Beyond Balkanism? From Symbolic Geographies to Politics
Diana Mishkova în dialog Sorin Antohi
Over the last decades, a transnational debate on the Balkans and on Balkanism (as a concept/trope that is simultaneously defined, promoted, embraced, dreaded, Orientalized, and deconstructed) has yielded an impressive and sophisticated series of ideas, conferences, and publications. The books of Maria Todorova and Larry Wolff have shown how ‘Balkans’ and ‘Eastern Europe’ have gradually crystallized during the Enlightenment, and how they have evolved over time, both in the West (their site of emergence) and in the relevant geocultural areas. A more thorough and complex debate on historical regions that has taken place more recently has largely de-dramatized and de-stigmatized the various peripheries of our continent, making transregional comparative research possible, and overarching interpretations plausible. All the more, time has come to take stock of this debate and to revisit it critically.
Starting from her brilliant recent book, Beyond Balkanism: The Scholarly Politics of Region Making (New York: Routledge, 2018), Diana Mishkova talks to Sorin Antohi about the sources, concepts, discourses, and contexts of Balkanism, and about the chances of moving beyond.
About Diana Mishkova
Diana Mishkova (b. 1958) is one of the most distinguished scholars and academic leaders from Southeastern Europe who have made it to the transnational scene. She has studied History at Sofia University. She has specialized in the modern and contemporary history of Southeastern Europe and has been, since 2000, the director of the Center for Advanced Study Sofia, which she has turned into a major site of research, international conferences and collective projects. Foreign Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Doctor Honoris Causa of Södertörn University, Stockholm. Her research focuses on comparative Balkan history, history of nationalism, intellectual history, and historiography. Her numerous publications include the following monographs and (co) edited volumes: Beyond Balkanism: The Scholarly Politics of Region Making (New York: Routledge, 2018); European Regions and Boundaries. A Conceptual History, coedited with Balázs Trencsényi (London: Berghahn Books, 2017); Entangled Histories of the Balkans. Vol. 2: Transfer of Political Ideologies and Institutions, and Vol. 4: Concepts, Approaches, and (Self-) Representations, co-edited with Roumen Daskalov et al. (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2014, 2017); ‘Regimes of Historicity’ in Southeastern and Northern Europe, 1890-1945: Discourses of Identity and Temporality (co-edited with Balázs Trencsényi and Marja Jalava), London and New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014; Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast Europe (1789-1945). Texts and Commentaries. Vol. 4: Anti-Modernism: Radical Revisions of Collective Identity (co-edited with Marius Turda and Balázs Trencsényi, introduction by Sorin Antohi and Balázs Trencsényi), Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2014; Българският комунизъм – дебати и интерпретации [Bulgarian Communism – Debates and Interpretations] (co-edited with M. Gruev), Sofia: Centre for Advanced Study and RIVA Publishers, 2013; We, the People. Politics of National Peculiarity in Southeastern Europe (ed.), Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2009; Балканският XIX век. Други прочити [The Balkan Nineteenth Century. Other Readings], (ed.), Sofia: Centre for Advanced Study Sofia & RIVA Publishers, 2006. Приспособяване на свободата. Модерност-легитимност в Сърбия и Румъния през XIX век. [Domestication of Freedom. Modernity-Legitimacy in Serbia and Romania in the Nineteenth Century], Sofia: Paradigma, 2001. More information at https://www.cas.bg/en/Prof-Diana-Mishkova.html.