Books on Bulgarian Themes, December 2017
Quest for a Suitable Past
"Parahistorical theories challenge the validity of academia, and label all works produced by academics as an attempt 'to conceal the truth about the history' of the Bulgarian people."The place of myths is discussed in the memory politics in a number of East-European countries.Since 1989, prevailing theories "challenge the thesis of the Proto-Bulgars' Turkic origin. Alongside the 'Iranian' or 'Aryan' theory, there appeared arguments favoring an autochthonous origin." As a hitback to the Soviet alliance, there is also anti-Slavism."It has been forgotten that memory is not religion ('the bones of Batak are our last stronghold against the threat of globalization')"."Historians increasingly lack the political channels and positions that could enable them to effectively oppose the new canonical narrative of communism"
A Contested Borderland
"The image of Dobrogea evolved from the idea of a dangerous 'Trojan horse' that could subvert Romanian-Bulgarian relations in the future into a bulwark against Slavic 'expansionism'."A book on competing Russian and Romanian visions of Bessarabia."I believe that what we have to do in this situation is to submit to Europe's decision: to take Dobrogea, to rule it well, to make it truly ours, to make it one with Romania's body, to make it the heritage of our children. From the first day, let us prove to Europe that we take it for all the Romanians and that we do not intend to sell it to the Bulgarians." (Kogălniceanu)"The Bulgarian population was given considerable leverage in the educational and cultural spheres, resulting in the opening of a Bulgarian central school in Bolgrad and the burgeoning activity of the press and various cultural associations. Southern Bessarabia also became an important center for Bulgarian émigré political organizations and arguably an important recruitment pool for the future elite of the Bulgarian state after 1878."
Pagans and Christians in the Late Roman Empire
"New Bulgarian archaeological research has uncovered important new findings allowing for innovative hypotheses about the development of new religious practices. Apart from Bulgarian-language scholarship the confrontation between, and coexistence of, pagans and Christians along the Black Sea is hardly known."A collection of essays on pagan-Christian relations in the Roman Empire from the fourth to the eighth century."The first Christian communities appeared along the southwestern coast of the Black Sea in the first century as a result of the missionary preaching of the Apostles Saint Paul and Saint Andrew.""The investigation of twenty-one family tombs in Late Roman and Early Byzantine urban necropoles along the Pontic Coast revealed the gradual disappearance of pagan rites and burial practices parallel with the spread of Christianity. The fourth-century Christianization meant essentially the 'secularization' or appropriation of pagan sacred sites, without apparent instances of religious violence."
- The issue of land ownership during and after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
- A book of comparative intellectual history discusses how socialist ideology emerged as an option of political modernity in the Balkans.
- The series in the history of medicine starts with a Bulgarian monograph on social legislation and population policy in the interwar period.
- The author of the now classic Balkan Family Structure, dedicated a large volume to the analysis of the posthumous fate of Vasil Levski, of which an abridged paperback version was also published;
- How the Bulgarian Revival was instrumentalized for political purposes in the 20th century;
- An analyis of Bulgarian history writing focusing on the time span between Stambolov and Zhivkov;
- Bulgaria was also targeted by the book distribution program of the CIA since the 1950s;
- A book on anti-corruption policies by a renown Bulgarian social scientist;
- A study of the political economy of transition from command to market economy;
- A comparative review of the control of political parties over the media in Eastern Europe;
- Together with twenty-eight more post-communist transition countries, the political and economic performance of Bulgaria is also examined as part of a search of varieties of transition models.
- The four-volume undertaking quotes and comments specimens from texts that shaped national identities in eastern Europe. Besides the “Memorandum of the Secret Central Bulgarian Committee” (1867) Bulgaria is represented by Neofit Rilski (1835), Beron (1855), Zografski (1858), Botev (1871 and 1876), Verkovich (1874), Marinov (1891), Gologanov (1891), Vazov (1894), Konstantinov (1895), Kyorchev (1907), Strashimirov (1918), Penev (1930), Mutafchiev (1931), Janev (1933), Hadzhiyski (1938), and Sheytanov (1942);
- Witches and priests in the Bulgarian village are analyzed in the series on demons and spirits;
- 19th c. textbooks and journals are scrutinized for the presentation of Bulgarian identity; the same issue is approached from 19th c. studies on “race” in another essay; and Bulgarians will read with interest the description of the paths of Macedonian supra-nationalism a hundred years ago;
- Still with regard to national identity, a study discusses common heroes and divided claims between Macedonia and Bulgaria, while in the same book an essay treats sounds and noise in socialist Bulgaria;
- The handbook of biographies contains entries on the following Bulgarians: Blagoeva, Ivanova, Karamichailova, Karavelov, Karavelova, Karima, Konova, Malinova, Zlatareva, and Zlatoustova;
- Straight Haussmannian boulevards drawn in Sofia in the frame of European town-planning;
- The book on eugenics in east and central Europe presents the subject in the interwar Bulgaria;
- Exploring the development of ethnic diversity and national tensions in the Balkans;
- In the volume on the expansion of Stalinism Bulgaria received a separate chapter next to other variants in east Europe;
- The analysis of the impact of Radio Free Europe also covers Bulgaria at detail;
- The US government kept sponsoring the émigré Bulgarian National Committee under the umbrella of the Assembly of Captive European Nations until the very end of the Cold War.
- Images of the west are being explored in Bulgarian travel writing during socialism;
- The treatment of religion under communism through the case of Vanga, a mystic prophetess;
- Artistic interactions within the Soviet bloc and with the west between 1945 and 1989;
- The Bulgarian legacy of 1968 is essentially exemplified by Zhivkov’s urging Brezhnev “the sooner troops are sent (to Czechoslovakia) the better;”
- A fresh interpretation of the contexts, meanings, and consequences of the revolutions of 1989 contains numerous references to Bulgaria;
- The seminal CEU Press title on the collapse of Soviet domination – see Bulgaria-related extracts below;
- The analysis of today’s history writing between academic standards and political agendas;
- An essay discusses the “museumizing” of the socialist past in post-1989 Bulgaria;
- The idea of the desegregation of Romani education originated in Vidin. An account on how far the process has progressed across Eastern Europe;
- A rich panoply of remembrances of the communist era, and attempts to handle traumatic pasts, and recent developments in post-communist memory politics;
- The six-country comparative sociological research includes Bulgarian village studies of post-communist rural transformation;
Some of the older titles are out of print nevertheless bookshops or online distributors may get you print-on-demand copies, and all CEU Press titles are sold in digital version at the major electronic distributors.
Tismaneanu V.452 pages, 2009, 978-963-9776-55-5 cloth; 978-963-9776-63-0 paperback
Ten Years After – A history of Roma school desegregation in Central and Eastern Europe, Rostas, J., 392 pages, 2012, ISBN 978-615-5053-13-9, cloth
Of Red Dragons and Evil Spirits – Post-communist historiography between democratization and new politics of history, Luthar, O., 256 pages, 2017, 978-963-386-151-6 cloth