Saturday, August 29, 2009

Southeast European Studies in Bulgaria

Posted on behalf of Vasilka Aleksova, Chair
Department of General, Indo-European and Balkan Linguistics
Sofia University “St. Climent Oxridski”
At the time of writing there are in Bulgaria five universities at which one can get a degree in Southeast European Studies:

Sofia University “St. Climent Oxridski”

Veliko Turnovo University “St.St. Cyril and Methodius”

  • The Veliko Turnovo University has its own Educational and Cultural Centre “Balkans” which interacts with Southeast European academic units and provides resources to researchers and students in the area of Southeast European Studies. The Faculty of Philology has a BA program in Balkan studies in which students can choose between a concentration in the languages and cultures or the history of the Southeast European nations. This oldest university program in Southeast European studies in Bulgaria initially had a focus on history and was hosted by the Faculty of History. The Veliko Turnovo University also has MA programs in Southeast European studies.

Plovdiv University “Paisij Xilendarski”

  • The five-year combined BA & MA in Balkan languages and cultures of the Faculty of Philology offers courses in Modern Greek, Serbian, Albanian and Romanian languages and literatures. The focus is on Modern Greek.

Southwestern University “Neofit Rilski”

  • In 2008 the Faculty of Philology of the Southwestern University “Neofit Rilski” started admitting students to their new combined ten-semester BA & MA program which includes language courses with emphasis on Greek and electives Serbian, Romanian and Albanian, courses in Balkan literatures and folklore as well as political, social, economic and cultural history of the Southeast European nations.

PhD programs with a specialization in Southeast European studies are offered by the Faculty of Slavic Philologies of the Sofia University, by the Institute of Bulgarian language and the Institute of Balkan Studies of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The latter are also the research centres of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences specializing in Southeast European Studies. They publish the journals Balkansko ezikoznanie / Linguistique balkanique and Études balkaniques. Occasional dissertations with topics in the area of Southeast European Studies have been defended in other institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of sciences (such as the Institute of History, the Institute of Folklore Studies and the Ethnographic Institute and Museum).

Monday, August 24, 2009

To the Attention of Those of Us Who Teach Language


The Journal of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL, is soliciting articles for publication. As the official journal of the Council, the journal serves the professional interests of teachers, researchers, and
administrators of less commonly taught languages in all settings and all levels of instruction. The Journal is refereed and published once a year.

Our general editorial focus is on policy, education, programs, advocacy, and research in the field of less commonly taught languages (all foreign languages except English, French, German, and Spanish). The envisaged segmentation of the Journal is as follows:

a. Methodology and Technology,
b. Academia,
c. Beyond Academia,
d. Social Embeddedness

The first section shall include papers focusing on broader theoretical and technological issues in all fields of less commonly taught languages. The second section will encompass reports about research and teaching in academia, at both K-12 and collegiate levels. The third section shall
comprise papers addressing research and teaching in government and industry. Finally, the fourth section will address the issues of a broader social environment, ranging from heritage communities to advancing LCTLs in federal initiatives and legislation.

In preparing the manuscript, please use the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), see Manuscripts should be a maximum of 25 pages (excluding references, charts, notes, etc.) and preferably submitted electronically via email attachment. Double-space the manuscript throughout, including notes, references, and tables, using 12-point font with a 1.5 inch left margin. The manuscript should be accompanied by a 150 word (or less) abstract and a cover sheet containing the manuscript title, name, address, office and home telephone numbers, fax number, email address, and full names and institutions of each author. Because the manuscript will be blind reviewed, identifying information should be on the cover sheet only, and not appear in the manuscript.

While submissions are welcome at any point, only papers received by October 31, 2009 will be guaranteed consideration for the 2010 issue of the Journal.
4231 Humanities Building
455 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706

Tel: 608-265-7903; FAX 608 265 7904.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Eat sweetly and speak sweetly"

Batu, Ali & Kirmaci, Bilal
Production of Turkish delight (lokum).
Food Research International; Jan2009, Vol. 42 Issue 1, 1-7

Abstract and further information available at ScienceDirect

“Gypsy Music” and Deejays: Orientalism, Balkanism, and Romani Musicians

An article by Ioana Szeman published in TDR: The Drama Review, Fall 2009, Vol. 53, No. 3 (T203), Pages 98-116

Ioana Szeman is a Senior Lecturer in Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at Roehampton University, London. She is currently completing a book project based on fieldwork carried out over a 10-year period called Stages of Erasure: Performing Romani Culture and Gypsiness in and out of Post-Communist Romania.

