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Austria-Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Western Balkans, 1878–1918


Clemens Ruthner, Diana Reynolds Cordileone, Ursula Reber and Raymond Detrez

What can post/colonial studies and their approaches contribute to our understanding of the Austro-Hungarian (k.u.k.) occupation and administration of Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1878 to 1914?
This anthology presents some possible answers to this research question which goes back to a workshop held at the University of Antwerp in 2005. Later more researchers were invited from the small international circle of established and emerging experts to contribute to this new perspective on the imperial intermezzo of Bosnia-Herzegovina (which is usually overshadowed by the two World Wars and the Yugoslav Succession Wars of the 1990s). Alternative readings of both Austrian and Bosnian history, literature, and culture are meant to serve as a third way, as it were, bypassing the discursive fallacies of Habsburg nostalgia and nationalist self-victimization.
As a result, the essays of this interdisciplinary volume (collected and available in print for the first time) focus on the impact the Austro-Hungarian presence has had on Bosnia-Herzegovina and vice versa. They consider both the contemporary imperialist setting as well as the expansionist desire of the Habsburg Monarchy directed southward. Exploring the double meaning of the German title WechselWirkungen, the authors consider the consequences of occupation, colonization and annexation as a paradigm shift affecting both sides: not only intervention and interaction at a political, economic, social, cultural, and religious level, but also imposed hegemony along with cultural transfer and hybridity. Finally, the imperial gaze at the Balkan region outside of the Habsburg territories is included in the form of three exemplary case studies on Albania and Montenegro.
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About the Editors


Clemens Ruthner is Professor of German and European Studies at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. His teaching and research interests include Austrian and German nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, Central European studies, images of the Self and the Other (alterity), postcolonial studies, and literary/cultural theory. He has published extensively on these topics, including two volumes within Peter Lang’s Austrian Culture series on the playwright Franz Grillparzer (2007) and on Austrian sexuality (2011).

Diana Reynolds Cordileone is Professor of History at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. Her research focuses on the exhibitionary cultures of central and southern Europe and their roles in creating invented traditions and national identities. Her most recent book is Alois Riegl and Vienna 1858–1905: An Institutional History (2013).

Ursula Reber holds a Ph.D. in German literature and Classics with a dissertation on literary metamorphoses. She is the chief editor of Kakanien revisited (, an internet platform for Central and East European Studies based in Vienna, Austria.

Raymond Detrez has taught Balkan history at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, since 1991. He was also a professor of East European and Modern Greek history/culture and the director of the Center for Southeast European Studies at Ghent University, 1997–2013. He has published extensively on Eastern European history (particularly Balkan history), national identities, and Balkan nationalism.

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