New Episode Release: Ulf Brunnbauer: Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the Balkans

In this episode, Ulf Brunnbauer, Professor of History at the University of Regensburg and director of the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, discusses the categories of perception, as well as strategies for the inclusion and exclusion of interwar Bulgaria, Greece and Yugoslavia’s Muslim minorities. The historic “othering” of these minorities was broadly twofold, comprising ethnic and religious components. The case of the Bulgarian-speaking Pomaks is especially revealing with both Bulgarian and Greek nationalists and state agencies claiming they were “alienated” from their true identity (Bulgarian or Greek), having been forced to embrace Islam in the past. The state’s mission would, therefore, be to bring these minorities back into the national fold. Emigration was another prominent theme insofar as it often represented part of the wider nationalising agenda deemed crucial for creating diaspora communities that would remain politically loyal to their respective homelands. This was especially relevant in the case of independent Serbia, and subsequently Yugoslavia after 1918. Both states also viewed emigration policies as a useful means of removing groups perceived as “a-national,” or of non-Slavic origin, such as the Kosovo Albanians.

Published by sgmhbasees

The BASEES Study Group for Minority History (SGMH) is a forum devoted to the study of minority groups in the national and regional histories of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European from the Napoleonic Wars to the contemporary past.

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