In the current wave of successful “Gypsy music” in the West, Romani bands Taraf de Haïdouks and Fanfare Ciocărlia present themselves as “authentic” Gypsy musicians. In Germany, Shantel's latest album proclaims a Gypsy theme, but without Romani musicians. With or without Romanis, “Gypsy” means “exotic” in these musical exports.

Source: MIT Press Journals

Divine Intervention in South-East Europe: A Longue Durée Perspective

The special thematic issue Ethnographies of “Divine Interventions” in Europe of History and Anthropology (Volume 20, Issue 3, 2009) contains a subsection dealing with the southeast of Europe:

Katerina Seraidari "Objects of Cult, Objects of Confrontation: Divine Interventions through Greek History" (289-307)

Bernard Lory "The Vizier's Dream: 'Seeing St. Dimitar' in Ottoman Bitola" (309-316)

Vihra Baeva & Galia Valtchinova "A Women's Religious Organization in Southern Bulgaria: From Miracle Stories to History" (317-338)

Margarita Karamihova & Galia Valtchinova "Talking War, 'Seeing" Peace: Approaching the PIlgrimage of Krastova Gora (Bulgaria)" (339-362)

See informaworld for abstracts and further details.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crossing Borders


Radu, Cosmin. Border tricksters and the predatory state: Contraband at the Romania-Serbia border during the Yugoslavian embargoes. Focaal, 2009, Number 54, 49-63.

Abstract: This article analyzes actions of the Romanian state officials and the Romania-Serbia border region people during the embargoes imposed on Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It shows that the embargo-related contraband trade with its diverse layers and actors is an excellent window for studying state formations. Getting involved in both big contraband and the criminalization of smugglers, different state factions developed specific logics of privatization, transnationalization, and interstitial relations. These developments were connected to both the fantasies of accumulation in the context of embargo and Romanian European Union accession. The article also suggests how to understand continuities between the embargorelated and present state formations. Looking at the interplays among border posts, state officials, and the EU, it shows that the border posts are increasingly dislocated from the state and that they seem to become interstitial parts of a post-state field of power.

Genetics about the history of the Bayash

Irena Martinović-Klarić, Marijana Peričić-Salihović, Lovorka Barać-Lauc, Lev A. Zhivotovsky, Siiri Rootsi. Dissecting the molecular architecture and origin of Bayash Romani patrilineages: genetic influences from South-Asia and the Balkans. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 138:3 (2009) 333-42.

Source of the abstract:

The Bayash are a branch of Romanian speaking Roma living dispersedly in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. To better understand the molecular architecture and origin of the Croatian Bayash paternal gene pool, 151 Bayash Y chromosomes were analyzed for 16 SNPs and 17 STRs and compared with European Romani and non-Romani majority populations from Europe, Turkey, and South Asia. Two main layers of Bayash paternal gene pool were identified: ancestral (Indian) and recent (European). The reduced diversity and expansion signals of H1a patrilineages imply descent from closely related paternal ancestors who could have settled in the Indian subcontinent, possibly as early as between the eighth and tenth centuries AD. The recent layer of the Bayash paternal pool is dominated by a specific subset of E1b1b1a lineages that are not found in the Balkan majority populations. At least two private mutational events occurred in the Bayash during their migrations from the southern Balkans toward Romania. Additional admixture, evident in the low frequencies of typical European haplogroups, J2, R1a, I1, R1b1b2, G, and I2a, took place primarily during the early Bayash settlement in the Balkans and the Romani bondage in Romania. Our results indicate two phenomena in the Bayash and analyzed Roma: a significant preservation of ancestral H1a haplotypes as a result of considerable, but variable level of endogamy and isolation and differential distribution of less frequent, but typical European lineages due to different patterns of the early demographic history in Europe marked by differential admixture and genetic drift.

Popular cultures in political transitions: Eastern European perspectives

A special thematic issue of Revista d'etnologia de Catalunya V. 34, (2009)


Santova, Mila. "Sofia 1989: changes, events and the mausoleum: a story that needs explaining"(10-19); Risteski, Ljupco S. "Essay on festivals: the transformation of the festive calendar in the Republic of Macedonia from 1991" (34-43); Dorondel, Stefan. "Conflicting pasts: negotiating ownership and agrarian reform in a Romanian village" (52-61).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2010-2011 Funding for Research and Language Training in South Eastern Europe

Title VIII Southeast European Research Scholar Program:

Provides full support for U.S. graduate students, faculty, and post-doctoral scholars seeking to conduct research for three to nine months in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia. Scholars may apply for support for research in more than one country during a single trip, provided they intend to work in the field for a total of three to nine months. Annual deadline: October 1st 2009.

