Tens of thousands of British military personnel traveled in former Yugoslavia as peacekeepers between 1992 and 2007. The settlements where British forces established their military presence and supply chain were conceptually far from former Yugoslavia's tourist sites, but military travelers made sense of them by drawing on the commonplaces of previous travel accounts and the lessons of pre-deployment training. British military travelers constructed themselves as often frustrated helpers in Bosnia who struggled with political limitations on their activities but found satisfaction in improving socio-economic relations at the level of the immediate community. For troops, long otiose periods in a stabilizing and startlingly cheap country engendered a touristic sensibility. This article draws on published memoirs and more than fifty new oral history interviews with British peacekeepers and their Bosnian employees to illustrate how British military travelers drew on, perpetuated, and changed the patterns and representation of British travel to the Balkans.
British Military Travelers in the Balkans since 1992
Food in Writing by Nineteenth-Century British Travellers to the Balkans
The interest in the narrative and ideological parameters of travel writing,1 which has been an important feature of the Western European and North American academic contexts over the last fifteen years or so, is undoubtedly a reflection of the unique position of the genre as an area thematising and problematising cultural difference and otherness and as a meeting point of varying discourses of gender, race/ethnicity, class, power, domination and counter-domination. Travel narratives have played a key role in current theoretical debates in postcolonial studies, feminism, cultural studies and comparative literature. To my mind, a considerable number of the critical texts that they have engendered in those fields, appear to privilege a particular analytical strategy focusing on the interpretation of what Laura E. Ciolkowski has termed ‘gender-coded visual power’ (1998: 343). This power operates through the travelling subject’s gaze, which is intent upon the construction of the relatively stationary object(s) of his/her observation. By persistently privileging the analysis of the gaze critics have tended to ignore and even erase other aspects of the complex processes of mediation and negotiation in which travellers and ‘travellees’ are involved.
us. I know the Balkans, and I could say that any excuse is a good one for pointing out hostility toward one of his fellow citizens … The unity of people here continues to be almost a mirage.” This apparently trivial episode weaving together emic and
The Presence of the Past in the Era of the Nation-State
order of things” to a “national order of things” implied a connection with the past as much as a break from it. 2 The workshop that gave birth to this publication, part of the Balkan Futures series of the British Schools at Athens and Ankara, was
Wendy Bracewell and Alex Drace-Francis
In writings about travel, the Balkans appear most often as a place travelled to. Western writings about the Balkans revel in the different and the exotic, the violent and the primitive – traits that serve (or so commentators keep saying) as a foil to self-congratulatory definitions of the West as modern, progressive and rational. However, the Balkans have also long been travelled from. The region’s writers have offered accounts of their travels in the West and elsewhere, saying something in the process about themselves and their place in the world.
Naghmeh Sohrabi and Brian Yothers
Houari Touati, Islam and Travel in the Middle Ages (2010)
Eleftheria Arapoglou, A Bridge Over the Balkans: Demetra Vaka Brown and the Tradition of “Women's Orients“ (2011)
Susan L. Roberson, Antebellum American Women Writers and the Road: American Mobilities (2011)
Ivi Daskalaki and Nadina Leivaditi
of diverse actions of “emergency” support and “solidarity” for refugees ( Papataxiarchis 2016a , 2016b , 2016c , 2016d ; Rozakou 2016 ). Following the closure of state borders along the Balkan route and the implementation of the EU
Timour Muhidin & Alain Quella-Villéger (eds), Balkans en feu à l’aube du XXe siècle: Romans, nouvelles, reportages St.K. Pavlowitch
Andrew Hammond (ed), The Balkans and the West: Constructing the European Other, 1945–2003 Andi Mihalache
Božidar Jezernik, Wild Europe: The Balkans in the Gaze of Western Travellers Alex Drace-Francis
Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch, Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry (Jetlag Travel Guide) Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius
Jean-Yves Conrad, Roumanie, capitale… Paris: Guide des promenades insolites sur les traces des Roumains célèbres de Paris Carmen Popescu
Dervla Murphy, Through the Embers of Chaos: Balkan Journeys Lily Ford
Art as a Healthy Virus within Social Strategies of Resistance
The Egnatia Road project describes a cooperative action between European artists and local populations along the ancient route from Rome to Constantinople. Focusing on myths and memories of territorial and metaphorical displacement over centuries, it represents a space of resistance realized in narrative and physical action. The process of constructing the road engages artistic activism and local communities in creating a participatory cultural product. Begun as a road trip to the Balkans, the research in history, storytelling, and half-forgotten traditions has resulted in the creation of mobile laboratories and events involving a range of people and experiences. The ongoing intention has been to produce paving stones recording the personal and communal experiences of people along the road. As an exercise in public art, the project has raised new questions and insights into the nature of popular dissent and the role of art in giving it a voice in wider venues and situations.
Vasiliki P. Neofotistos
Using the Republic of North Macedonia as a case study, this article analyzes the processes through which national sports teams’ losing performance acquires a broad social and political significance. I explore claims to sporting victory as a direct product of political forces in countries located at the bottom of the global hierarchy that participate in a wider system of coercive rule, frequently referred to as empire. I also analyze how public celebrations of claimed sporting victories are intertwined with nation-building efforts, especially toward the global legitimization of a particular version of national history and heritage. The North Macedonia case provides a fruitful lens through which we can better understand unfolding sociopolitical developments, whereby imaginings of the global interlock with local interests and needs, in the Balkans and beyond.