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The Archipelago
A Balkan Passage
Robert Isenberg
Autumn House Press, 2010
Isenberg's travelogue explores an intimate view of the Balkans through the eyes of a young American adventurer.

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The Balkan Reconquista and Turkey's Forgotten Refugee Crisis
William H. Holt
University of Utah Press, 2019
During the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877–1878, Russian troops, Cossack auxiliaries, and local Bulgarians participated in what today would be called ethnic cleansing. Tensions in the Balkans between Christians and Muslims ended in disaster when hundreds of thousands of Muslims were massacred, raped, and forced to flee from Bulgaria to Turkey as their villages were sacked and their homes destroyed.
In this book, William H. Holt tells the story of a people and moment in time that has largely been neglected in modern Turkish and Balkan memory. Holt uncovers the reasons for this mass forgetting, finding context both within the development of the modern Turkish state and the workings of collective memory. Bringing together a wide array of eyewitness accounts, the book provides unprecedented detail on the plight of the Muslim refugees in their flight from Bulgaria, in Istanbul, and in their resettlement in Anatolia. In crisp, clear, and engaging prose, Holt offers an insightful analysis of human suffering and social memory.

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Domestic Frontiers
Gender, Reform, and American Interventions in the Ottoman Balkans and the Near East
Barbara Reeves-Ellington
University of Massachusetts Press, 2013
During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American Protestant missionaries attempted to export their religious beliefs and cultural ideals to the Ottoman Empire. Seeking to attract Orthodox Christians and even Muslims to their faith, they promoted the paradigm of the "Christian home" as the foundation of national progress. Yet the missionaries' efforts not only failed to win many converts but also produced some unexpected results.

Drawing on a broad range of sources—Ottoman, Bulgarian, Russian, French, and English—Barbara Reeves-Ellington tracks the transnational history of this little-known episode of American cultural expansion. She shows how issues of gender and race influenced the missionaries' efforts as well as the complex responses of Ottoman subjects to American intrusions into their everyday lives. Women missionaries—married and single—employed the language of Christian domesticity and female moral authority to challenge the male-dominated hierarchy of missionary society and to forge bonds of feminist internationalism. At the same time, Orthodox Christians adapted the missionaries' ideology to their own purposes in developing a new strain of nationalism that undermined Ottoman efforts to stem growing sectarianism within their empire. By the beginning of the twentieth century, as some missionaries began to promote international understanding rather than Protestantism, they also paved the way for future expansion of American political and commercial interests.

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The Early Medieval Balkans
A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century
John V. A. Fine
University of Michigan Press, 1991
Discusses the development of ethnic nationalism among Bulgars, Croatians, Serbians, and Macedonians

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Fools' Crusade
Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions
Diana Johnstone
Pluto Press, 2002
In the endless series of United States military interventions, the 'humanitarian' bombing of Yugoslavia played a key role in gaining support of the centre left for war as an instrument of policy.

Thanks to massive deception and self-deception by media and politicians, even the anti-globalisation movement failed to grasp the implications of the aggressive military globalisation pursued by the United States, from Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond.

In this study, Diana Johnstone identifies the common geopolitical interests running through all these past, present and future military interventions. She argues persuasively that outside intervention creates rather than solves problems and cannot be justified.

Johnstone shows that the 'War in Kosovo' was in reality the model for future destruction of countries seen as potential threats to the hegemony of the 'International Community', led by the United States.

front cover of German-Balkan Entangled Histories in the Twentieth Century
German-Balkan Entangled Histories in the Twentieth Century
Christopher A. Molnar and Mirna Zakic
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020
This volume brings together a diverse group of scholars from North America and Europe to explore the history and memory of Germany’s fateful push for power in the Balkans during the era of the two world wars and the long postwar period. Each chapter focuses on one or more of four interrelated themes: war, empire, (forced) migration, and memory. The first section, “War and Empire in the Balkans,” explores Germany’s quest for empire in Southeast Europe during the first half of the century, a goal that was pursued by economic and military means. The book’s second section, “Aftershocks and Memories of War,” focuses on entangled German-Balkan histories that were shaped by, or a direct legacy of, Germany’s exceptionally destructive push for power in Southeast Europe during World War II. German-Balkan Entangled Histories in the Twentieth Century expands and enriches the neglected topic of Germany’s continued entanglements with the Balkans in the era of the world wars, the Cold War, and today.

