Liminal Balkans

Broj 2 - Godina 6 - 06/2016

Uvodnik

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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Izdvojeno

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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Dogodilo se to u srijedu, to prosvjetljenje o kojem svi pričaju. Utorkom je Pedro bio Srce i razbijao gubice. Laka kategorija, žestok borac. S crvenom maskom i trokutastim crvenim boom na glatkim prsima. Uhvatio bi protivnika u polugu i stezao, sve dok se ne prestane opirati, i tek tad rekao sucu – Broji! Nema veze što sudac ne bi brojio ili bi brojio prebrzo, sve je to bilo samo predstava. Publika želi adrenalin, svjetla, galamu s tribina, divlju eleganciju borbe koja ga je svakog utorka navečer pretvarala u zvijezdu. Svakog bi utorka izlazio u noć, ozaren od pobjede.Zatim bi tu energiju ispucao s Marinom u najbližem motelu, ali vrlo brzo, dok bi je vozio kući, stvarnost bi počela nagrizati taj sjaj: jednosoban stan, Marinin stari, sav podbuhao od jeftina alkohola i buljenja u televizor, s poraženim izrazom lica, kao netko tko je svjestan koliko je zapravo jadan, tko neprestano smišlja kako da se izvuče, ali se nikako ne usudi napraviti prvi korak. Tad bi se Srce opet pretvorio u Pedra. Sutradan, na gradilištu, dok bi nosio vreće cementa i slagao cigle, preobrazba bi bila potpuna i Pedru bi opet bio pun kurac svega....

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Beginning with the concept of "nesting orientalism" introduced by Milica Bakić-Hayden in the sense of patterns of representation used to describe the Other by all ethnic groups in former Yugoslavia, this paper examines four views of "nesting balkanism" in post-Yugoslav literature. First, there is a chronotopic view from the post-Yugoslav exile back to the past, in which the Balkans function as a contextual synonym for the "former homeland," always used in a context of "war," "violence," "primitivism," "disorder" and "cruelty". The second view refers to several Slovenian authors, starting with Slavoj Žižek, Aleš Debeljak and the young novelist Goran Vojnović, who show specific balkanistic representation connected with sevdah and turbofolk music. The third view is connected with travelling and trains, as a frequent topic of orientalistic representation inherited from the Orient Express novels. Finally, the fourth view draws on examples from Dubravka Ugrešić’s descriptions of her "fellow-countrymen." Almost all analyzed examples show that using the name Balkan in post-Yugoslav literature is connected with the "logic of displaced racism," a practice regarded by Žižek as a kind of inverted racism which is allowed when comparing "tolerant" Europe to Balkan Otherness. ...

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