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Revolutions in the Balkans. Revolts and uprisings in the era of nationalism (1084-1908)

Conference venue: Athens (Greece)
Period: Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2013
Deadline for submitting abstracts: April 1, 2013

Description of the Conference

The chronological frame of the conference extends from the first Serbian uprising (1804) to the Young Turk Revolution (1908). During these hundred years, the map of Southeastern Europe was reshaped through a series of revolutionary movements, mainly national and liberal. Besides, this part of Europe, mostly under Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman rule, experienced the echo of the European revolutions in 1830 and 1848, and of the unification of Italy and of Germany.

They may claim that the “Age of Revolutions” in the Balkans expanded until the early twentieth century. Starting from the main thematic axis of revolutionary movements in the Balkans, the
objective is to revisit the existing literature in order to put new questions in a comparative and multiperspective way. They are interested in new empirical data that will support comparative thinking about various Balkan cases but also with reference to the Western paradigm. Fields of study could be the personnel involved in different ways in these movements (focusing particularly on the role of women), the diverse ways Europe and the West responded to these movements and how these movements mirrored European developments, the varied identities (pre-existing or under construction) and the ways these movements were commemorated in different national contexts during the nineteenth and the twentieth century. A specific emphasis is placed on the economic and social  parameters of revolts as well as on reforms initiated in order to prevent social upheavals or as a result of the modernization project. Experiencing the Revolution at the local and everyday life level by ordinary people will also be an important field of study.

The main aim of the conference is to convey a multi-disciplinary analysis of the question what a “Revolution” in the Balkans was during the long nineteenth century in a broader semantic and social context: "Is it possible to build a typology of revolutionary movements in the Balkans? What is the relation of these movements with the ones in Western Europe of that time? Is there a kind of “revolutionary recipe” travelling around Europe via cultural transfers? What are the local characteristics of revolts in different parts of South-East Europe? Who were the revolutionaries? Which is the relation between Revolution and Reform? Which is the historiography and which is the memory of these movements?

It is also important to investigate the instances of what was opposite to Revolution, its conceptual ‘other’ under different faces: counter-revolution; reform; evolutionism/traditionalism; alternative loyalties etc.

Eligible topics for the conference

The conference will be organized around the following themes:

  • Nationalism and the creation of nation-states: different cases and processes of nation-building expressed through revolts and uprisings. Alternative forms of political loyalty and group identity that were competitors to nationalism.
  • People: Intellectuals, Military, Politicians, Women. We are particularly interested in “hybrid” cases and fluid identities -personalities participating in other than their national revolutionary movement or changing identity during their life.
  • Counter-revolutions: the fear of revolution; reactions to revolutions from the old political and social order.
  • Revolts and Violence: violence as part of traditional societies; violence as catalyst in historical change; revolutionary violence; the stereotype of a “Balkan” violence.
  • The everyday life during a revolution: City and country; how ordinary people experience a revolutionary movement; changes in people’s lives as long as a revolt lasts; the everyday life of revolutionaries.
  • Symbols and rituals of a revolution: Flags, songs, all forms of symbolic expression.
  • Europe and the Balkans: Responses to the Balkan revolutionary movements in the West and how the West perceived these events; cultural transfers between Western and Southeastern Europe (ideas, people, vocabulary); transfer of western ideologies in a Balkan context; the role of the “Great Powers”.
  • Tradition, Modernization and Reform: Traditional and modernizing elements in revolutionary movements; reforms as a result of revolutionary movements; reforms without revolts; reforms in order to avoid revolts.
  • Historiography: National historiography on revolutionary movements; western historiography; alternative and revisionist approaches.
  • Art and Memory: Commemoration of revolts, uprisings and revolutions. How art represents these events then and how memory deals with them over time.

Scientific Committee

- Prof. Halil Berktay, Sabanci University, Istanbul
- Prof. Hannes Grandits, Humboldt University, Berlin
- Assoc. Prof. Alexander Kitroeff, Haverford College, USA
- Prof. Christina Koulouri, Panteion University, Athens
- Prof. Diana Mishkova, Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia
- Prof. Stefanos Papageorgiou, Panteion University, Athens
- Assoc. Prof. Dubravka Stojanovic, University of Belgrade

Guidelines for submission

We welcome proposals for papers of 15-20 minutes from established scholars, postdoctoral researchers, postgraduate students, independent researchers and educators from various backgrounds. Submission of 300-word proposals in English (abstract only; no full papers) along with short bios should be sent to  by 1 April 2013.
Since funding to cover the entire conference is not certified yet, guests are encouraged, if indeed they have this possibility, to acquire individual funding from their home Institution.
We will notify for the approved papers by 15 May 2013. 


Organizing Committee

- Christina Koulouri (Panteion University)
- Kostas Katsapis (KENI, Panteion University)
- Alexandra Patrikiou (KENI, Panteion University)
- Evdoxia Papadopoulou (KENI, Panteion University)
- Chrissa Tzagaroulaki (KENI, Panteion University)

Information & contacts

Dr Alexandra Patrikiou
KENI, Panteion University



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