. It focuses on the progression of a sum of transnational “questions” that were at the heart of North-Atlantic, European, and local politics during the long nineteenth century, concerning the status of peasants, women, Greeks, Jews, Roma, Armenians, Muslims, and Dobrudjans. The analysis emphasizes the fusion between nationalism and liberalism, and the emancipatory impact national-liberalism had on the transition from the Old Regime to the modern order of the nation-state. While emphasizing liberalism's many achievements, the study critically scrutinizes the liberal doctrine of legal-political “capacity” and the dark side of nationalism, marked by tendencies toward exclusion. It highlights the challenges nascent liberal democracies face in the process of consolidation and the enduring appeal of illiberalism in periods of upheaval, represented mainly by nativism. The book's innovative interdisciplinary approach to citizenship in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Balkans and the richness of the sources employed, appeal to a diverse readership.

This introductory essay provides a first, much needed comprehensive overview of the recent scholarship on fascism and the radical right in East Central and Southeastern Europe in local and international historiography. Its aim is to identify a new research agenda for studying fascism comparatively, potentially contributing to the fine-tuning or substantial modification of the existing explanatory paradigms. It is argued that comparative research on fascism and the radical right in these regions should be set on new theoretical and methodological foundations, as part of an effort toward greater interaction and convergence between scholarly research traditions in Eastern and Western Europe. My endeavor is based on the assumption that the study of fascist movements and regimes in East Central and Southeastern Europe is essential to the more general scholarly effort to understand radical politics in interwar Europe; without it, comparative research results remain partial and incomplete. Yet, this analytical effort does not simply mean an extension of the existing theoretical framework of generic fascism to previously uncharted regions. Regional explorations of fascism might function as a laboratory for further methodological innovation and as a field of experimentation and interaction of scholars from various disciplines and national historiographic traditions. They can potentially lead to the rejuvenation of fascist studies by renewing their thematic scope and by redirecting research from the prevailing Weberian ideal-type methodology fixated on the fascist “ideological minimum” to new comparative-historical analyses focusing on the triad ideology-movements-regimes. This novel agenda of research prompts scholars to rethink their units of analysis, and to renounce teleological comparative perspectives still prevalent in Cold War-type scholarship which takes Western Europe as a measuring stick and normatively evaluates other historical case studies only by means of negative comparisons (e.g.: what was missing, or what “went wrong” in non-Western regions). Instead of treating fascist movements and regimes in these regions as carbon copies of their more “genuine” Western counterparts, scholars should rather explore multiple laboratories for the elaboration of fascist ideology in interwar politics and the transfer of illiberal political ideas and practices over spatial or temporal borders, resulting in radical political experiments in East and West alike.

In: East Central Europe

This introductory essay reviews recent debates on social history, with a focus on the revival of this field of studies in post-communist East Central Europe and its potential impact on rejuvenating approaches to the social history of Europe. The first part of the essay provides a brief overview of the emergence of social history as a reaction to the dominant political history of the nineteenth century and its crystallization in different national schools, and highlights recent responses to the poststructuralist and postmodern critiques of “the social.” The second part focuses on traditions of social history research in East Central Europe, taking Poland and Romania as main examples. The third part summarizes the main claims of the articles included in this issue and evaluates their implications for future research. It is argued that, at first glance, post-communist historiography in East Central Europe provides the picture of a discipline in transformation, still struggling to break up with the past and to rebuild its institutional framework, catching up with recent trends and redefining its role in continental and global historiography. The recent attempts to invigorate research in traditional fields of social history might seem largely obsolete, not only out of tune with international developments but also futile reiterations of vistas that have been for long experimented with and superseded in Western Europe. At closer scrutiny, however, historiography in East Central Europe appears—unequal and variegated as it is—as a laboratory for historical innovation and a field of experimentation, and interaction of scholars from various disciplines and scholarly traditions, in which old and new trends amalgamate in peculiar ways. It is suggested that the tendency to reconceptualize the “social” that we currently witness in humanities and social sciences worldwide could be not only reinforced but also cross-fertilized by the “social turn” in East Central Europe, potentially leading to novel approaches.

In: East Central Europe
In: Liberalism, Constitutional Nationalism, and Minorities  
In: Liberalism, Constitutional Nationalism, and Minorities