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Reviewed by
Dimitris Stamatopoulos, editor, Balkan Nationalism(s) and the Ottoman Empire. Vol. 1, National Movements and Representations. Vol. 2, Political Violence and the Balkan Wars. Vol. 3, The Young Turk Revolution and Ethnic Groups. Istanbul: Isis Press. 2015. Vol. 1, pp. 266. Vol. 2, pp. 212. Vol. 3, pp. 232. Paper. $85.

The University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki is emerging as an important powerhouse in Balkan Studies. Thanks to the energetic efforts of Dimitris Stamatopoulos, who organized three successful conferences in 2008, 2012, and 2016, we now have three volumes of deliberations, grouping some 37 contribution in three clusters (and three volumes): the growth of national movements in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, nationalism around the Young Turk Revolution, and aspects of the Balkan wars, specifically around the trope of violence.

The three volumes are prefaced by a brief but perceptive, theoretically savvy introduction by Stamatopoulos, offering a characterization of the historiography produced in the Balkans, from Orientalism to ethnocentrism to deconstruction to comparative history. The ambition is to link Ottoman and Balkan studies together and mutually enrich them, since these two fields have existed separately without a shared conversation. In many ways, this is a purely Greek endeavor, since in the other Balkan countries the exchange between the two fields has, to a great extent, already been achieved. Unusual for an introduction, the editor takes to task (although very respectfully) the keynote address (which is also the first contribution of the volumes), Miroslav Hroch's reflections on the Southeastern European type of nation-formation. Hroch has been deservedly celebrated for his useful model of nationalism among the small European nations, but his further forays outside his area of expertise are reproducing a number of deeply ingrained clichés.

There are a number of impressive articles in the first volume. However, there are also some that suffer from bad organization, as well as careless articulation and editing, and a few that could have been dropped safely. Evgenia [End Page 268] Davidova presents an informative analysis of the employment of bourgeoisie as a category in Balkan historiography over the last century, showing its complex, variegated, and at times contradictory use. She concludes for its continuous utility, but in the direction of a broader cultural understanding rather than as a static social formation. Raymond Detrez's fine deliberation on the meaning of Bulgarian in late eighteenth/early nineteenth-century Okhrid demonstrates the continuing preponderance of a common Romaic Orthodox identity, before nationalism supplanted it with a dominant linguistic one. Stamatopulos offers a microhistory of intercommunal relations in Thessaloniki in the 1870s in what emerges as the macrostudy (in terms of size) of this volume. By reconstructing in detail, and with a detective flair, the ousting of metropolitan Neophytos from his see, Stamatopulos manages to complicate the story of nationalization of the Greek and Bulgarian Orthodox communities at the moment of the legal disintegration of the Rum millet. He also shows the struggle for communal representation between different social strata, notably between what he defines as the grand bourgeoisie and the middling classes.

By the end of the nineteenth century, national allegiances clashed in an armed struggle, spurred by the irredentas of the new Balkan states. Developing Spyros Marketos's analysis of Ion Dragoumis as the central figure of Greek protofascism, John Mazis reevaluates and recontextualizes Dragoumis's ideas within the contemporary European intellectual landscape, notably Nietzschean thought. Looking at the architectural landscape and the toponymy in the newly acquired territories of the young Greek nation-state, Nicole Immig and Eleni Kyramargiou deal with aspects of de-Ottomanization and Hellenization. A couple of articles question the stereotypes of the eternal enmity between Muslims and Christians, even on the eve of the population exchanges, and highlight examples of peaceful coexistence. Finally, several contributions deal with literary works and their role in shaping national identities. Among them, Francesco La Rocca's insightful analysis of Gjergj Fishta's epic poem stands out.

In chronological sequence, volume 3 deals with the repercussions and responses to the Young Turk Revolution of 1908. Ileana Moroni's article serves as the introductory piece to this volume. With an alert eye to nuance, she describes both the reshaping of Ottomanism in the immediate wake of the revolution and the different versions of Ottomanism produced by the separate ethnic groups: Greek-Ottomanism, insisting on preserving the rights and privileges of the millet; Bulgaro-Ottomanism, as well as Serbo-Ottomanism and Vlacho-Ottomanism (all Moroni's new coinages), asserting the direct relationship between the individual and the state; and Turco-Ottomanism, [End Page 269] based on both the unconditional adherence to unity and the increase in people speaking the language of Turkism. Both Fujinami Nobuyoshi and Euripides Georganopoulos further elucidate the Greeks' insistence on the preservation of the millet privileges.

