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Cultural nationalism in the Balkans during the nineteenth century:

Scholarly and intellectual institutions and networks in a multi-ethnic region

Progress report


          Contacts and extensions

          Conference attendance, guest lectures, publications


          Progress of the various PhD projects

          Links and acknowledgements

Contacts and extensions

Since its incipience, the Balkan Project has profited from the acquaintance and participation of scholars outside Amsterdam.

          Contacts with the University of Gent are particularly fruitful. Under the supervision of Professor Raymond Detrez, chair of the University's Centre for East-European Studies, Ingrid Merchiers is pursuing PhD project on the European network of Jernej Kopitar (funded by the Flemish funding authority FWO). Ms Merchiers is a closely involved non-Amsterdam member of the Balkan project. Her superviser, Professor Detrez, is a frequent guest in Amsterdam, and the Amsterdam project members have repeatedly visited Gent.

          Dr. Ivana Zivancevic Sekerus of the University of Novi Sad has spent various research sojourns at the department of European Studies at the University of Amsterdam, and has also been an informal participant of the Balkan Project.

          Vienna has been an important cultural centre for expatriate intellectuals from South-Eastern Europe, and the University of Vienna is home to the oldest Chair in Slavic Philology in Europe. Research there has been greatly facilitated by our contacts, gracious and fruitful, with Professor Katja Sturm-Schnabl, Professor of Slovene Studies.

          Dr. Diana Mishkova of the Sofia Institute for Avanced Studies and Dr. Balasz Trecsenyi of the Central European University have developed a programme entitled xxx. A joint workshop was held in Amsterdam on 17-18 January 2002 with visitors from Hungary and Bulgaria. A workshop to explore further possible collaborative projects was hosted by the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS).

          Leerssen has been invited to join the ESF project Representations of the past: The writing of national histories in Europe, on national and nationalist historiography, and will in the process ensure an adequate focus on Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

          In the United States, a funding proposal from contacts at Harvard University on the Croat historical novelist Šenoa involves the Balkan Project and, if honoured, will be pursued in conjunction with it.

          Likewise, an exploratory workshop has been approved by the European Science Foundation, to be held in December 2005, under the title "From Europe to nations and back again: Scholarly editing between the universal appeal of the classics and the national pasts".

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Conference attendance, guest lectures, publications

          Members of the Balkan project have jointly written an article on the nineteenth-century national appropriations of SS. Cyril and Methodius. This article has been accepted for publication by the Bulgarian Historical Review.

          The Balkan project has hosted a Round Table at the 2002 ASN conference, at the Forlì Campus of the university of Bologna, on nation-building and nationalism in South-Eastern Europe.

          Ingrid Merchiers has presented papers at the following conferences: @

          Roel Schuyt has presented a paper at the conference on Developing Cultural Identity in the Balkans: Convergence vs. Divergence held at the Universitry of Gent, December 2003.

          Floris van Nierop and Janette Sampimon have attended the workshop "Meeting the other" of the Europaeum and Charles University in Prague in September 2002, as well as Summer schools at Novi Sad. Sampimon, moreover, attended Summer schools at the University of Veliko Târnovo has given a guest lecture at that university.

          Joep Leerssen has given a guest lecture at the University of Novi Sad's "Centre for Advanced European Studies and Research ("CAESAR").

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On a monthly basis, the Balkan Project has held internal study days on relevant topics. These ranged widely and included:

          18th- and 19th-century history of printing in the region

          history of educational initiatives

          the importance of extra-regional centres such as Vienna, Odessa, Budapest

          relations and transtion between Enlightenment improving initiatives and romantic nationalism

          the social organization of learning and network theory

          the development of antiquarianism into philology

          other Balkan cultures: Vlachs, Albanians

          the Phanariots

          history and regional organization of the Orthodox church

          the Ottoman millet system

          regional patterns in the 1821 rebellion

          The Bucharest lyceum as a training ground for regional intellectuals

          theories of nationalism

The Balkan Project has taken part in the various activities organized for PhD researchers by the Huizinga Institute.

          Sampimon and Van Nierop have presented portions of their project at the Huizinga seminar in Barchem, October 2004.

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Progress of the various PhD projects

          The Serbian project (van Nierop) has completed chapters on the history of Serb printing and the role of Matica Srpska

          The Bulgarian project (Sampimon) has completed chapters on Beron, Piccolo, Venelin, Aprilov, and larger thematic studies

          The Greek project (Janssen) has completed chapters on Greek printing outside Greece and the periodical press

          The Romanian project (Kom) has completed chapters on Ion Heliade Radulescu and Balcescu

          A synoptic study is in preparation, to be written jointly by Leerssen and Schuyt, involving a general-theoretical introduction and serval transversal case studies.

          At each stage, finding are being exchanged between the researchers, including Ms Merchiers of Gent, several chapters of whose work on Jernej Kopitar have been completed.

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Links and acknowledgements

We have profited gratefully from the work by the eminent Dr. Robert Elsie on a culture not covered in our project: Albania. Dr. Elsie's History of Albanian Literature has been invaluable, as is his website, @.

Other recommended websites: @

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