"Lasting Socio-Political Impacts
of the Balkan Wars"

Wednesday May 4 to Saturday May 7, 2010

Organizers: Peter Sluglett and M. Hakan Yavuz


The papers presented and discussed in this conference will be compiled in an edited volume following a strict peer-review process. The conference addresses four major questions: What were the causes of the Balkan Wars? What were the short and long-term consequences of the Balkan Wars?  Did these wars set the pattern of ethnic and/or religious cleansing in the region?  How should one approach to study the wars that shaped the collective memory at play in nation-state building projects in the Balkans? Why is there such a consistent neglect of certain groups' suffering cause by the wars? Thematically, the panels will focus on the following four areas:

1. Arguments and Historical Methods: What are the main arguments of the Ottoman and Balkan scholars on the causes and consequences of the Balkan Wars? What types of questions are raised? What is the hegemonic methodology and discourse in these works?  Which methods have been effective and ineffective in studying these wars? Which new methodologies can be applied to the study of the Balkan Wars?

2. Memory in Literature, Art, and Music: How does imagery in literature, art, and music portray these wars?  How do Turkish and Balkan societies try to preserve the memories of these wars?  Is there a shared collective memory about the impact of the Balkan Wars that is reflected in various genres of art?  For which audience is the art made and does this have an impact on what is remembered? What is remembered and what is forgotten, and how does selective memory come to dominate? Is there too much reference to Muslim brutality in the war and too little to the suffering of Muslims? What are the main themes in these memoirs? What are the drawbacks and benefits of such sources?

3. Social and Diplomatic History: What is the connection between diplomatic and social history in theorizing about and understanding the Balkan Wars? Is there a tendency for scholars to focus mainly on diplomatic history instead of social history?  Does the social and diplomatic history exclude or include each other? What are some of the lacunae on scholarship dealing with the Balkan Wars?  What type of questions do we need to ask when we are reading documents or memoirs of the Balkan wars?

4. Trauma and Imprints on Modern Turkey: What were the short and long-term effects of the Balkan wars?  What was the impact of the Balkan Wars on the decision of the CUP to enter the First World War?  What were the effects of these wars on the emergence of modern Turkey? What were the impacts of the Balkan Wars on the way Turkish identity and Turkish nationalism came to evolve?