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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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The Story of Bošnjastvo: Aydin Babuna


The Story of Bošnjastvo*


1. Austro-Hungarian Rule and Bošnjastvo

The Austro-Hungarian Empire occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 in accordance with the Treaty of Berlin. This marked a crucial development in the history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as well as for the Bosnian Muslims.1 For the first time, the Dual Monarchy became the ruler of a large Muslim community, while the Bosnian Muslims, who had been ruled by the Islamic Ottoman Empire for centuries, became the subjects of a Catholic Monarchy. This created great fear among the Muslim elites of the region that they would be stripped of their privileges and now be treated on a level with the kmets (tenant farmers in Bosnia and Herzegovina). This had also been the main concern of the Bosnian Muslims who served as administrators in Bosnia and Herzegovina under Ottoman rule.2

The policy adopted by the Austro-Hungarian Joint Finance Minister (Gemeinsamer Finanzminister) Benjamin Kállay between 1882 and 1903 was of particularly great importance for the history of the Bosnian Muslims. In contrast to the other administrators of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kállay remained in his post for a considerable period (21 years) and was able to implement long-term economic and social policies. He succeeded in suppressing the revolt of 1882 and in securing a lasting peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main aim of his long period of office was the stabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina within...

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