Elias G. Skoulidas

Identities, Locality and Otherness in Epirus during the Late Ottoman period


“Epirus” represents a historiographical example for the study of local history regarding the methodology of cultural anthropology (use of terms “locality” and “otherness”). Our paper is related to the period of tanzimat in the Ottoman Empire and the formation of national movements in the Balkans. At that period the public discourse expressed by Epirotan intellectuals for their region draws our attention. We are interested in the way these Epirotan intellects perceive “Epirus”. During the period we examine the prefecture of the Ottoman Empire was called “vilayet of Yanya” and included the region from the middle of today’s Albania (district of Berat) to the Amvrakikos Gulf. We mainly focus on two aspects: A. Regarding locality: the identity of these persons, their relation with the national centre. The impact of locality and the reality they experience on their ideas about the place itself. B. Regarding otherness: the “perception of the other”, problems of identities. We detect the reasons of their accordance or discord with the dominating discourse of the national centre. Finally, within the bounds of a historiographical research at the beginning of the 21st century we make an attempt to connect history with cultural identity. Mainly, we focus on the discourse of persons like P.Aravantinos, I. Lampridis, H. Hristovassilis but, as well, Th. Havellas, Serafeim Vyzantios and others about the perception of “Epirus” as territorialism and also as “community of nostalgy”. At the same time most of them are related to the greek national discourse and it is interesting to describe their differentiazation towards the “other” : muslims and jews, albanians, ottomans, aromanians (vlachs) etc. Also, the perception of terms like: “ηπειρωτικόν έθνος”, “ελληνοαλβανοί”, “ημιελληνικόν ή γραικοαλβανικόν στοιχείον” etc. We, also, try to find the different ideas described by “Epirotan” intellectuals in Constantinople. We have to deal with people in close relations with Associations like “Ηπειρωτικός Φιλεκπαιδευτικός Σύλλογος” and the mentalities they carry (i.e. “ελληνοθωμανισμός”).

Η ανακοίνωση (PDF)