Title VIII Southeast European Language Training Program:

Provides fellowships for graduate students, faculty, and scholars to study language for a semester, academic year or summer in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia. Open to students at the MA and Ph.D. level, as well as post-doctoral scholars and faculty, who have at least elementary language skills. Annual deadline: October 1st 2009.

Funding for these programs is available through American Councils from the U.S. Department of State’s Title VIII Program for Research and Training onEastern Europe and Eurasia (Independent States of the Former Soviet Union). All competitions for funding are open and merit based. All applications will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, or disability.

Applications are available for download at by contacting the American Councils Outbound Office. Applications must be postmarked by the application deadline date.

For more information, please contact:
Russian and Eurasian Outbound Programs American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS
1776 Massachusetts Avenue, NW,
Suite 700Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: (202) 833-7522

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Which three books about the Balkans would YOU recommend?

Here is the answer given by Muharem Bazdulj (born in 1977, "one of the leading writers of the younger generation to appear in the countries of the former Yugoslavia") in an interview to John K. Cox:

JKC: If you could recommend three books to the Anglophone world for people who want to sample the beauty and complexity of Balkan culture and history, what would they be?

MB: The Iliad by Homer, Days of the Consuls in English by Ivo Andrić, and Imagining the Balkans by Maria Todorova. One epic, one novel, and one non-fiction book – all available to people from the Anglophone world and all really worthy of their attention.

Source: Spirit of Bosnia (Duh Bosne), issue: Vol.4, No.1 / 2009, pages: 1-7, on

The Balkans: Radical Conservatism and Desire

By Dušan I. Bjelić
South Atlantic Quarterly.2009; 108: 285-304
Full text available at

This essay focuses on Balkan discourse geography as a hidden contingency of the intellectual work of Slavoj Žižek and Julia Kristeva. It takes into account the extent to which their self-proclaimed cosmopolitanism and universalism reflect disidentification with their Balkan origins. This disidentification alerts one to the unacknowledged centrality of Kristeva's and Žižek's Balkan origins to their writing about the region, and it also points to the Balkanist character of their intellectual production. I emphasize the discourse geography of the Balkans—particularly Maria Todorova's articulation of "Balkanism"—as a dissonant infrastructure to the transcendent, ahistorical quality of Kristeva's and Žižek's work. Antonio Gramsci's incorporation of his origins in Sardinia into his intellectual and political praxis provides a contrapuntal reading of Kristeva's and Žižek's own psychoanalytically mediated decoupling of themselves from their Balkan origins and their own split subject positions. The empirical history of human solidarity formalized in the Marxist philosophy of class struggle and actualized in Gramsci's philosophy of praxis challenged not only Cartesian subjectivity as pure cogito but also the Cartesian elevation of abstraction over the senses. In contrast, Kristeva's and Žižek's local histories are expressed through disidentification and self-Orientalization as a constitutive gesture of subaltern intellectual labor. Instead of exploring geopolitical ambiguity for the sake of the intellectuality of human solidarity, they paradoxically reproduce in their discourse the very conditions they seek to escape.

Source of the abstract:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A New Book on Latin Landscape, Agricultural and Botanic Terminology from an Indo-European Perspective

A publication of the Institute for Linguistic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg

А. В. Грошева. Латинская земледельческая лексика на индоевропейском фоне. Санкт-Петербург: Наука, 2009. 413 с.

From the Introduction (for those of you who read in Russian):

Ландшафт и климат являются важнейшими характеристиками среды обитания народа, непосредственно влияющие на его хозяйственную деятельность, условия жизни и быта, обычаи, культуру. Поэтому анализ ландшафтной лексики как особого тематического класса слов органично вписывается в данное исследование, позволяя установить, во-первых, то общее достояние, которое удержал латинский язык от давней эпохи совместного пребывания с другими народами индоевропейской семьи на предполагаемой «прародине», и, во-вторых, выяснить, как обновился этот пласт лексики в течение длительного периода самостоятельного существования италийцев, начиная со времени их проникновения и распространения на Апеннинском полуострове в середине II тысячелетия до н. э. и заканчивая первыми веками новой эры. Земледельческая лексика является центральной темой исследования, поскольку земледелие, наряду со скотоводством, было основным занятием жителей древнего Лация.

