Balkans / Transit

An Unruly Younger Generation? Student Protest and the Macedonian Crisis

Student protest has been a regular occurrence in the Balkans in recent years. While the actions of students against austerity policies and budget cuts at Greek universities or the Gezi protests in Istanbul gained wider international notoriety, it was the western Balkan countries that provided for a model of student protest action that has been emulated throughout the region.
Read more

The Balkans’ New Normal

The Balkans is the European Union’s untold success story. The EU’s commitment to bringing the region within its borders remains firm. In September, Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, succeeded in breaking the deadlock in Serbia-Kosovo relations by bringing both sides back to the negotiating table. The EU’s soft power remains as …
Read more

The Balkans between cliché and European future

For the last two centuries the Balkans have been at the center of international relations, eclipsed lately only by the Near East, of which they were once deemed to be a part. At the beginning of the 20th century they were transformed from an innocuous name into a powerful derogatory metaphor that softened with time into a weaker but still negative cliché, to blow up fully again in the 1990s. After analyzing Europe and the Near East as analytical concepts, the lecture focuses on the Balkans as the posited intermediary space between them. Having demonstrated the limitations and shortcomings of the conceptual apparatus built around the notions of civilizations, cultural circles, intermediacy and indeterminacy, it introduces the category of historical legacy. The case is made for the advantages in utilizing the concept of historical legacy as an analytical tool over “path dependence,” as well as over more structural categories of analysis, such as borders, space, and territoriality, because it allows to articulate more clearly the dynamism and fluidity of historical change. Finally, practical issues of the relationship between Europe, the Balkans and the Near East in recent years are addressed, both analytically and politically.
Read more

Romania and the Balkans

From geocultural bovarism to ethnic ontology Imagining the Balkans, and oneself in relation to the Balkans, has been a Romanian intellectual pastime for roughly two centuries. Prior to that, Transylvanian Romanians tended to ignore whatever was going on south of the Danube, with the exception of Turkish expansion, especially after 1526 and the demise of …
Read more