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


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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Seeing Beyond the River Drin: Ottoman Albanians and Imperial Rivalry in the Balkans after 1878: Isa Blumi


Seeing Beyond the River Drin

Ottoman Albanians and Imperial Rivalry in the Balkans after 1878



It is common knowledge that the Austro-Hungarian empire concentrated much of its diplomatic attention on the Balkans from the second-half of the 19th century in large part to thwart Russia’s expansion into the region. The controversial occupation and subsequent administration of the Ottoman provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina in late 1878 served as the strategic centerpiece for this agenda for the next 35 years. What is not so clear within this context, however, are the mechanisms put into action during this crucial period of imperial history that ultimately intensified the importance of the Balkans to old and new imperial regimes alike. Not only did the administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina itself serve as a new political and economic force in the Balkans, but the entire region also became a crucial stage on which Austro-Hungarian authorities in Sarajevo, along with their Russian, Ottoman, and Italian rivals actively operated.

At the center of this growing imperial rivalry over the Balkans were efforts to cultivate a strong relationship with Albanians, who, as a major multi-faith group of peoples spread throughout the Balkans, were to become key players in the extension of Austro-Hungarian, Italian, and Russian influence along the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire. It is argued here that by studying Austro-Hungarian and Italian reactions to the changing dynamics of the Ottoman Empire and...

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