Several contributions deal with the specific reactions in Thessaloniki, the center of activity of the Committee for Union and Progress (CUP). Evangelos Hekimoglou describes the difficult maneuvering of the Greek community between asserting their own (and often not unified) political goals and the pressures from the CUP, the Patriarchate, and the Hellenic Kingdom. Rena Molho shows the catalytic effect of 1908 for the politicization of the large Jewish community. Two papers, Zorka Parvanova's and Yura Konstantinova's, both of which refer to 1908 as a coup d'état, deal with Bulgarian reactions. Parvanova looks at official policy and the spur that 1908 gave to a rapprochement with Greece for coordinated action against the Ottoman Empire, while Konstantinova stresses the effect of the Hurriyet (liberty) for cementing the split between the right and left wings among the Macedonian revolutionaries. Both papers on Albania (one by Ilir Kalemaj and Konstantinos Giakoumis, the other by James Tallon) stress the malleability of nascent Albanian nationalism, its oscillation between imperial loyalty and provincial autonomy, and the contingency of the independent state option. The welcome outlier in this volume is Duygu Coçkuntuna's article on women in the Ottoman fin-de-siècle, in which she analyzes Unionists' male perceptions of women alternatively as mothers, political collaborators, aliens, and symbols.

Volume 2 on political violence leading to the Balkan Wars is by far the strongest in this triptych, not least because its thematically and chronologically contained issues allow for an organic whole. Tasos Kostopoulos's paper on revolutionary and counterrevolutionary violence in the late Ottoman Empire, based on a close reading of a plethora of memoirs and archival documentation in three languages—Greek, Bulgarian, and Serbian—is a tour de force. In a mere twenty pages, it gives the clearest and most elegant account of the complicated Macedonian struggles I have read. Fuat Dündar draws attention to Macedonian casualty statistics as a subset of the utilization and instrumentalization of population statistics. Viewing the Balkan Wars as a stage in the process of nation-making, Vemund Aarbake shows the differential pace with which different social or ethnic strata accepted or contested this process. And his contribution from volume 3 (alongside Vasileios Koutsoukos and Georgios Niarchos) on the independent republic of Gumuljina in 1913 effectively belongs to this volume. Leonidas Rados, Ante Bralić, Igor Despot, and Cengiz Yolcu write, respectively, about the different reactions that the Balkan Wars produced [End Page 270] among politicians, diplomats, and literary figures in Romania, Dalmatia, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire. Karl Kaser proposes the bold hypothesis that the Balkan Wars represented a virtual visual revolution that introduced the Balkans to visual modernity through different visual media, mostly photography and documentary film. Only Michel De Dobbler's essay on Trotsky, for all its literary critical erudition, has little to say on the overarching concerns of this volume. Keith Brown offers an apt concluding essay on the centenary of the Balkan Wars. Reflecting on the Carnegie Report of 1914 (alongside other comparable cases) and its use of oral testimony, as well as on different modes of dealing with trauma, he argues for a theoretically informed and historically informed research that could "redirect the study of traumatic history toward forms of resolution" (vol. 2, p. 141).

To recapitulate, the greatest achievement of these volumes is that they have brought together established and younger scholars from all over and outside the Balkans, many of them dealing with problems outside their immediate national context in a refreshing manner. What one misses, and hopefully this will be accomplished in the next volume following the most recent conference, is a lengthier introduction from the able hands of the editor, as well as a concluding essay that can pull the strings together.

Maria Todorova
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Maria Todorova

Maria Todorova is Gutgsell Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, specializing in the history of the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire. She is the author of numerous books and articles on social and cultural history, historical demography, and historiography of the Balkans, with a focus on problems of nationalism and national memory. Her current research revolves around problems of early socialism, communism, and postcommunism.