Balkan Worlds IV: The ‘Great Ideas’ of the Balkans (18th – 20th c.)

Balkan Worlds IV: The ‘Great Ideas’ of the Balkans (18th – 20th c.)

Ημερομηνία: 29.11.2018

Τόπος: Thessaloniki

This year marks the 30thanniversary of the publication of Elli Skopetea’s To ‘Protypo Vasileio’ kai I Megali Idea(The ‘Model Kingdom’ and the Great Idea). The publication of this monograph was the first attempt by the Greek historiography to analyze the complex ideological phenomenon of the 19th-century emerging Greek nationalism and to compare it with ‘Načertaniye’, the correspondent national irredentist project of the Serbs which was expressed simultaneously in 1844.

The 4thInternational Conference of the Balkan Worlds which will be held on November 29th– December 1st, 2018 at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Greece, will be dedicated to the “Great Ideas” of the Balkan national movements (18th-20thc.): from the Greek ‘Megali Idea’ and the Serbian ‘Načertaniye’, to the Great Bulgaria of San Stefano, different versions of Illyrianism and Yugoslavism, the unity visions of Romanian, Slav-Macedonian or Albanian nationalists, and even Zionism – as the latter was adopted or rejected in the form of a national ideology by Jewish communities in the Balkans – to the various permutations of the imperial ideologies of the Ottomans (Ottomanism, Pan-Islamism, Pan-Turkism) the Habsburgs or the Romanovs.

But, how should ‘Great Idea’ be defined? ‘Great Ideas’ were initially irredentist visions of Balkan peoples in their effort to restore their “ancient” or the “medieval” glories in the territories of the Ottoman or Austrian Empire. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to identify ‘Great Ideas’ solely with irredentism; ‘Great Ideas’ were the extreme boundaries of the national ‘imagined communities’, the way in which these communities had to redefine themselves in order to include or to exclude populations in or from the ‘national core’, to compete with the imperial (Ottoman or Austrian) model and lead to the latter’s demise, to communicate with European versions of pan-nationalist ideological movements, such as Pan-Germanism, or Pan-Slavism, and imperial ideologies of the Colonial and Continental Empires. Through different perceptions of race, ethnicity, or religion, these movements raised the question of tracing national differences via broader ideological formations. More specifically, the conference will include the following themes:

  • Theories of ethnogenesis/-es and ‘Great Ideas’
  • Imperial ideologies and ‘Great Ideas’
  • Pan-nationalisms and ‘Great Ideas’
  • Religions and ‘Great Ideas’
  • National domestic policies and ‘Great Ideas’
  • National foreign policies and ‘Great Ideas’
  • State-building and ‘Great Ideas’
  • Nation-building and ‘Great Ideas’
  • National, Religious, Ethnic or other minorities and ‘Great Ideas’
  • Wars and Great Ideas
  • Imaginary, time and spatial, borders/limits of the ‘Great Ideas’

The Conference will be organized by the Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies and its Laboratory of History of the Eastern and Southeastern Europe in collaboration with Association Internationale d’Etudes du Sud-Est Europeen.

The members of the conference Scientific Committee will be:

  • Eyal Ginio (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  • Stefanos Katsikas (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Christina Koulouri, (Panteion University, Athens)
  • Ivan Parvev (University of Sofia)
  • Dimitris Stamatopoulos (University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki)

Professor John Breuilly (The London School of Economics and Political Science) will be the conference’s keynote speaker. The title of his presentation:

“The rise and fall of pan-nationalisms, c.1870-1950”

Please see in detail the  Final Programme HERE

On behalf of the Scientific Committee

Dimitris Stamatopoulos
Professor in Balkan and Late Ottoman History
Dept. of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies
University of Macedonia
156 Egnatia Str.
54006 Thessaloniki