The project analyzes the cultural and political emancipation of Southeastern Europe as symbolic geography defying Cold War hierarchies. The region’s de-peripheralization since the 1960s was inextricably linked to Balkan scholars’ and politicians’ trans-regional entanglements in the context of UNESCO’s democratization of world culture. The internationalization of local expertise after de-colonization paralleled, without being conterminous with, regimes in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Turkey, and Yugoslavia (to a lesser extent Albania) overcoming bipolarism by joining the Global South’s challenge against super-powers’ influence at the UN. Regional actors embraced in-betweenness by re-imagining themselves amidst multiple geographies (Orient-Occident, trans-peripherially, North-South, or the Mediterranean) in order to counter symbolic marginalization. The proposal reconstitutes the Balkans’ pre-1989 Europeanization and globalization, breaking with past historiography assigning these phenomena to the post-Cold War period. It rethinks regional and national self-representations in Southeastern Europe by connecting them to transformations experienced by international organizations as a consequence of decolonization and the globalization of the humanities. The transition of cultural and political imaginations in Southeastern Europe from globalization to re-peripherialization set the ground for the resurgence of ‘Balkanism’ after 1989.
Bogdan C. Iacob is a historian of Eastern Europe in global context. His research centers on the study of experts (e.g., historians or doctors) in transnational or transregional frameworks. He has also worked on re-visiting the history of ‘1989’ and its aftermath as well as transitional justice circulations. Among his publications are: co-author with James Mark, Ljubica Spaskovska, and Tobias Rupprecht, 1989: Eastern Europe and the Making of the Modern World(Cambridge 2019) and editor of the special issue “Socialist Experts in Transnational Perspective” for East Central Europe (2018). He recently co-authored a contribution for Eurozine on "The Struggle over 1989: The Rise and Contestation of Eastern European Populism,"https://www.eurozine.com/the-struggle-over-1989/."
Balkan Imaginations, UNESCO, and the Global Cold War (1960s-1990s)
Area of research:
European History in Global Context
1 Oct 2019 - 30 Sep 2020