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Whose Bosnia?: Nationalism and Political Imagination in the Balkans, 1840-1914 (Hardback)
  • Whose Bosnia?: Nationalism and Political Imagination in the Balkans, 1840-1914 (Hardback)
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Whose Bosnia?: Nationalism and Political Imagination in the Balkans, 1840-1914 (Hardback)

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£36.00
Hardback 288 Pages / Published: 18/11/2015
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As the site of the assassination that triggered World War I and the place where the term "ethnic cleansing" was invented during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, Bosnia has become a global symbol of nationalist conflict and ethnic division. But as Edin Hajdarpasic shows, formative contestations over the region began well before 1914, emerging with the rise of new nineteenth-century forces-Serbian and Croatian nationalisms as well as Ottoman, Habsburg, Muslim, and Yugoslav political movements-that claimed this province as their own. Whose Bosnia? reveals the political pressures and moral arguments that made this land a prime target of escalating nationalist activity.To explain the remarkable proliferation of national movements since the nineteenth century, Hajdarpasic draws on a vast range of sources-records of secret societies, imperial surveillance files, poetry, paintings, personal correspondences-spanning Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Turkey, and Austria. Challenging conventional readings of Balkan histories, Whose Bosnia? provides new insight into central themes of modern politics, illuminating core subjects like "the people," state-building, and national suffering. Hajdarpasic uses South Slavic debates over Bosnian Muslim identity to propose a new figure in the history of nationalism: the (br)other, a character signifying at the same time the potential of being both "brother" and "Other," containing the fantasy of both complete assimilation and insurmountable difference. By bringing such figures into focus, Whose Bosnia? shows nationalism to be an immensely dynamic and open-ended force, one that eludes any clear sense of historical closure.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801453717
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 624 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Scholars of the Balkans and beyond, have been waiting for an account like this for a long time-an account that is not afraid to ask difficult questions; approach them studiously, seriously, and in an interdisciplinary fashion; and answer them in a way that is supported by vast amount of evidence, grace, and honesty."

* H-SAE *

"This book introduces new perspectives to our understanding of nationalism in Bosnia, which was, as Hajdarpasic persuasively argues, imported from neighboring countries. Given the wealth of primary sources on which Hajdarpasic draws, his inquiry goes into an amazing level of detail and offers an immense range of information. It will be particularly useful to students and scholars of history, political science, cultural anthropology, sociology, and linguistics."

* Hungarian Historical Review *

"Elegantly written and full of unexpected (re)readings and provocative insights, this work towers over the already respectable stack of books on the cultural history of nationalism. What makes this work attractive is the wide culture and sophistication displayed, the ease with which Hajdarpasic moves from literary to philosophical allusions, the erudite interdisciplinary sweep, from anthropology to sociology and political science. This, more than the 'grounded theory,' really 'de-provincializes' its subject, and makes the work an important contribution not only to East European literature broadly, but to nationalism studies in general."

* Austrian History Yearbook *

"A remarkably refreshing study that conveys clearly just how difficult it was for activists and governments not only to implant national consciousness in people largely indifferent to the idea, but, once they had done so, to guide its growth along lines that they could control.... Hajdarpasic's work makes an extremely valuable contribution to our understanding of the nineteenth-century Balkans and the roots of the fixation on nationalism evident in this area of history. It also should interest scholars in the wider field of nationalism studies, as it adopts an empirically grounded theoretical approach centered not only on the concept of the (br)other but on the open-ended nature of nationalism, which neither is controllable nor has any clear endpoint.... Hajdarpasic's work sets a new standard in modern Balkan history and should become a pillar of the field."

* The American Historical Review *

"This is an impressive book, complex and challenging.... well-crafted, compellingly written, and extensively researched. It is probably the most important text to have been published on this subject in the English language."

* Slavic Review *

"As a former Bosnian now living in the US, [Hajdarpasic] seeks a new paradigm-conceptually innovative and historical in its methodology-to obviate the vicissitudes of internecine nationalism in Bosnia.... Recommended."