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The Great Cauldron
A History of Southeastern Europe
Marie-Janine Calic
Harvard University Press, 2019

A sweeping history of southeastern Europe from antiquity to the present that reveals it to be a vibrant crossroads of trade, ideas, and religions.

We often think of the Balkans as a region beset by turmoil and backwardness, but from late antiquity to the present it has been a dynamic meeting place of cultures and religions. Combining deep insight with narrative flair, The Great Cauldron invites us to reconsider the history of this intriguing, diverse region as essential to the story of global Europe.

Marie-Janine Calic reveals the many ways in which southeastern Europe’s position at the crossroads of East and West shaped continental and global developments. The nascent merchant capitalism of the Mediterranean world helped the Balkan knights fight the Ottomans in the fifteenth century. The deep pull of nationalism led a young Serbian bookworm to spark the conflagration of World War I. The late twentieth century saw political Islam spread like wildfire in a region where Christians and Muslims had long lived side by side. Along with vivid snapshots of revealing moments in time, including Krujë in 1450 and Sarajevo in 1984, Calic introduces fascinating figures rarely found in standard European histories. We meet the Greek merchant and poet Rhigas Velestinlis, whose revolutionary pamphlet called for a general uprising against Ottoman tyranny in 1797. And the Croatian bishop Ivan Dominik Stratiko, who argued passionately for equality of the sexes and whose success with women astonished even his friend Casanova.

Calic’s ambitious reappraisal expands and deepens our understanding of the ever-changing mixture of peoples, faiths, and civilizations in this much-neglected nexus of empire.


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Human Trafficking, Human Security, and the Balkans
H. Richard Friman
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007
In the aftermath of four Yugoslav wars, ongoing efforts at reconstruction in South Eastern Europe have devoted relatively limited attention to dimensions of human security that enhance protections for the region's most vulnerable populations in their daily lives. It is in this context that South Eastern Europe, and especially the Western Balkan region, has emerged as a nexus point in human trafficking.

Human Trafficking, Human Security, and the Balkans brings together leading scholars, NGO representatives, and government officials to analyze and offer solutions to this challenge. The contributors explore the economic dynamics of human trafficking in an era of globalization, which has greatly facilitated not only the flow of goods and services but also the trade in human beings. They also examine the effectiveness of international and transnational policies and practice, the impact of peacekeeping forces, and the emergence of national and regional action plans in the Western Balkans and, more broadly, in South Eastern Europe. Finally, they consider the nature and ramifications of the gap between human security rhetoric and institutional policy steps against human trafficking.

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The Last Ottoman Wars
The Human Cost, 1877–1923
Jeremy Salt
University of Utah Press, 2019
During the last half century of its existence, the Ottoman Empire and the lands around its borders were places of constant political turmoil and unceasing military action. The enormous costs of war were paid not only by politicians and soldiers, but by the Ottoman civilian population as well. This book examines the hardships that ordinary people, Muslim and Christian alike, endured during decades of warfare.     
Jeremy Salt brings to the surface previously ignored facts that disrupt the conventional narrative of an ethno-religious division between Muslim perpetrators and Christian victims of violence. Salt shows instead that all major ethno-religious groups—including Armenians, Turks, Kurds, and Greeks—were guilty of violent acts. The result is a more balanced picture of European involvement in the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans, one that highlights the destructive role of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and other European leaders grabbing for Ottoman resources up to the end of World War I. The effects of these events are felt to the present day.
This extraordinary story centers not on military campaigns but on ordinary civilians whose lives were disrupted and in many cases destroyed by events over which they had no control. Disease, malnutrition, massacre and inter-communal fighting killed millions of people during the First World War alone. Until now this epic saga of human suffering has remained a story largely untold.

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My Life's Travels and Adventures
An Eighteenth-Century Oculist in the Ottoman Empire and the European Hinterland
Regina Salomea Pilsztynowa
Iter Press, 2020
In her never-finished My Life’s Travels and Adventures, the eighteenth-century Polish doctor Regina Salomea Pilsztynowa plays a myriad of roles, including child bride, wife, mother, lover, adventuress, slave trader, writer, and home-taught physician. She successfully carved out a viable niche for herself, navigating the multicultural, multiethnic, and varied religious environment of Europe’s eastern periphery. Despite limited expectations for female professionals, she became a highly sought after and well-respected practitioner of the medical arts and rose to the position of court physician to Turkish pashas and Hungarian princes, and even to Sultan Mustafa III. My Life’s Travels and Adventures—part memoir, part autobiography, and part travelogue—provides a view into eighteenth-century social, professional, and gender interactions and weaves a rich narrative replete with vignettes of love, travel, and popular superstitions important to our historical, ethnographic, and religious understanding of the era.

