- Purchase/rental options available:
American missionaries have played complicated roles in shaping Southeastern Europe since the mid-nineteenth century. Sometimes welcomed as proponents of new ideas, particularly in education, they and their local assistants have also been depicted as foreign intruders. But whereas their cultural impact in institutionalizing vernacular education and gender reform in the region has spurred groundbreaking academic research, their political activism remains unknown and unstudied. In Ottoman Görice (Korçë), a peripheral town on the present Greek-Albanian border, American Protestant missionaries and Albanian Christian workers founded a nondenominational mission in 1908 and rapidly constructed a religious-nationalist vision for a Protestant and independent Albania in 1913. Although their arrival was initially greeted with antagonism from the local Orthodox and Muslim establishments, their vernacular activism gradually became a political tool of nationalist differentiation. By exploring how these newcomers reinterpreted Orthodox protectionism into supposed Greek persecution in particular, this article seeks to determine the political impact of American Protestantism on Albanian-Greek relations.