Program

Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies , Fellowships for Postdoctoral Research in East European Studies

Project

Between Two Motherlands: Struggles for Nationhood among the Greeks in Bulgaria, 1906-1949

Project

Between Two Motherlands: Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks of Bulgaria, 1900-1949

Department

History

Between Two Motherlands: Struggles for Nationhood among the Greeks in Bulgaria, 1906-1949

This project studies the Greeks in Bulgaria and their transformation from an affluent and culturally renowned minority into a marginalized refugee population in their "recovered motherland." The community is examined in the context of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the consolidation of the Balkan states in the twentieth century. The unique diasporic experience of the Bulgarian Greeks situated them between the priorities of the Bulgarian and Greek governments, so that they balanced multiple interests in the expression of their group identity. I refine crude interpretations of national loyalty that see people as embedded in primordial national identities and emphasize the instability and plasticity of national allegiances and their evolving nature over an extended time-period.

Between Two Motherlands: Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks of Bulgaria, 1900-1949

This project examines multi-nationality and national indifference among the Greeks in Bulgaria by analyzing practices of multilingualism, religious conversion, the manipulation of citizenship, and national side-switching between Bulgarians and Greeks. The ambiguity of nationhood is explored in the context of the conflicting national agendas of Bulgaria and Greece in the twentieth century. The goal is twofold: to scrutinize how belonging to a particular (self-proclaimed or ascribed) nationality influenced people’s decision to emigrate, and to ask how the experience of displacement shaped the national loyalties of the population. Throughout the study, the official policies of national homogenization are juxtaposed with ordinary people’s responses to the demands of the nation-state.