Revising the Complex History of the Balkans

Blumi, Reinstating the OttomansCongratulations to Professor Isa Blumi of the History Department, who has recently published Reinstating the Ottomans: Alternative Balkan Modernities, 1800-1912 (2011).

Reinstating the Ottomans focuses on the western Balkans in the period 1820-1912, in particular on the peoples and social groups that the later national history would claim to have been Albanians, providing a revisionist exploration of national identity prior to the establishment of the nation-state. Blumi posits that such an identity was politically mobilized, and, that prior to the 1912 Balkan war this identity was culturally opaque and ideologically fluid. In relation to the competition among various state and power structures, be it in the shape of great power intervention, attempts at building new states or the Ottoman political center, Blumi shows that Ottoman reforms were successful in encouraging most subjects of the empire to commingle local interest with the fate of the empire. This meant that parochial concern for the survival of the immediate community, as it transformed over time, was directly linked to the survival of the Ottoman state. (From publisher’s information.)

Prof. Blumi is also the author of Rethinking the Late Ottoman Empire: A Comparative Social and Political History of Albania and Yemen, 1878-1918 (2003) and Chaos in Yemen: Societal Collapse and the New Authoritarianism (2011). He recently published an editorial article “In Yemen, Hardly a Revolution” in the Op-Ed section of the New York Times.

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