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Cornell University Press

The Orient Within: Muslim Minorities and the Negotiation of Nationhood in Modern Bulgaria

The Orient Within: Muslim Minorities and the Negotiation of Nationhood in Modern Bulgaria

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Bulgaria is a Slavic nation, Orthodox in faith but with a sizable Muslim minority. That minority is divided into various ethnic groups, including the most numerically significant Turks and the so-called Pomaks, Bulgarian-speaking men and women who have converted to Islam. Mary Neuburger explores how Muslim minorities were integral to Bulgaria's struggle to extricate itself from its Ottoman past and develop a national identity, a process complicated by its geographic and historical positioning between evolving and imagined parameters of East and West.

The Orient Within examines the Slavic majority's efforts to conceptualize and manage Turkish and Pomak identities and bodies through gendered dress practices, renaming of people and places, and land reclamation projects. Neuburger shows that the relationship between Muslims and the Bulgarian majority has run the gamut from accommodation to forced removal to total assimilation from 1878, when Bulgaria acquired autonomy from the Ottoman Empire, to 1989, when Bulgaria's Communist dictatorship collapsed. Neuburger subjects the concept of Orientalism to an important critique, showing its relevance and complexity in the Bulgarian context, where national identity and modernity were brokered in the shadow of Western Europe, Russia/USSR, and Turkey.

Author: Mary C. Neuburger
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Published: 02/15/2004
Pages: 248
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.23lbs
Size: 9.42h x 6.04w x 0.82d
ISBN: 9780801441325

Review Citation(s):
Choice 11/01/2004 pg. 543

About the Author

Mary C. Neuburger is Director of the Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies, Chair of the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, and Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also the author of Balkan Smoke: Tobacco and the Making of Modern Bulgaria, from Cornell.

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