Call for papers

International Colloquium 22-24 October 2009

"Rival Pursuits, Common Experiences: Social Transformation and Mass Mobilization in the Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean Cities (1900-1923)."


The first decades of the 20th century witnessed the maturing of national movements and an escalation of national antagonisms in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean region. Rival nationalist projects, culminating in severe confrontations and wars, often led the people of the region's nation-states to experience and construct their distinctiveness vis-à-vis their neighbors in terms of absolute difference, enmity and mutual exclusion. Being heirs of these projects, the established national historiographical approaches have applied the same filter to this turbulent period in the history of the countries of the region, so much so that striking similarities and parallel processes have been largely neglected. The cities of the region were the sites par excellence where these parallel processes were deployed. To name but a few these processes included: economic growth and urbanization (through agrarian exodus and movements of economic diasporas and refugees); emergence of new social groups and categories and transformation of the social fabric; development of the workers' movement; urban unrest and mass mobilization and participation in major political ruptures (revolutions, coup d'états, regicides etc.); intense ideological and political osmoses and crystallizations. Nationalist mobilization itself, which divided the hearts and minds of the early 20th century people, ironically forms part of this wider, to a large extent common, picture. The aim of the colloquium is to initiate a comparative examination of these processes and its ambition is to contribute to the mapping of this transitional and formative period for the societies of the region.

We welcome participants who, sharing an interest in comparative inquiry, would seek to contribute through the examination of particular cases within the following broad fields:

  • The transformation of the urban economy: processes, rhythms, outcomes.
  • Diversification of old and emergence of new urban social groups/classes: old and new petit bourgeois, rural incomers and the proletariat, commercial, financial and industrial bourgeoisie.
  • Ideological antitheses and reconfigurations, new political movements and formations and the restructuring of national political landscapes.

We would be glad if you could reply to our call by giving the title and a short abstract of the paper you intend to present as soon as possible, and not later than the 28th of February 2009.

For further inquiries contact: Andreas Lyberatos