BEYOND MOSQUE, CHURCH, AND STATE
Alternative Narratives of the Nation in the Balkans
Edited by Theodora Dragostinova and Yana Hashamova
Theodora Dragostinova is Associate Professor
of History atOhio StateUniversity.
Yana Hashamova is Professor of Slavic
and Chair of the Department of Slavic and
East European Languages and Cultures
at Ohio State University.
Journalists and policy-makers in the West
have often assumed that the religious
and ethno-national heterogeneity of the
Balkans is the underlying reason for the
numerous problems the area has faced
throughout the twentieth century. The
multiple and turbulent political transitions
in the area, the dynamics of the
interaction between Christianity and
Islam, the contradictory and constantly
shifting nationality policies, and the fluctuating
identities of the diverse populations
continue to be seen as major
challenges to the stability of the region.
By exploring the development of intricate
religious, linguistic, and national
dynamics in a variety of case studies
throughout the Balkans, this volume
demonstrates the existence of alternatives
and challenges to nationalism in the area.
The authors analyze a variety of national,
non-national, and anti-national(ist)
encounters in four areas—Bosnia, Bulgaria,
Macedonia, and Albania—traditionally
seen as “hot-beds” of nationalist agitation
and tension resulting from their populations'
religious or ethno-national
diversity. In their entirety, the contributions
in this volume chart a more complex
picture of the national dynamics. The
authors recognize the existence of
national tensions both in historical perspective
and in contemporary times, but
also suggest the possibility of different
paths to the nation that did not involve
violence but allowed for national accommodation
Beyond Mosque, Church, and State is essential reading for anyone seeking
to move beyond beguiling clichés and simplistic generalizations about
the Balkans to search for deeper, empirically grounded understandings
of the region. In a spirited introduction and eleven well-researched
individual case studies, the book s distinguished contributors issue a fullthroated retort to those prone to reduce Balkan history to violent contention
among nations and religious communities. Each author demonstrates
the paucity of those time-worn paradigms and then proposes
alternative conceptual frameworks conducive to more accurate, nuanced
explanations of the region s past and present. Together the contributors
have made a compelling case while producing a richly informative collection
Robert J. Donia, University of Michigan, author of “Sarajevo: A Biography”
This collection, written by a group of accomplished Balkanologists, is a
welcome contribution to the growing literature questioning the conventional
narrative of ethno-national and religious violence in the Balkans
by stressing the complexity and fluidity of national and religious allegiances.
In a few case studies centered on Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, and Macedonia,
the authors offer valuable readings on the different ways society
and the state cope with heterogeneity. The principal value of the volume
lies in its consistent interdisciplinarity, including insights from history,
literature, political science, sociology, linguistics, and musicology.
Maria Todorova, Gutgsell Professor of History, University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign, author of “Imagining the Balkans”
This fascinating volume delivers the deathblowto persistent stereotypes
of Balkan violence and victimhood. The authors not only deliver the
alternative narratives of the nation promised in the title, but their rich
case materials, both historical and contemporary, force us to rethink
how we interpret official and mainstream discourses of the nation as
well. As such, it is a must read for anyone interested in the Balkans or
nationalism anywhere else in theworld.
Gerald Creed, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, author of “Masquerade and Postsocialism: Ritual and Cultural Dispossession in Bulgaria”
Read the Table of Contents and Preface here.
332 pages, 8 photos, 2016
$60.00 / €52.00 / £40.00
"An interdisciplinary collection of impressive breadth and depth, the authors tackle topics from history, culture, linguistics, musicology, film studies and political science. Compiling an impressive list of contributors, whose work is first rate, the volume offers a rare comparative perspective of the following areas: Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania.
These essays demonstrate exceptions to the long held but erroneous presumptions about the Balkans: that they are most often lands of ethnic conflicts and tense communal relations. Well-chosen case-studies help to unravel notions of the inevitability of violent nationalism." - Mari
Professor of History,
University of Hartford