In recent years, western discourse about the Balkans, or “balkanism,” has risen in prominence. Characteristically, this strand of research sidelines the academic input in the production of western representations and Balkan self-understanding. Looking at the Balkans from the vantage point of “balkanism” has therefore contributed to its further marginalization as an object of research and the evisceration of its agency. This book reverses the perspective and looks at the Balkans primarily inside-out, from within the Balkans towards its “self” and the outside world, where the west is important but not the sole referent.
The book unravels attempts at regional identity-building and construction of regional discourses across various generations and academic subcultures, with the aim of reconstructing the conceptualizations of the Balkans that have emerged from academically embedded discursive practices and political usages. It thus seeks to reinstate the subjectivity of “the Balkans” and the responsibility of the Balkan intellectual elites for the concept and the images it conveys. The book then looks beyond the Balkans, inviting us to rethink the relationship between national and transnational (self-)representation and the communication between local and exogenous – Western, Central and Eastern European – concepts and definitions more generally. It thus contributes to the ongoing debates related to the creation of space and historical regions, which feed into rethinking the premises of the “new area studies.” Beyond Balkanism: The Scholarly Politics of Region Making will interest researchers and students of transnationalism, politics, historical geography, border and area studies.
Table of Contents
1. A Concept with Many Names
2. The Emergence of the Balkans as a Cultural-Historical Space
3. The Balkans as Autospace
4. The Balkans on the European Map
5. Nationalism in Transnational Guise
6. In the orbit of Eastern Europe
7. A Sonderweg or a Metaphor?
Diana Mishkova is Professor of History and Director of the Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia, Bulgaria.