* Choice *

"A much-needed contribution that helps us understand not only contemporary Serbian and Croatian aspirations towards B-H, but also the roots of many notable artistic and cultural productions about the region.... An excellent historiographic work."

* Slavic and East European Journal *

"Hajdarpasic successfully sheds light on how the discourses surrounding the nationalistic ambitions of some (mostly outsiders) fail to productively harness the peoples inhabiting the region.... Where the author excels is in seeing the locally produced manifestations of nationalist patriotism as adaptive, and thus dynamic, products of local contexts in which those involved lived."

* International Journal of Turkish Studies *

"Hajdarpasic's book is timely and relevant, not only in what it has to tell us about the binary nature of debates about national identity in the period treated by the book but also in southeastern Europe today.... The book also functions very well as a cultural history of Bosnia and Herzegovina and tackles an impressive number of literary and artistic works.... A very valuable and welcome addition to the English-language historiography of Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically, and of the Balkans and nationalism studies more generally."

* The Journal of Modern History *

"Hajdarpasic has written an insightfully nuanced, relevant and very much archival source- based monograph on transnational Serbian, Croatian and Bosnia-Herzegovina intellectual discourses during the long nineteenth century. His point of reference is an extraordinary spec- trum of nationalists - ethnographers, insurgents, teachers, academics, poets, politicians, and other actors often grouped together as intellectuals - who dreamed about and vied for the right to call Bosnia their own.... Hajdarpasic has contributed a valuable, exquisitely creative and in- sightful journey into the "South Slav problem" by southern European minds."

* Jahrbcher fr Geschichte Osteuropas *

"Whose Bosnia? is the most exciting and original work on Balkan nationalism in decades. Focusing on nationalist imagination, Edin Hajdarpasic offers a fresh interpretation of nationalization as an unsettling and productive force, a 'shifting horizon' that can never quite be reached. His nuanced readings of political tracts, poetry, ethnography, music, travel guides, literature, artwork, and more should fascinate and stimulate anyone interested in the history or ongoing reality of nationalist conflict around the globe."

-- Tara Zahra, University of Chicago

"Whose Bosnia? is a welcome critical alternative both to the nationalist obsessions of many academics in the region today, and to the often shockingly ahistoric views of the region expressed in the popular press and academic writings in both Europe and the United States. In this intellectually courageous book Edin Hajdarpasic masterfully reveals the complex ways in which local activists in Bosnia linked themselves to different national and imperial projects at different times. Restoring the Ottoman and Habsburg pasts to Balkan history, Hajdarpasic questions the very usefulness of terms like 'nation' and `empire.' Far from constituting opposed concepts and political projects, he demonstrates how nationhood and empire in fact depended on each other for their explanatory coherence. More than that, the two made use of similar language and similar ideas."

-- Pieter M. Judson, European University Institute

"In Whose Bosnia?, Edin Hajdarpasic breaks ice and opens up new waters for exploration. Hajdarpasic views the inherent inability to complete the nation-building process through the case of nineteenth-century Bosnia. This book is an intellectual and cultural history of attempted solutions to period questions and the proliferation of questions that was the result."

-- Holly Case, Brown University, and author of Between States

"This seminal work reads like the magnum opus of a senior scholar rather than a first-time author; it should top the list of readings recommended to explain the often perplexing omnipresence of nationalism in Bosnia's modern history. By convincingly reconceptualizing the character of national movements and presenting myriad invaluable insights, Edin Hajdarpasic deepens our understanding of the phenomenon in the Balkans and beyond."

-- Robert Donia, University of Michigan

"Hajdarpasic's engagingly written book is a welcomed contribution to the studies of nationalism in general and late imperial Bosnia in particular. He successfully demonstrates how the writings of many national activists are studded with inconcsistencies, contradictions, half-knowledge, insults, irrational eruptions, expressions of hatred, calls for violent actions, and absurdities."

* Sudost-Forschungen *

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