Liminal Balkans

No. 2 - Year 6 - 06/2016

Editorial

It was our presumption that we would be able to tackle and cover, or at least sketch and therefore possibly define the equivocal notion of the Balkans that led us to the idea of dedicating an issue of our journal to this task. However, as these things usually end up, we were proven wrong. The notion of the Liminal Balkans even after the issue was concluded remained the same – a threshold, an elusive construct whose discursive diversity and complexity only instigated numerous new questions, together with new starting points for alternative debates, coming in the end full circle to the initial premise presented by Maria Todorova about the Balkans as a transitional space...

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Featuring

Albania lies at the crux of the doubly oriental identity of the Balkans on account of its Ottoman and Socialist past. This paper examines the role of the Ottoman Empire in literary works that engage with history in an effort to articulate a conception of Albanian identity as fundamentally European. The Kosovar epic ballads of Millosh Kopiliq and Ismail Kadare’s novel The Siege both portray the medieval conflicts between Albanians and Ottomans. Yet the works do not simply assert the cultural superiority of Albanians in the face of “oriental barbarism”. Instead, the Ottomans serve to dramatize the ambiguous cultural and geographical positioning of Kosovo and Albania. Using Lucien Goldmann’s method of genetic structuralism, this study understands the particular identity articulated in each text as a response to the geographical, cultural and political environment of its author.Keywords: identity, nationalism, Kadare, Albania, Kosovo, orientalism, Ottoman Empire, Millosh Kopiliq...

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This article examines the Tirana Independence Monument, first inaugurated in November of 2012 on the hundredth anniversary of Albanian independence from the Ottoman Empire. The monument, designed by Visar Obrija and Kai Roman Kiklas, swiftly fell into disrepair until it was recently renovated in November of 2015. The article analyzes the monument’s function in terms of its doubled existence as a sign of perpetual natality (the possibility of the rebirth of national consciousness) and as a ruin with a spectral pseudo-presence (as an object that continually reminds us of the disjunctures that divorce the present from its historicity). It considers the way the monument’s inauguration relates to the politics of monumentality in contemporary Albania, and argues that the monument’s gradual ruination between 2012 and 2015 can be read as a particular manifestation of the history of the image in late capitalist society.Keywords: spectrality, natality, monumentality, Albania, Tirana, independence, national identity, grid, public sculpture...

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Sjecka peršin, sitno, sitno. Peršin mora biti sitno nasjeckan jer ako nije, mali neće mesne okruglice, a mesne su okruglice Pacovo omiljeno jelo. Sitno sjecka peršin, a poslije i češnjak, tako sitno da se gotovo ne vidi; nevidljiv češnjak da ga mali ne vidi i da ne kaže da ima češnjaka, što Paco najviše voli kad je riječ o mesnim okruglicama. Pa s rukama u smjesi mljevenog svinjećeg i junećeg mesa, pola-pola, mijesi kao nekad, kad je imala vremena mijesiti blato i izrađivati vrčeve, tanjure, pepeljare. Mijesi, posoli i malo popapri, tek toliko da Paco primijeti, a mali ne, pa još jaje i krušne mrvice. Mijesi, a na televiziji, u pozadini, svira ona pjesma za koju ne zna kako se zove, ali koja ide ovako pa pjevuši. Izgleda gotovo sretno dok s čistom pregačom mijesi, pjevuši la-la-la dok joj fluorescentno svjetlo s televizora u pozadini bliješti u oči, mijesi smjesu koju više sigurno ne treba mijesiti, ali koju ona i dalje mijesi jer voli zariti ruke u vlažno meso i osjetiti ga među prstima. Mali je u svojoj sobi, na računalu, a ona je mirna jer zna da neće čuti kako se razbija prozorsko staklo ili kako pada kakva polica, zna da može skuhati večeru pa čak i pripremiti sutrašnji ručak. A požuri li, možda sjedne par minuta pred televizor i nešto pogleda prije nego što stigne Paco. Da malo rastrese misli dok slaže rublje. Razmišlja o tenisicama koje bi morali kupiti malomu, narastao je pedalj, i o lancu na zahodskoj školjci koji se ponovno pokidao. Razmišlja da su joj manšete na rukavima kaputa pohabane, ali da do sniženja mora proći još dva mjeseca. Razmišlja o konobaru iz kafića pokraj tvornice, kamo prijepodne odlazi na kavu, koji joj namiguje i uvijek pokloni ona dva bombona koje toliko voli. Razmišlja da je smjesa sada nesumnjivo gotova pa počinje oblikovati savršene okruglice, oble, uzorne, i slaže ih u apsurdne redove na keramičkom pladnju koji joj je darovala šogorica kad su se vjenčali. ...

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In Croatia, the political changes involving most of Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s included a war fought between 1991 and 1995. This paper aims, by examining the press releases and newspaper articles published in the Italian daily La Stampa in 1995, to show how this influential newspaper worked on shaping Italian public opinion about the war in Croatia, and to examine the extent to which well-rooted stereotypes about the Balkans played a role in the process. The application of the methods of Critical Discourse Analysis on the material has confirmed the occurrence of stereotypes expressed through several types of polarized representations, for example, the one between the good (Italy/Europe/West) and the bad (Croatia/the Balkans – associated with “primitive” nationalism and chaos). It has also shown that Italy (as part of Europe), largely saw itself as the “appointed” Western civilized neighbour towards one of its Balkan neighbours, Croatia, and worked on trying, as Todorova would put it, “to normalise” it....

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