Table of contents

Ареальные связи латинской лексики (на материале терминов ландшафта)..16
Глагол aro ‘пахать’..49
Словообразовательный ряд глагола sero ‘сеять’..56
Обзор префиксальных образований с глаголом sero..72
Лексико-семантическая группа ‘снимать/убирать урожай’ (глагол meto ‘жать’)..96
Сопоставительный анализ глаголов meto и seco..110
О нескольких латинских названиях борозды..123
Лексическая оппозиция porca 1 ‘борозда’ : porca 2 ‘свинья’..140
Трактат Варрона «О сельском хозяйстве» (лингвистический аспект)..153
Латинские термины землевладения (fundus, praedium, villa)..163
К изучению названий злаков (лат. frumentum)..175
О нескольких этимологиях Варрона (колос и его части)...182
Приложение. Особенности синтаксического строя ранней латинской прозы (на материале трактата “De agri cultura” Катона)..198
Роль метафоры в латинской ботанической терминологии и номенклатуре..245
Латинская ботаническая номенклатура с лингвистической точкизрения..281
Индоевропейское наследие в латинских названиях деревьев..290
К истории лат. truncus...326
Лат. сorpus и truncus (метафорические сближения)...336
Судьба двух латинских паронимов (1. bucca – 2. bacca)..355
Лат. pinus ‘сосна’ в индоевропейском освещении...364
Лат. viscum ‘омела’ (к проблеме формы и значения)...369

Text available online at

Casa de l'Est

Casa de l’Est is a fine resource on Eastern Europe. The website contains databases on the cinematography, literature, journals, and languages of Eastern Europe. There is a lively discussion forum on such topics as tourism, language learning, courses, politics, and events pertaining to the region. Most of the postings are in Spanish, Italian, French, and Catalan. The web portal of Casa de l’Est is at:

A New Contribution to Thracian Studies


Title: Thracian Language and Greek and Thracian Epigraphy
Published: 2009
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Author: Peter Dimitrov
Hardback: ISBN: 1443813257 9781443813259
Pages: 195
Price: U.K. £ 34.99


Before starting reading Thracian Language and Greek and Thracian Epigraphy, we should keep in mind that we will be facing a situation that is extremely complex. There exists a methodological problem, originating in the past, which caused various misunderstandings. It is due to the volume of different entries assembled in the goal to compose a thesaurus of the Thracian language. Somehow, over the years during the last two centuries, there was a whole set of methods applied that were not in accordance to the progress made by linguistics. For example, the choice made in assembling the two main corpora so far, that of Tomaschek and Detschew, present data from literary and epigraphic sources. These data combined were not at all times convincing. Sometimes controversial entries were included whose interpretation provoked long discussions. More attention was paid to details, which in most of the cases were not concerned with the discussion of the whole body of evidence. One other reason: whilst modern linguistics made a huge progress, Thracian scholars stayed within the general Indo-European theory of the Neogrammarians. The method I used rests on the description of Thracian onomastics obtained after phonological analysis, because I am concerned with the fact that every single phonologically attested form of phonemes and morphs is relevant. For, it helps to list all possible forms of names thus showing all of the graphemes independently.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Four new books in Southeast European Studies

Source of the overviews: Google Books

Vintilă Mihăilescu, Ilia Iliev, Slobodan Naumovic. Studying Peoples in the People's Democracies II: Socialist Era Anthropology in South-East Europe. LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster, 2009 [Volume 17 of Halle Studies in the Anthropology of Eurasia]

Was there anything like a "socialist anthropology" common to Bulgaria and Serbia? Did Soviet and/or Marxist influences, in the discipline and in society in general, penetrate so deeply as to form an unavoidable common denominator of anthropological practice? The answers turn out to be complex and subtle. While unifying ideological forces were very strong in the 1950s, diversity increased thereafter. Anthropology was entangled with national ideology in all three countries.