This edition brings the entirety of this personal and idiosyncratic memoir to English for the first time.

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Nomads and Natives beyond the Danube and the Black Sea
700–900 CE
Sergiu Musteaţă
Arc Humanities Press, 2019
This book presents a reconstruction of the socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, and political history of the Carpathian-Danubian area in the eighth and ninth centuries at a period when nomadic peoples from the east including the Bulgars, Avars, and Khazars migrated here. The work is based on a comprehensive analysis of narrative and archaeological sources including sites, artefacts, and goods in the basin bordered by the Tisza river in the west, the Danube in the south, and the Dniestr river in the east, covering swathes of modern-day Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, and Hungary.

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The Sacrificed Body
Balkan Community Building and the Fear of Freedom
Tatjana Aleksic
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013
Living in one of the world’s most volatile regions, the people of the Balkans have witnessed unrelenting political, economic, and social upheaval. In response, many have looked to building communities, both psychologically and materially, as a means of survival in the wake of crumbling governments and states. The foundational structures of these communities often center on the concept of individual sacrifice for the good of the whole. Many communities, however, are hijacked by restrictive ideologies, turning them into a model of intolerance and exclusion.

In The Sacrificed Body, Tatjana Aleksic examines the widespread use of the sacrificial metaphor in cultural texts and its importance to sustaining communal ideologies in the Balkan region. Aleksic further relates the theme to the sanctioning of ethnic cleansing, rape, and murder in the name of homogeneity and collective identity. Aleksic begins her study with the theme of the immurement of a live female body in the foundation of an important architectural structure, a trope she finds in texts from all over the Balkans. The male builders performing the sacrificial act have been called by a higher power who will ensure the durability of the structure and hence the patriarchal community as a whole.

In numerous examples ranging from literature to film and performance art, Aleksic views the theme of sacrifice and its relation to exclusion based on gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, or politics for the sake of community building. According to Aleksic, the sacrifice narrative becomes most prevalent during times of crisis brought on by wars, weak governments, foreign threats, or even globalizing tendencies. Because crisis justifies the very existence of restrictive communities, communalist ideology thrives on its perpetuation. They exist in a symbiotic relationship. Aleksic also acknowledges the emancipatory potential of a genuine community, after it has shaken off its ideological character.

Aleksic employs cultural theory, sociological analysis, and human rights studies to expose a historical narrative that is predominant regionally, if not globally. As she determines, in an era of both Western and non-Western neoliberalism, elitist hegemony will continue to both threaten and bolster communities along with their segregationist tactics.

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The Stranger Next Door
An Anthology from the Other Europe
Richard Swartz
Northwestern University Press, 2013

The Balkans have been so troubled by violence and mis­understanding that we have the verb “balkanize,” mean­ing to break up into smaller, warring components. While some of the region’s artists and thinkers have invari­ably fallen into nationalistic tendencies, the twenty-two prominent authors represented here, from the erstwhile Yugoslavia and its neighbors Albania and Bulgaria, have chosen to attempt to bridge these divides. The essays, biographical sketches, and stories in The Stranger Next Door form a project of understanding that picks up where politics fail. The English-language translation joins edi­tions of the book that appeared concurrently in all of the participating countries.


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The Tamburitza Tradition
From the Balkans to the American Midwest
Richard March
University of Wisconsin Press, 2013
The Tamburitza Tradition is a lively and well-illustrated comprehensive introduction to a Balkan folk music that now also thrives in communities throughout Europe, the Americas, and Australia. Tamburitza features acoustic stringed instruments, ranging in size from tamburas as small as a ukulele to ones as large as a bass viol.
            Folklorist Richard March documents the centuries-old origins and development of the tradition, including its intertwining with nationalist and ethnic symbolism. The music survived the complex politics of nineteenth-century Europe but remains a point of contention today. In Croatia, tamburitza is strongly associated with national identity and supported by an artistic and educational infrastructure. Serbia is proud of its outstanding performers and composers who have influenced tamburitza bands on four continents. In the United States, tamburitza was brought by Balkan immigrants in the nineteenth century and has become a flourishing American ethnic music with its own set of representational politics.
            Combining historical research with in-depth interviews and extensive participant-observer description, The Tamburitza Tradition reveals a dynamic and expressive music tradition on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, illuminating the cultures and societies from which it has emerged.

