A Feeling of Crisis? Part 2

posted by ush on 2009/04/27 10:35

[ Balkans ]

In the second session Rossitza Gradeva gave an overview over the development of foci and definitions of Balkan Studies and the Balkans in connection or in contrary or supplementing Ottoman studies.

While knowledge and material and textual sources create their own dynamics of interest and knowledge, politics, funding, and social constructs of identity often are channeling institutions and personal careers into different directions, as has best been shown by anti-Turkish politics. In sum, both Ottoman and Balkan Studies are constantly in flux, both because, as well as although sources and state politics contradict each other. The Ottoman history has considerable impact on identity building, and discoveries of new sources, as fatwas, for example, depict a transnational globalized society of the far and the near past.

Christian Marchetti discussed the construction of a discipline and institutions in the case of Michael and Arthur Haberlandt and Austrian ethnography, built up as a journey elsewhere (though within the era of colonialism not necessarily overseas) and with the intention to close the gap between urban and rural cultures. He showed that institutional politics followed biographical and individual intentions. Thus, agency in the field of science-knowledge-politics-interest could be redefined as complex interplay of discourses, practices, and power.

Session three has been started by Zrinka Blazevic fundamental paper on the strengthening of the transnational and translational paradigm in Balkan Studies. Based on essential spatial concepts of global studies and postcolonail studies, she pleaded for the study of social and communicative spaces in and of the Balkans in order to meet the sense of crisis created by exclusive narrative strategies and identity politics. The research of dynamic spaces could integrate Balkan Studies in general global studies; moreover, the heterogeneity of the Balkan region could be of special importance for the thourough analysis of transnationality and cultural translation.

Maximilian Hartmuth strengthened his argument of a crisis in Balkan Studies in his paper. He outlined the over-critically historiographies of Western scholar in opposition to local historiographies still serving nation-building or even nationalist tendencies. While stereotypes of Balkan-ness are produced by both, other modes of writing history such as material history or art history stay almost invisible. Moreover, the use of visual material often is contradictory to its own history and condition of production. Thus, paintings are often used as photographic material attesting historical events, on the one hand. On the other hand, Balkan art is often labelled provincial and attracts interest only in limited context in the Western world.


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Editor

Einblicke in Editor's Welt. Interessiert an Geisteswissenschaften, staunend über Medien, Tendenz zum Bizzarren, vor allem in der Literatur. Über Anregungen, Kritiken, Kommentare freuen sich Usha Reber (editor@kakanien.ac.at und János Békési (webmaster@kakanien.ac.at).
The workshop Balkan Studies - quo vadis? is held on April 25, 2009.

Venue: HS, Inst. Slawistik, AAKH / Campus
The programme is to be found here, the abstracts are available as Balkan Studies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and as pdf.
Ort: HS, IOG, AAKH, Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Wien
Zeit: 2. bis 4. April 2009
Veranstalter: IOG, Kk.rev
Funding: Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung, Köln

Programm, Abstracts (.pdf)
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