Conference: Balkan Worlds IV: The ‘Great Ideas’ of the Balkans (18th – 20th c.)

Event date
November 29, 2018 - December 1, 2018
Short description

The 4th International Conference of the Balkan Worlds which will be held on November 29th – December 1st, 2018 at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Greece, will be dedicated to the “Great Ideas” of the Balkan national movements (18th-20th c.): from the Greek ‘Megali Idea’ and the Serbian ‘Načertaniye’, to the Great Bulgaria of San Stefano, different versions of Illyrianism and Yugoslavism, the unity visions of Romanian, Slav-Macedonian or Albanian nationalists, and even Zionism – as the latter was adopted or rejected in the form of a national ideology by Jewish communities in the Balkans – to the various permutations of the imperial ideologies of the Ottomans (Ottomanism, Pan-Islamism, Pan-Turkism) the Habsburgs or the Romanovs.


But, how should ‘Great Idea’ be defined? ‘Great Ideas’ were initially irredentist visions of Balkan peoples in their effort to restore their “ancient” or the “medieval” glories in the territories of the Ottoman or Austrian Empire. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to identify ‘Great Ideas’ solely with irredentism; ‘Great Ideas’ were the extreme boundaries of the national ‘imagined communities’, the way in which these communities had to redefine themselves in order to include or to exclude populations in or from the ‘national core’, to compete with the imperial (Ottoman or Austrian) model and lead to the latter’s demise, to communicate with European versions of pan-nationalist ideological movements, such as Pan-Germanism, or Pan-Slavism, and imperial ideologies of the Colonial and Continental Empires. Through different perceptions of race, ethnicity, or religion, these movements raised the question of tracing national differences via broader ideological formations. More specifically, the conference will include the following themes:

  •       Theories of ethnogenesis/-es and ‘Great Ideas’
  •       Imperial ideologies and ‘Great Ideas’
  •       Pan-nationalisms and ‘Great Ideas’
  •       Religions and ‘Great Ideas’
  •       National domestic policies and ‘Great Ideas’
  •       National foreign policies and ‘Great Ideas’
  •       State-building and ‘Great Ideas’
  •       Nation-building and ‘Great Ideas’
  •       National, Religious, Ethnic or other minorities and ‘Great Ideas’
  •       Wars and Great Ideas
  •       Imaginary, time and spatial, borders/limits of the ‘Great Ideas’

The Conference will be organized by the Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies and its Laboratory of History of the Eastern and Southeastern Europe in collaboration with Association Internationale d'Etudes du Sud-Est Europeen.

The members of the conference Scientific Committee will be:

Eyal Ginio (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Stefanos Katsikas (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Christina Koulouri, (Panteion University, Athens)

Ivan Parvev (University of Sofia)                        

Dimitris Stamatopoulos (University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki)

Professor John Breuilly (The London School of Economics and Political Science) will be the conference’s keynote speaker. The title of his presentation: “The rise and fall of pan-nationalisms, c.1870-1950”

The working language of the Conference will be English. Individual proposals for a 20-minute presentations are welcomed:

Deadline for abstracts – June 15th 2018

Notification of acceptance – September 1st 2018

Deadline for papers – October 31st 2018

Abstracts should not exceed 300 words and must be accompanied by a brief (250-300 word) autobiographical paragraph and the candidate’s contact information (e-mail, a telephone number, academic affiliation). All the proposals must be sent to the following email:

Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Humanities
Event type
  • Conference WBs

Entry created by Admin on May 30, 2018
Modified on May 30, 2018