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War and Diplomacy
The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 and the Treaty of Berlin
M Hakan Yavuz
University of Utah Press, 2011

Combining different disciplinary perspectives, War and Diplomacy argues that the key events that portended the beginning of the end of the multiethnic Ottoman Empire were the The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 and the Treaty of Berlin. The essays in this volume analyze how the war and the treaty permanently transformed the political landscape both in the Balkans and in the Caucasus. The treaty marked the end of Ottoman hegemony in the Balkans by formally recognizing the independence or de facto sovereignty of Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro, and the autonomy of Bulgaria. 

By introducing the unitary nation-state as the new organizing concept, the treaty planted the seeds of future conflict, from the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 and the First World War to the recent civil wars and ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia. The magnitude of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire by Russia—and eventually by the other great powers—and the human, material, and territorial losses that followed proved fatal to the project of Muslim liberal reform and modernization that the Ottoman state had launched in the middle of the 19th century.
War and Diplomacy offers the first comparative examination of the treaty and its socio-political implications for the Balkans and the Caucasus by utilizing the theoretical tools and approaches of political science, sociology, history, and international relations. Representing the latest scholarship in the field of study, this volume documents the proceedings of a conference on the Treaty of Berlin that was held at the University of Utah in 2010. It provides an important contribution to understanding the historical background of these events. 

War and Diplomacy documents the proceedings of the first of three conferences:
1878 Treaty of Berlin (in 2010)
Balkan Wars (in 2011)
World War I (in 2012)
Proceedings of the final two conferences will also be published by the University of Utah Press.


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War and Nationalism
The Balkan Wars, 1912–1913, and Their Sociopolitical Implications
M Hakan Yavuz
University of Utah Press, 2013
War and Nationalism presents thorough up-to-date scholarship on the often misunderstood and neglected Balkan Wars of 1912 to 1913, which contributed to the outbreak of World War I. The essays contain critical inquiries into the diverse and interconnected processes of social, economic, and political exchange that escalated into conflict. The wars represented a pivotal moment that had a long-lasting impact on the regional state system and fundamentally transformed the beleaguered Ottoman Empire in the process.

This interdisciplinary volume stands as a critique of the standard discourse regarding the Balkan Wars and effectively questions many of the assumptions of prevailing modern nation-state histories, which have long privileged the ethno-religious dimensions present in the Balkans. The authors go to great lengths in demonstrating the fluidity of social, geographical, and cultural boundaries before 1912 and call into question the “nationalist watershed” notion that was artificially imposed by manipulative historiography and political machinations following the end of fighting in 1913.

War and Nationalism
will be of interest to scholars looking to enrich their own understanding of an overshadowed historical event and will serve as a valuable contribution to courses on Ottoman and European history.

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White Enclosures
Racial Capitalism and Coloniality along the Balkan Route
Piro Rexhepi
Duke University Press, 2022
For all its history of intersecting empires, the Balkans has been rarely framed as a global site of race and coloniality. This, as Piro Rexhepi argues in White Enclosures is not surprising, given the perception of the Balkans as colorblind and raceless, a project that spans post-Ottoman racial formations, transverses Socialist modernity and is negotiated anew in the process of postsocialist Euro-Atlantic integration. Connecting severed colonial histories from the vantage point of body politic, Rexhepi turns to the borderland zones of the Balkans to trace past and present geopolitical attempts of walling whiteness. From efforts to straighten the sexualities of post-Ottoman Muslim subjects, to Yugoslav nonaligned solidarities between Muslims of the second and third world, to Roma displacement and contemporary emergence of refugee carceral technologies along the Balkan Route, Rexhepi points not only to the epistemic erasures that maintain the fantasy of whiteness but also to the disruption emanating from the solidarities between queer- and transpeople that fold the Balkans back into global efforts to resist the politics of racial capitalism. 

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