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WechselWirkungen

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

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Edited By 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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Historicizing Bosnia: Kosta Hörmann and Bosnia’s Encounter with Modernity: Marina Antić

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Historicizing Bosnia

Kosta Hörmann and Bosnia’s Encounter with Modernity

MARINA ANTIĆ (UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN)

In literature on the cultural legacy of Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina published prior to the dissolution of the Yugoslav state, one name invariably appears – that of Kosta Hörmann (1850-1923), the first curator of Sarajevo’s Landesmuseum. Besides his activities in the museum, Kosta Hörmann was a capable and reliable administrator, moving steadily up the bureaucratic ladder, having reached, at the height of his career, the position of Consultant to the Throne and Department Chief in Sarajevo. For most of the twentieth century in former Yugoslavia he was, nonetheless, best known as a dedicated ethnographer who collected various cultural artifacts and preserved a significant collection of Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) oral poetry.1

Considering the central role of oral poetry in the 19th-century movements for national liberation in the Balkans, it is not surprising that the legacy of Kosta Hörmann has so far been understood in terms of his contribution to or detraction from the national liberation struggles of the peoples of former Yugoslavia. Specifically, most works on the topic seem to respond to the question of Kosta Hörmann’s influence on the formation of Bosniak national consciousness in 19th-century Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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