Roderick Beaton, David Ricks. The Making of Modern Greece: Nationalism, Romanticism, and the Uses of the Past (1797-1896). Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2009 [Publications for the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King's College, London]

Every Greek and every friend of the country knows the date 1821, when the banner of revolution was raised against the empire of the Ottoman Turks, and the story of 'Modern Greece' is usually said to begin. Less well known, but of even greater importance, was the international recognition given to Greece as an independent state with full sovereign rights, as early as 1830. This places Greece in the vanguard among the new nation-states of Europe whose emergence would gather momentum through to the early twentieth century, a process whose repercussions continue to this day. Starting out from that perspective, which has been all but ignored until now, this book brings together the work of scholars from a variety of disciplines to explore the contribution of characteristically nineteenth-century European modes of thought to the 'making' of Greece as a modern nation. Closely linked to nationalism is romanticism, which exercised a formative role through imaginative literature, as is demonstrated in several chapters on poetry and fiction. Under the broad heading 'uses of the past', other chapters consider ways in which the legacies, first of ancient Greece, then later of Byzantium, came to be mobilized in the construction of a durable national identity at once 'Greek' and 'modern'.The Making of Modern Greece aims to situate the Greek experience, as never before, within the broad context of current theoretical and historical thinking about nations and nationalism in the modern world. The book spans the period from 1797, when Rigas Velestinlis published a constitution for an imaginary 'Hellenic Republic', at the cost of his life, to the establishment of the modern Olympic Games, in Athens in 1896, an occasion which sealed with international approval the hard-won self-image of 'Modern Greece' as it had become established over the previous century.

Ryan Gingeras. Sorrowful Shores: Violence, Ethnicity, and the End of the Ottoman Empire 1912-1923. Oxford University Press US, 2009 [Oxford studies in modern European history]

The Turkish Republic was formed out of immense bloodshed and carnage. During the decade leading up to the end of the Ottoman Empire and the ascendancy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, virtually every town and village throughout Anatolia was wracked by intercommunal violence. Sorrowful Shores presents a unique, on-the-ground history of these bloody years of social and political transformation. Challenging the determinism associated with nationalist interpretations of Turkish history between 1912 and 1923, Ryan Gingeras delves deeper into this period of transition between empire and nation-state. Looking closely at a corner of territory immediately south of the old Ottoman capital of Istanbul, he traces the evolution of various communities of native Christians and immigrant Muslims against the backdrop of the Balkan Wars, the First World War, the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish War of Independence, and the Greek occupation of the region. Drawing on new sources from the Ottoman archives, Gingeras demonstrates how violence was organized at the local level. Arguing against the prevailing view of the conflict as a war between monolithic ethnic groups driven by fanaticism and ancient hatreds, he reveals instead the culpability of several competing states in fanning successive waves of bloodshed.

Dimitrije Golemovic. Balkan Refrain: Form and Tradition in European Folk Song. Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2009

Balkan Refrain studies various aspects of the refrain, such as its origin, development, forms, and use in traditional and popular music. It attempts to establish what refrain actually is and how it can be defined in folk and scholarly practice based on musical examples from Serbia, Montenegro, and the Republic of Srpska, with the aim of finding general rules applicable to refrains in the songs of other nations. The refrain is observed from musical and linguistic perspectives, as well as its religious, social, and economical uses. The book includes an audio CD featuring traditional folk songs as well as some examples of newly composed folk songs.

LSA Summer Institute

Sally Thomason at Language Log reports about the cool things one could learn by participating at the LSA Linguistic Insitute. I am only quoting the Balkan connection to her report:
"...I learned a whole bunch of fascinating things: about the Doutai speakers (NW New Guinea) who suppressed their language's implosive consonants for several weeks while Mark was studying their language (a phenomenon reminiscent of Dan Everett's experience of living three years among the Pirahas in the Amazon before they stopped suppressing their linguo-labial stops in talking to him); about plugging in typological features — word order, consonant types, etc., etc., etc. — to biologists' statistical models and coming up with areal rather than genetic groupings in known cases (e.g., Rumanian grouped with Slavic rather than with the rest of the Romance languages)..."

To what group a language ends up belonging depends a lot from what "typological features" are plugged in. The Warnow, Ringe, Evans, Nakhleh approach, using a Swadesh list and a few morpho-phonological features, put Albanian in quite a variety of linguistic neighborhoods. However, the list of features for Albanian was not very representative and seemed to be constructed from the Toskë dialect instead of Gheg which has more archaic features). I remember that there were a few dubious words in the Albanian Swadesh list (e.g. claw is thua instead of kthetër, pierce is ther instead of shpon, etc.).

I hope the Romanian list of features was better constructed.

Friday, August 14, 2009

People with research interests in Southeast European Studies at

Wonder who they are? Are they perhaps working on a project that is of direct relevance to your own? You can find out if you click here.

10th International Congress of AIESEE

The Association Internationale d’Etudes du Sud-Est Européen (AIESEE), established in 1963, will hold its 10th International Congress in Paris from 23rd to 27th of September 2009. To find our more about AIESEE, its congresses and publications click here. To view the current draft of the program for the upcoming congress click here.