Abstract: During and following the Balkan Wars and World War I, the Balkans saw massive forced migration waves that have often been described as a process of "ethnic unmixing" and reinforced the image of Balkan exceptionalism among Western European observers. By focusing on the migrations between Bulgaria and Greece in the period before the wars, Thedora Dragostinova presents a much more fluid and ambiguous situation of people taking multiple factors into consideration when deciding on their place of residence and therefore challenging state attempts to define and control border, citizens, and national bodies. She claims that many of these behaviors were also evident in the period after the wars when people continued to proactively choose between their homes and homelands.
Speaker Bio: Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign M.A., University of Florida B.A., University of Athens, Greece
Theodora Dragostinova's work focuses on nation-building, refugee movements, and minority politics in eastern Europe, with a particular emphasis on the Balkans. She is the author of Between Two Motherlands: Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks of Bulgaria, 1900-1949 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011). Professor Dragostinova has received grants and fellowships from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and the American Historical Association. The dissertation on which her book is based received the John O. Iatrides Prize from the Modern Greek Studies Association for the best English-language dissertation on a Greek topic. Her work has appeared in Nationalities Papers, Slavic Review, and East European Politics and Societies.
Her second book, tentatively entitled Communist Extravaganza, is a transnational study of the years of late socialism in Bulgaria through an examination of cultural politics and national commemorations that combines archival work with oral history interviews. She is also working on the project “Making Nations: The Struggle over National Classifications in (Post-) Ottoman Macedonia,” which will explore broader issues of borderlands and identities in the Balkans.
Professor Dragostinova teaches courses on “Empires and Nations in Eastern Europe, 1453-1919,” “Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century,” “Displaced Persons in Eastern Europe,” “Communism in Eastern Europe,” “Nationalism in Eastern Europe,” and “European Civilization since 1600.”
In October 2011, Professor Dragostinova organized, together with Yana Hashamova (OSU Slavic), the conference “Beyond Mosque, Church, and State: Negotiating Religious and Ethno-National Identities in the Balkans.”
This event is free and open to the public.